EPN Responds to EPA’s Release of the First Batch of Results from UCMR5

August 17, 2023

CONTACT: Steven Fantes, Public Affairs Manager, 617-817-1297 and steven.fantes@environmentalprotectionnetwork.org 

EPA Releases First Batch of Results from Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the first batch of quarterly results for its Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5), which requires EPA to collect data on 30 chemical contaminants, including lithium and 29 different per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), in drinking water across the country over 3 years. PFAS are commonly used, long-lasting, cancer-causing chemicals that break down slowly over time. Lithium is a soft metal frequently used in rechargeable batteries, which, if not disposed of properly, can cause harm to human health and the environment.

Dr. Elizabeth Southerland, a volunteer with the Environmental Protection Network and former Director of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water, released the following statement: 

“The initial data indicate that multiple forever chemicals are being detected in public water systems, with 2 specific PFAS (PFOS and PFOA) concentrations above the proposed maximum contaminant levels (the highest levels of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water) in over 150 systems. It is critically important that EPA continue to release this data every quarter so the public can see as quickly as possible if their drinking water has PFAS levels of concern.”

EPN recommends that communities look at the National Contaminant Occurrence Database for their results if they have not been already notified by their water system. Communities should also consult EPA’s webpage “PFAS Analytic Tools” and this list of Frequently Asked Questions, compiled by Dr. Southerland, which cover emerging contaminants and the funds available for communities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

Dr. Southerland is available to speak to the media about the UCMR5 findings and the effects on public health and the environment.


About Dr. Elizabeth Southerland: Dr. Southerland was with the EPA for 30 years, serving as Director of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water before retiring in 2017. She has remained active on environmental issues as a member of the Environmental Protection Network and regularly testifies before Congress about clean water issues, PFAS, and emerging, unregulated contaminants.


Founded in 2017, the Environmental Protection Network (EPN) harnesses the expertise of approximately 600 former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from Democratic and Republican administrations to provide the unique perspective of former regulators with decades of historical knowledge and subject matter expertise.