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UCMR 5 - Getting Your Lab Ready

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

The full proposed rule can be found here. For your convenience, we have digested the document and summarized some key information for your laboratory.

What is UCMR?

Under the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act), EPA publishes a CCL (Contaminant Candidate List) every 5 years to identify contaminants that are not subject to any proposed or established drinking water regulations that pose risks to PWSs (Public Water Systems). These contaminants are monitored under a corresponding Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) every 5 years to determine their occurrence in drinking water systems. By understanding the prevalence and health impacts, EPA is able to make informed decisions on setting regulations.

What is UCMR 5?

UCMR 5 proposal was made public on March 11, 2021 to monitor 30 contaminants - 29 PFAS compounds following EPA Methods 533 and 537.1, and Lithium following EPA Method 200.7. The proposed rule will include 800 small PWSs that serve <3,300 people, all small PWSs (3,300 to 10,000 people) and large PWSs (>10,000 people). There is an estimated of more than 10,000 PWSs that fit the criteria, surpassing the number in UCMR 4. The pre-sampling period begins in 2022 to bring laboratories and PWSs on board. Sampling spans three years between 2023 to 2025, after which post-sampling activities such as re-sampling will take place in 2026.

Why should your lab participate?

Helping to resolve one of the biggest environmental challenges is a noble cause, but becoming part of UCMR 5 is also an opportunity to grow your operations and become a trusted name for PFAS analysis. EPA estimates the total budget shared amongst EPA, PWSs and state agencies to be an average of $21 million per year from 2022–2026, which takes into account sampling, analysis and other supporting activities. Aside from a steady revenue stream, your lab will gain public recognition through EPA's published "List of Approved and Authorized Laboratories for UCMR 5". See the list for UCMR 4.

How can my lab participate in UCMR 5?

Your lab will need to be approved for EPA Method 537.1 and EPA Method 533 to be considered for the PFAS portion of UCMR 5. Below are the main steps for participation:

  1. Request to participate by emailing Registration is open now and anticipated to end on August 1, 2022.

  2. Provide registration information with contact information and list of UCMR 5 methods to be approved.

  3. Provide application package that includes: IDC and MRL data, analytical equipment and other materials, proof of certifications, method specific SOPs and example chromatograms.

  4. EPA will review and if necessary request follow-up information.

  5. Proficiency Testing – At least two PT studies is required and the lab must pass PT for every analyte in the method to be approved.

  6. A a final written EPA approval will be then be issued once the above criteria are met.


How can PromoChrom help?

Fully Automated PFAS Extraction

Sample extraction is the most challenging and time-consuming step of PFAS analysis. The good news is both EPA Methods 537.1 and 533 can be offloaded onto our SPE-03 system which runs 8 samples in parallel. All cartridge extraction steps, including sample bottle rinsing, is fully automated from start to finish. Process a batch of 8 samples in just 75 minutes following EPA Method 537.1 and under 2 hours for EPA Method 533.

Fast Adoption

The SPE-03 comes pre-programmed with EPA Method 537.1 and EPA Method 533. The small and simple unit can be self-installed following our 15-min setup video. Based on a recent survey, labs using the SPE-03 for PFAS are able to obtain all IDC/MDL and blank data per method within an average of 1 week. This significantly reduces the hassle and turnaround time for bringing up both methods.

PFAS Knowledge Base

PromoChrom works closely with state, commercial, university and regulatory labs on EPA Method 537.1, 533, DoD and proprietary PFAS methods. During which, our experts have developed an understanding of many challenges and solutions towards PFAS extraction and analysis. Many of our customers are also open to sharing their expertise if your lab is new to PFAS.


With leading PFAS laboratories and regulatory agencies using the SPE-03, the system is kept abreast of upcoming PFAS methods. For example, the SPE-03 was used during the multi-lab validation of EPA Method 533 back in September 2019 and met all method requirements prior to its release.

Contact us today to learn more!

31104 - EPA Method 533 - PFAS
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