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Free Compliance Resources for DBPs


Our 2020 free webinar series highlighted compliance-related resources on a number of topics. This recording contains information and free resources on DBPs. Listed below are all the resources mentioned in the video.

Comprehensive Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rules (Stage 1 and Stage 2): Quick Reference Guide
The 4-page fact sheet overviews both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rules. Operators will learn about each rule's requirements including monitoring requirements, MCLs, MCLGs, compliance determination, and the contaminants included under each rule.

Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This four-page fact sheet provides detailed information on Stage 1 of the Disinfection Byproducts Rule and its history. 

Fact Sheet: Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This is a four-page fact sheet that uses questions and answers format to help water systems understand what stage 2 of the Disinfection Byproducts Rule entails. 

Regulating Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts 
This 2-page fact sheet created by the Washington State Department of Health is geared towards new water operators that are interested in learning more about Disinfection Byproducts Rule. 

Initial Distribution System Evaluation Guidance Manual For The Final Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This is a 434- page manual from the U.S. EPA that covers various components of an initial distribution system evaluation. 

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR) Compliance Monitoring Plan Template For Public Water Supply Systems
This is an 11- page template with information from the U.S. EPA on public water supply systems and operations instructions on selecting appropriate monitoring sites for TTHM and HAA5. 

North Carolina DEQ Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Template 
This website page from the North Carolina DEQ includes a 15-page template and an 8-page instruction manual with information on how to monitor for TOC, chlorine dioxide, chlorite, bromate, and DBP precursors. 

Monitoring Plan for the Disinfectants/ Disinfection Byproducts Rules
This 27-page template and 10-page instruction manual from the Pennsylvania DEP includes a monitoring plan as reference. 

Stage 2- Disinfection Byproducts Monitoring Chart
This is a one-page fact sheet from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality that lists monitoring requirements for disinfection byproducts. 

Disinfectants / Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Rules Monitoring & Reporting Requirements For Public Water Systems
This 16-page factsheet from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provides monitoring requirements for DBPs, disinfection residuals, and TOC. 

Sample Collector's Handbook Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This 21-page handbook from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency outlines monitoring requirements, reduced/ increased monitoring, determining MCL compliance, performing and OEL, and sample collection tips. 

Sampling Procedures for TTHM and HAA5
This 14-minute video from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality lists components of a sampling kit, proper techniques and considerations when collecting TTHM and HAA5 samples, and chlorine residual sampling as well. 

How To Collect A Drinking Water Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) Sample
This is a 3-minute video on proper TTHM sample collection following EPA Method 524.3.

How To Collect A Drinking Water Haloacetic Acid (HAA5) Sample
This is a 2-minute video on proper HAA5 sample collection following EPA Method 552.2.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Operational Evaluation Guidance Manual
This is a 180-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA on requirements for operational evaluations, guidance for documents and reporting forms for OEL exceedance, and guidance on minimizing future OEL exceedances.

Water Quality Assessment Software (WQAS)
This is an excel sheet from the Department of Environmental Quality that can help water systems track DBP data (TTHM, HAA5), parameters affecting DBP formation (Water chemistry), and system-specific parameters. 

Regulating Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts
This 2-page fact sheet from the Washington Department of Health includes a table of disinfectants as well as advantages and disadvantages for each disinfectant. 

Recommended Treatment Techniques for Controlling Disinfection By-Products
This is a 20- page guidance document from Florida Rural Water Association on treatment techniques for small to medium-sized water systems. 

Disinfection By-Products Troubleshooting Guide
This is a 4-page factsheet from the Florida Rural Water Association on troubleshooting process changes in water treatment, distribution system, and source water changes.

Public Notification Templates for Community and Non-transient Non-community Water Systems
This website provides a list of public notification templates to assist primacy agencies with implementing the Public Notification Rule.

Complying With the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Basic Guide
This 50-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information about the health risks associated with DBPs, monitoring requirements of the Stage 1 DBPR, how to determine if systems are in compliance, how to maintain compliance, reporting requirements, and how the Stage 1 DBPR compliance can affect other rules.

Complying with the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Small Entity Compliance Guide 
This 57-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on Stage 2 DBPR requirements, compliance monitoring requirements, how to select monitoring sites, operational evaluation, locating and fixing problems, financial assistance information, and public notice requirements.

Simultaneous Compliance Guidance Manual for the Long Term 2 and Stage 2 DBP Rules
This 462-page manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on how to identify and mitigate issues that systems will face when implementing changes necessary to comply with the Stage 2 DBPR and LT2ESWTR while still being required to comply with other SDWA regulations.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Consecutive Systems Guidance Manual 
This 73-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on stage 2 DBPR requirements for consecutive systems, compliance options for consecutive systems, communication strategies between consecutive and wholesale systems to improve water quality from wholesale systems, and developing consecutive system compliance strategies to meet the stage 2 monitoring requirements.

EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs): Regulatory Issues and Solutions
This 54-minute webinar provides a review of the Stage 2 DBPR monitoring and reporting requirements and of small system DBP challenges in the State of Washington while highlighting a few success stories.

EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule and Simultaneous Compliance Webinar
This 70-minute webinar provides a review of the Stage 2 DBPR and EPA’s 2018 In-Depth Analysis and of challenges water systems face during simultaneous compliance between the Stage 2 DBPR and other NPDWRs.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (DBPR) and Consecutive System In-Depth Analysis
This is a 35-page report from the U.S. EPA on approaches to optimize systems and reduce DBPs through EPA’s Area-Wide Optimization Programs (AWOP).

Reducing Disinfection Byproducts through Optimization Webinar Series
This is a 4 part webinar series from ASDWA that shares optimization-based tools and approaches for DBP control from various states.

Please note that we are not able to provide certificates for watching a webinar recording.

Featured Video: Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir?


By Jill Wallitschek

In 2015 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power went viral when it unleashed 96 million shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir. The 175 acre reservoir served to store 3.3 billion gallons of treated drinking water. Shade balls were previously introduced to three other reservoirs in the LA area between 2008 and 2012. Releasing the 96 million balls marked the end of a 8 year project.

The project was first instigated when the Department of Water and Power was notified of high bromate levels in their water. Bromate (BrO3) is a disinfection byproduct regulated at 0.01 mg/L. High levels can increase risk of cancer. The chemical forms when bromide (Br ), an otherwise harmless ion, reacts with ozone (O3). For this reason treatment plants that use ozone are required to monitor for bromate monthly. Qualifying plants can reduce their monitoring to quarterly.

The LA Department of Water and Power determined that while they were finding low levels at the treatment facility, levels were elevated at the reservoirs. Upon investigation the facility realized that bromate can form under chlorination as well. When chlorinated water containing bromide reacts with sunlight, it forms bromate at even higher concentrations than ozonation. This realization prompted the facility to look toward a solution.

Removing the naturally occurring bromide wasn’t an option. Chlorination residual was necessary to protect public health. Ultimately the Department determined that sunlight was the only variable left to control.

After brainstorming for affordable and effective covers that could block sunlight across 175 acres, the Department discovered a product called “bird balls”. At the time, bird balls were used to deter waterfowl from swimming in contaminated water bodies or ponds near airport runways. These balls were made from high density polyethylene, a floatable, food grade plastic. The addition of carbon black gives them a black color and increases their life expectancy to approximately 10 years without sun bleaching. After consulting the manufacture, the balls were put through a small-scale test to access their bromate reduction abilites. The shade balls passed with flying colors.

Shade balls not only reduce bromate formation in the reservoir, but they deter birds, control algae, and reduce evaporation by 80 to 90%. Having been implemented under historical drought conditions, the innovation was applauded for its water saving results. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology these shade balls will have to be used for roughly 2.5 years to compensate for the water required to produce them. Since less chlorine is required to control algae formation with the adoption of shade balls, the treatment facility is experiencing significant cost savings as well. Over the course of their life span the reduction in chlorine use and evaporation will have paid for roughly half the shade balls.

Shortly after their installation, one of the reservoirs was removed from service and two of the remaining reservoirs transitioned to floating covers. Federal law requires that all drinking water bodies open to the air be covered. Transitioning the final Los Angeles Reservoir would have been too cost prohibitive based on its size. So given the effectiveness of the shade balls in such a large area, they shall remain in the Los Angeles Reservoir to prevent bromate formation, evaporation, and algae for the Los Angeles people.

Featured Video: Disinfection Byproducts in Tap Water: 5 Things To Know

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The challenge of disinfection byproduct (DBP) control in drinking water lies in balancing the varying health risks of over 600 known DBPs with the benefits of microbial waterborne illnesses prevented via disinfection. While DBPs can originate from industrial sources, they generally form in water treatment systems when natural organic matter reacts with a disinfectant, usually chlorine-based. Ongoing studies have suggested that the toxicity for any given DBP can range from having no known health effects to exhibiting links between exposure and cancer, birth defects, or reproductive disorders. Disinfectant type and dose, residual chlorine, inorganic and organic precursor concentrations, pH, temperature, and water age can impact DBP formation.

The management of DBPs in drinking water is enforced through the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule (DBPR). Collectively, the rules set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for total trihalomethanes (TTHM), 5 haloacetic acids (HAA5), bromate, chlorite, chlorine/chloramines, chlorine dioxide, and DBP precursors.

According to a 2019 report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Stage 2 DBPR invoked the largest number of community water system violations between 2017 and 2018, accounting for approximately 30% of all drinking water violations. Consecutive water systems, those with surface water sources, and systems serving populations of 501 to 10,000 people experienced violations more frequently. A greater compliance challenge is experienced by consecutive systems because they have little control over the water that they receive. While treated water may have achieved compliance at the system’s interconnection, DBP concentrations can rise through the receiving distribution system.

Non-consecutive utilities experiencing compliance challenges for the Stage 1 or 2 DBPR can start by troubleshooting the system using our previous blog post on The Disinfection By-Product Challenge. Consecutive systems should coordinate with their wholesale system following the approaches suggested in the 2019 report discussed above. The preferable methods of control often lie in prevention and optimization. As your system troubleshoots the cause of high DBP concentrations, keep the community informed on your efforts as well as some basic information on the health effects and sources of DBPs. Operators can find a general overview on DBP challenges in this week’s featured video. We recommend using this video to provide customers with answers to the following questions:

  • What are disinfection byproducts?
  • How are DBPs regulated?
  • How do I know if my water has high levels of DBPs?
  • How are people exposed to DBPs?
  • How do I remove DBPs from my home’s water?