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Free Compliance Resources for the Revised Total Coliform Rule


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

Revised Total Coliform Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a 3-page reference guide that provides an overview of the Revised Total Coliform Rule.

Total Coliform Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a 2-page reference guide that provides an overview of the Total Coliform Rule. 

Coliform Bacteria and Drinking Water

This is a 2-page question and answer document from the Washington State Department of Health about coliform bacteria in drinking water. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Placards

This is a collection of six e-fillable placards on the requirements of the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Repeat Monitoring Requirements For Small Systems

This is a reference guide for repeat monitoring that can be used to identify if there were any violations and what actions to take.

Vermont DEC Pocket Sampling Guide to RTCR

This is a small pocket guide with information on complying with the RTCR sampling requirements. 

Flowchart for Triggered Source Water Monitoring

This is a flowchart developed by the New Jersey DEP for public water systems on quarterly and monthly schedules. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule: Routine Positive Sample Flowchart (For Community Water Supplies)

This is a routine positive sample flowchart from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on what to do when a system triggers a TC+ routine sample. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Sample Siting Plan with Template Manual

This is an 11-page manual that provides information on how to choose proper sampling locations and instructions on completing the template while complying with the RTCR.

Guidance for Developing a Coliform Sample Siting Plan

This is a 14-page guidance document from the New Jersey DEP that expands on each component of the siting plan. 

RTCR Sample Plan Checklist for Water Systems

This is a 1-page checklist that can be used to ensure a successful sample plan. 

Revised Total Coliform (RTCR): Bacteriological Sample Siting Plan (SSP) Tutorial

This is a 12-minute training video that provides concise details on the steps to complete a plan.

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Sampling Plan: Form Training
This is a 12-minute video from the Vermont DEC providing instructions on completing a plan.

AWWA Coliform Sampling Video
This is a 3-minute video on how to properly collect water samples.

Coliform Sampling Best Practices

This is a 6-minute video on proper sample collection techniques and tips to reduce false-positive results.

Revised Total Coliform Assessment Factsheet

This is a 2-page factsheet providing the guidelines for when a Level 1 or 2 assessment is triggered.

Revised Total Coliform Rule Assessment and Compliance Training

This 137-page manual was designed by the Pennsylvania DEP to train individuals to perform a Level 1 assessment and explain the process of completing a Level 2 assessment if necessary.

Revised Total Coliform Rule Assessments and Corrective Actions Guidance Manual

This is a 164-page manual that covers assessment and corrective action requirements under the RTCR.

Level 1 Site Assessment Under RTCR
This video covers the steps for completing an assessment while providing additional tips and advice about the process. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule Level 2 Assessment Training

This is a 90-page training manual designed to prepare individuals to perform the Level 2 assessment that includes a template for the assessment and a checklist to prepare an assessment.

Public Notification Instructions and Templates for the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)

This is a 38-page document that includes instructions as well as templates for reporting RTCR violations.

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Level 1 Assessments and Start-up Procedures - Iowa DNR

This is a 4-minute video walking through the start-up procedures checklist and level 1 assessment form.

Seasonal Public Water System Startup Instruction

This is a 22-minute video providing instructions to complete the start-up checklist and certification form.

The Revised Total Coliform Rule A Guide for Small Public Water Systems

This is a 98-page guidance manual for systems serving less than 1,000 customers on how to comply with the RTCR. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule for Drinking Water

This is a series of 6 online presentations designed to help systems learn more about the RTCR requirements.

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)

This is a 110-slide presentation from the Vermont DEC that provides a comprehensive background of the RTCR. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule(RTCR) Frequently Asked Questions

This is a 6-page list of frequently asked questions developed by the New Jersey DEP about the RTCR. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule – Chapter 3 Question Index

This is a 21-page list of questions and answers from chapter 3 of the Illinois EPA from Sample Collector’s Handbook. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)

This is an ASDWA webpage that allows states to share plans and materials for RTCR implementation.


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

Featured Video: How to Use a Hydrant Sampler

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Through the use of a hydrant sampler, operators can monitor water quality at various points in the distribution system without the need for access to indoor taps from local businesses or residential homes. Sampling hydrants allows operators to protect public health by routinely collecting bacteriological samples required by their regulatory agency. Operators should sample along the distribution system at the locations and frequency specified by their RTCR sample siting plan. For assistance in developing or updating your sampling plan, check out the EPA documents Sample Siting Plan Instructions (download) and the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Sample Siting Plan with Template. Please check with your Primacy Agency to determine if stricter requirements may apply to your system.

In this week’s featured video, the U.S. EPA’s Area-Wide Optimization Program demonstrates how to use a hand-built hydrant sampler on dry barrel hydrants to collect water quality samples throughout the distribution system. The procedures used  in this video, including how to calculate flush time and how to build a sampler, can be found at the EPA’s Hydrant Sampler Procedure and Parts List web page. Calculating an appropriate flush time is important to yield sample results that accurately characterize the quality within your distribution system. The hydrant sampler from the video can be built with parts from your local hardware store however, since 2018 AWOP has created a new sampler design that requires less parts making it cheaper to build and easier to use. Check out this week’s featured video to find out the best practices and safety concerns for using a hydrant sampler.

What's on the Drinking Water Radar for the Year Ahead: 2019

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Being a small-town water operator is not easy; it is up to you to ensure the quality of your community's water day-in and day-out, often with very limited resources. Let help you meet the challenge head-on with this list of tools and resources to put on your radar for the year ahead:

  • Have you gotten in the groove yet with the new RTCR requirements? Here are two new documents from the USEPA designed to help small public water systems: Revised Total Coliform Rule Placards and a Revised Total Coliform Rule Sample Siting Plan with Template Manual. Additional compliance help, including public notification templates, a RTCR rule guide, a corrective actions guidance and more can be found here.
  • While we know your hands are full just getting the job done, there are new and emerging issues you may have to deal with in the year ahead. For example, this past year many communities have been dealing with PFAS contamination issues. This ITRC website provides PFAS fact sheets that are regularly being updated on PFAS regulations, guidance, advisories and remediation methods. Especially of interest is this excel file that has begun to list the different state standards and guidance values for PFAS in drinking water as they are developed. Be sure to check back often for updates.
  • Your utility may also have to adjust to new compliance rules in the coming year. In Michigan, for example, a new Lead and Copper Rule arising from the water crisis in Flint has gone into effect, making it the strictest in the nation. Other states, such as Ohio, have also adopted tougher standards, or are now requiring schools to test for lead. Oregon has established temporary rules that will require drinking water systems in the state using certain surface water sources to routinely test for cyanotoxins and notify the public about the test results.
  • With a warming climate, these incidences of harmful algal blooms in surface water are on the increase, causing all sorts of challenges for water systems that now have to treat this contaminant. This cyanotoxin management template from the EPA can help assist you with a plan specific to your location.
  • Worker turnover and retirements will still be an issue in 2019. According to this article, the median age for water workers in general (42.8 years) and water treatment operators specifically (46.4 years) are both above the national average across all occupations (42.2 years). You can keep transitions as smooth as possible by using EPA's Knowledge Retention Tool Spreadsheet and/or this Electronic Preventive Maintenance Log.
  • New Tech Solutions: A UMass lab focusing on affordable water treatment technologies for small systems will be rolling out its Mobile Water Innovation Laboratory in 2019 for on-site testing. In addition, the facility is testing approaches to help communities address water-quality issues in affordable ways. "Early next year, in the maiden voyage of the mobile water treatment lab, UMass engineer David Reckhow plans to test ferrate, an ion of iron, as a replacement for several water treatments steps in the small town of Gloucester, MA.

But even without all these challenges and new ideas for the future, simply achieving compliance on a day-to-day basis can be tricky - if this sounds familiar, you may want to check out our recent video on how operators can approach the most common drinking water compliance issues.