Water departments serving more than 10,000 people are required to do “assessment monitoring” for 10 of the 25 new contaminants during any 12-month period from January 2008 through December 2010. A representative sample of 800 water departments serving 10,000 or fewer people will have to do the same. The concentrations of these 10 chemicals must be determined using assessment methods chosen by the EPA.

“Screening surveys” for the remaining 15 contaminants will be conducted by approximately 400 water departments serving more than 100,000 people; by a randomly selected sample of 320 departments serving 10,001 to 100,000 people; and by 480 “small” departments.

Most water departments are pretty clear on whether they'll be affected, says EPA spokesperson Dave Munch. The EPA has notified all water departments that fall under its control; states that have signed partnership agreements with the agency are responsible for notification.

Departments must sample surface water four times a year and ground water twice annually. Costs depend on how many sampling points from which a local department must take water, which is determined by the number of points where treated water enters the distribution system. Having a laboratory analyze just one sample of one contaminant, excluding shipping and administrative fees, costs $200 to $400 depending on which of the five analytical methods the laboratory uses.

Registration deadline: May 4

Monitoring begins: January 2008


If you're in one of the 32 states eligible for a grant under the EPA's BEACH Act, get busy. Applications are due before April 11 to EPA regional officials identified at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches.

For fiscal 2007, the agency expects to have $9 million available for both implementation and performance projects for a total of $18 million.

The agency has a specified formula that dictates how much money each state can receive, and that dollar figure has been determined. If a state doesn't apply for its share, that money is tossed back into the pot and distributed to other eligible states. Typically, states apply for BEACH Act money, but if a state hasn't set up a program that meets EPA standards, a municipality can apply.

Launched in 2000, the BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment & Control) Act is aimed at getting cities and counties on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico to check their beaches for high levels of pathogens and report dangerous conditions to the public.

Application deadline: April 11

— Steve Barlas has served as a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer for trade and professional magazines since 1981. In that time, he has covered nearly every federal regulatory agency, cabinet department, and congressional committee, with a special emphasis on the EPA.