EPA publishes Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List

Nov. 2, 2022
The CCL 5, a major tool in regulating contaminants, will help guide EPA’s regulatory decisions for the next five years — and it includes the entire chemical group of PFAS.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has published the Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5) — a major step in identifying and regulating contaminants.

In total, the latest list includes 66 chemicals, three chemical groups, and 12 microbes.

Importantly, CCL5 lists the entire chemical group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

“Following public engagement and robust scientific review, the final contaminant candidate list is the latest milestone in our regulatory efforts to ensure safe, clean drinking water for all communities,” said Radhika Fox, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, in a press release. “As EPA takes action to protect public health and the environment from PFAS, including proposing the first nationwide drinking water standards later this year, today’s final CCL 5 looks further forward to consider additional protective steps for these forever chemicals.”

What Is the Contaminant Candidate List?

The Contaminant Candidate List includes unregulated contaminants that pose great public health risks. It serves as the basis for EPA’s regulatory decisions: every five years, the agency is required to choose whether regulate at least five of the unregulated contaminants found in the latest Contaminant Candidate List. CCL 5 will inform the agency’s actions for the next five-year cycle under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

If the agency decides to regulate a contaminant, it proposes a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR), which allows the agency to set enforceable standards upon public drinking water systems. For example, a major NPDWR that has been proposed seeks to regulate two key PFAS: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which had been included in the last five-year cycle's list: CCL 4.

About the Author

Jeremy Wolfe

Jeremy Wolfe is an Editor for WaterWorld magazine. Email him at [email protected].