Revised Total Coliform Rule: Important Changes Taking Effect April 1, 2016

The U.S. EPA issued a rule that changes the monitoring requirements for Total Coliform (TC) bacteria. These monitoring requirements will be implemented on April 1, 2016 and the resulting changes will affect all Ohio public water systems.


The Ohio EPA sent out a mass mailing on Feb. 15, 2016 to all Ohio public water systems.  It is vital that all public water systems read and understand the new monitoring requirements, as well as how to properly respond when samples are TC-positive.

Some Highlights:

  • Public water systems must submit repeat samples within 24 hours of notification of a TC positive sample. A 72 hour extension may be granted upon certain circumstances (examples includes holidays, lab closings, extreme weather). The reason for the extension must be documented in the comments section of the SSR. HINTS: Alloway recommends that samplers pick up extra bottles when at the lab in case of a TC positive result. It is also advantageous to collect samples early in the week
  • Every PWS must have a Sample Siting Plan in place, specifying the tap location used for routine sampling. If the wrong location is documented, it will result in a monitoring violation. HINTS: Establish a sample siting plan using the templates available at
  • Non-community and seasonal non-community public water systems serving population 25-1000 people (examples include churches, gas stations, campgrounds) will see changes in their monitoring schedules. HINTS: Watch your mailbox for new monitoring schedules from the EPA. 
  • Seasonal public water systems are now required to complete a Start-Up Checklist and Start-Up Certification Form every year before serving water to the public. Each PWS must submit the certification form at least 5 days prior to serving water to the public.  A “start-up” TC negative result is required before submitting this certification form. The term “start-up” must be written in the comments section of the SSR. HINTS: The EPA recommends that the “start-up” sample is collected 1 month prior to the opening of the seasonal PWS.  This allows time for re-collection in case of a TC positive sample.  

For more information about the revised total coliform rule, visit the Ohio EPA website. Contact your district office if you have any questions.