Basic Information on the CCL and Regulatory Determination
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The drinking water CCL is a list of contaminants that are currently not subject to any proposed or promulgated national primary drinking water regulations, but are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems. Contaminants listed on the CCL may require future regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). SDWA requires EPA to publish the CCL every five years. SDWA directs the Agency to consider the health effects and occurrence information for unregulated contaminants as the Agency makes decisions to place contaminants on the list. SDWA further specifies that the Agency place those contaminants on the list that present the greatest public health concern related to exposure from drinking water. EPA uses the CCL to identify priority contaminants for regulatory decision making and information collection.
No. Publishing the CCL does not impose any requirements on public water systems. If EPA decides to regulate a contaminant on the list in the future (as part of the regulatory determination process), the Agency will start a separate rulemaking process with opportunity for public comment.
EPA has asked the public for information on contaminants beginning with CCL 3 to help identify unregulated contaminants that may require a national drinking water regulation and which should be considered for the CCL. The National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) and National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommended that EPA include public participation early in the CCL development process.
What happens to contaminants on the CCL?
After a final CCL is published, EPA must determine whether or not to regulate at least five contaminants from the CCL in a separate process called Regulatory Determinations. EPA will compile and evaluate additional data on all of the CCL contaminants, if available, and determine which contaminants have sufficient information to be evaluated against the three criteria listed in SDWA for making a regulatory determination.
EPA will make a regulatory determination for the five or more CCL contaminants that have sufficient data to be evaluated against the three SDWA criteria. EPA will continue to collect information, conduct and support research and/or find avenues to fill data and information gaps for contaminants that lack sufficient information to make a regulatory determination.
A regulatory determination is a formal decision on whether EPA should initiate a process to develop a national primary drinking water regulation for a specific contaminant. The law requires EPA to make regulatory determinations for at least five contaminants from the most recent CCL within five years after the completion of the previous round of regulatory determinations. To see the list of regulatory determinations for the previous CCLs, please go to:
- The regulatory determination for the CCL 1
- The regulatory determination for the CCL 2
- The regulatory determination for the CCL 3
- The regulatory determination for the CCL 4
It is important to note that EPA is not limited to making regulatory determinations for only those contaminants on the CCL. The agency can also decide to regulate other unregulated contaminants if information becomes available showing that a specific contaminant presents a public health risk in drinking water.
When making a “determination” to regulate a contaminant in drinking water, the law requires that EPA determine whether it meets the following three criteria:
- The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;
- The contaminant is known to occur or there is substantial likelihood the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern;
- In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of the contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reductions for persons served by public water systems.