"Safe drinking water is one of our most valuable public health assets,” EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry said. “Oklahoma has shown its drinking water program will continue to protect people’s health under the revised rule.”
Elevated total coliform levels are not harmful in and of themselves, being a group of bacteria that is not largely dangerous for people. Higher levels of these bacteria can indicate other harmful pathogens though, making testing for them a useful indication of potential levels of harmful bacteria and parasites. The 2013 EPA rule set monitoring requirements and, in the case of any violations, public notice requirements, as well as limits for E. coli levels.
Oklahoma’s revised total coliform in drinking water rule, which was drafted by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), obtained final approval on Dec. 2. No public comments or requests for a public hearing were received.
Public water systems must be in compliance with the revised rule beginning on April 1, and the ODEQ now has authority to regulate total coliform in the state’s drinking water.