EPA Proposal Would Test Tap Water For Common Paint Chemicals

Under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring (UCM) program, the EPA has been tasked with identifying containments in drinking water that are not covered under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The proposed rule changes were posted March 3, 2011 to The Federal Register for a 40 day public commenting period.

The proposed rule changes would study the effects of 27 chemicals, 9 of which are classified as VOCs. Several of these VOCs are common in paints, coatings and solvents:

  • 1,2,3-TCP: Used historically as a paint and degreasing agent, 1,2,3-TCP is currently used as a chemical intermediate.
  • 1,1-Dichloroethene: Most commonly used in coatings for steel pipes, adhesive applications and flame-retardant fabrics.
  • Sec-butylbenzene: Commonly used as a solvent.

Several other chemicals are targeted that could affect the painting/coating industry including Cobalt (pigment), Molybdenum (corrosion inhibitor in coatings) and 1,4-Dioxane (solvent). To see the full list, visit the EPA’s website.

If the proposal passes, public water sources (PWS) will be tested across the country to identify if the chemicals on the list are present in those water sources. PWSs are defined as smaller water sources (less than 15 connection stations) and would be held responsible for complying with the EPA’s findings.

If approved, the PWSs would be required to test for these chemicals. Based on the information provided in The Federal Register (US government daily journal), it remains unclear what action the PWSs would be asked to take if the chemicals on the list were found in their drinking water.

What do you think about the proposed list? Let us know in the comments.