State Board Adopts Microplastics Policy Handbook

September 7, 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) voted to adopt the “Policy Handbook Establishing a Standard Method of Testing and Reporting Microplastics in Drinking Water.” During the meeting, one of the Board members asked DDW staff several questions about the sources identified as “potentially subject to monitoring requirements” listed in Appendix A of the Policy Handbook. Her interest appeared to be focused on ensuring that monitoring addressed issues associated with disadvantaged communities. In response to these questions, the final Board resolution to adopt the Policy Handbook was amended to indicate that DDW may add up to five additional (representative) sources to the list of sources to be monitored. Another Board member was interested to understand how DDW was addressing “customer messaging.” While no details were presented in response, DDW indicated that work (including a Water Research Foundation project) is underway to address this issue.

The Handbook indicates that the initial monitoring would occur during “Fall 2023 – Fall 2025.” Item, page 19 of the Handbook, includes the following text:
“Unless stated otherwise in monitoring orders, samples shall be collected twice between October – April (rainy season) and twice during May – September (dry season) of each year to determine the relative influence of rain and stormwater influence as well as atmospheric deposition. Accordingly, for each sampling location a minimum of eight (8) samples will be analyzed over the two-year period.”

DDW plans to hold a public workshop on microplastics monitoring (anticipated to be held during fall/winter 2022).