Drinking Water
Requirements For New Systems

Certificate of Approval

All new community and nontransient noncommunity water systems constructed after October 1, 1999, are required to obtain a Certificate of Approval from this department before beginning operation.

This includes systems that do not meet the definition of community or nontransient noncommunity water system at start-up, but are designed to one day meet that definition. For example, a developer plats out 30 lots for homes in the development, but when the water system begins operation, there are only four homes hooked-up to the system. Obviously, the intent is for this water system to one day be large enough to qualify as a public water system; therefore, the developer must meet all the new water system requirements.

The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendments included requirements for states to obtain authority to prevent new water systems that lack technical, managerial, and financial capacity from operating beginning October 1, 1999.

Planning Manual

The Drinking Water Program has developed a New Water System Planning Manual to assist new community and new nontransient noncommunity water systems meet upcoming requirements.

The New Water System Planning Manual provides information on:

  • The certificate of approval. This certificate is required before a new water system can begin operation;
  • The information required to be submitted to the department for review, including the department authorized forms;
  • The approval process, including capacity criteria; and
  • The authority by which the department administers this new water system program.

Planning Manual

Statutes and Regulations

Legislation was passed and signed by the Governor in 1998 that provides the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with the authority to promulgate rules outlining the requirements new water systems must meet in order to demonstrate adequate capacity. The administrative rules entitled Capacity Requirements for New Community and New Nontransient Noncommunity Water Systems became effective on November 18, 1998.

Community Water System

a public water system, which serves at least 15 service connections, used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.

Community Water System

(NTNC) - a public water system that is not a community water system that regularly serves at least 25 of the same persons at such places as work places, offices, daycares, and schools for at least six months a year.

Technical Capacity:

The physical infrastructure of the system, including but not limited to the source water adequacy, infrastructure adequacy, and technical knowledge. In other words, does your treatment system work the way it is supposed to? Are you providing the safest and cleanest water possible and required by law to your customers right now, and will you be able to in the future?

Managerial Capacity:

The management structure of the system, including but not limited to ownership accountability, staffing and organization, and effective linkages. In simpler terms, do you have a capable and trained staff? Do you have an effective management structure?

Financial Capacity:

The financial resources of the water system, including but not limited to revenue sufficiency, credit worthiness, and fiscal controls. Basically, does your system have a budget and enough revenue coming in to cover costs, repairs and replacements?