Water: Public Water Systems
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) includes a requirement that EPA establish and enforce standards (MCLs, treatment techniques, monitoring) that public drinking water systems must adhere to. States and Indian Tribes are given primary enforcement responsibility (e.g. primacy) for public water systems in their State if they meet certain requirements. EPA recently released revisions to the primacy requirements.
Applicable Law, Regulations and Guidance
- Safe Drinking Water Act, 1974, as amended in 1986 and 1996
- Primacy Regulations 40CFR142, Subpart B, 1976, as amended in 1986
- State Programs Priority Guidance (1992)
- Revisions to Primacy Requirements (1998), 63 FR 23362 to be codified at 40CFR142
Requirements for State Primacy (from 40CFR142, Subp. B)
|The State must||
Revisions to Primacy Requirements
This regulation, Revisions to State Primacy Requirements to Implement Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments ("primacy rule"), codifies the changes made to §§1401(4) and 1413 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) by the 1996 Amendments. The rule amends the regulations in 40 CFR Part 142 that set forth the requirements and process for States to obtain and/or retain primary enforcement authority (primacy) for the Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) program and incorporates the expanded "public water system" (PWS) definition and several other definitions in 40 CFR Parts 141 and 142.
- Click here to read online the Federal Register Notice on "Revisions to State Primacy Requirements to Implement Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments; Final Rule"
For consistency with the amendments to §1413, the primacy rule makes the following changes to the existing regulations:
- Requires that States, as a condition of primacy, now have administrative penalty authority for all violations of their approved primacy program, unless prohibited by the State constitution.
- Increases the time for a State to adopt new or revised federal regulations from 18 months to 2 years and grants primary enforcement authority to States while their applications to modify their primacy programs are under review.
- Adds examples of circumstances that require an emergency plan for the provision of safe drinking water.
For consistency with the amendments to §1401(4), this rule makes the following specifications:
- Expands the definition of a PWS to include not only systems which provide water for human consumption through pipes, but also systems which provide water for human consumption through "other constructed conveyances."
- Codifies the statutory means by which certain water suppliers may be excluded from PWS classification.
The primacy rule was published as a final rule without any notice or comment period because it is a direct codification and interpretation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, rules that fall within the interpretative statement exception in §553(b)(3)(A) are not subject to the rulemaking notice and comment requirements. Thus, the Agency has "good cause" to publish this document as a final rule.