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Proposed Disinfection Requirements Rule

The Proposed Disinfection Requirements Rule was published in the PA Bulletin on February 20, 2016. The proposed amendments are intended to protect public health through a multiple barrier approach designed to guard against microbial contamination by ensuring the adequacy of treatment designed to inactivate microbial pathogens and the integrity of drinking water distribution systems.

Safe drinking water is vital to maintaining healthy and sustainable communities. Proactively avoiding incidents such as waterborne disease outbreaks can prevent loss of life, reduce the incidents of illness and reduce health care costs. Proper investment in public water system infrastructure and operations helps ensure a continuous supply of safe drinking water, enables communities to plan and build future capacity for economic growth, and ensures their long-term sustainability for years to come.

The proposed rule includes the following:

  • New monitoring and reporting requirements for surface water and groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) systems regarding the calculation and reporting of CT/log inactivation values.
  • A clarification that the minimum entry point residual for surface water and GUDI systems is 0.20 mg/L.
  • Increased disinfectant residual requirements in the distribution system from 0.02 mg/L to 0.2 mg/L at all points in the distribution system. Monitoring must be conducted on a weekly basis as per a sample siting plan.
  • New requirements for a nitrification control plan for systems that use chloramines.

Here is the link to the proposed rule:

Public Comment Period

The public comment period will be open for 60 days until April 19, 2016.

Public Hearings

Three public hearings have been scheduled for the following dates:

  • March 28, 2016, beginning at 1:00 PM, DEP Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg
  • April 5, 2016, beginning at 1:00 PM, DEP Southeast Regional Office, 2 E. Main St., Norristown
  • April 7, 2016, beginning at 1:00 PM, DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Dr., Pittsburgh

Additional Stakeholder Meetings

Additional stakeholder meetings have been scheduled for the following dates:

History and Background

The pre-draft proposed rulemaking was originally included in the Pre-Draft Proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR), which was presented to the Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center (TAC) Advisory Board on June 18, and September 23, 2014, for review and comment. On April 21, 2015, the Board approved the proposed RTCR with modifications. The modifications included splitting out the non-RTCR provisions for additional stakeholder input. The motion was made with the expectation that the non-RTCR provisions would be revisited promptly. On April 30, 2015, the TAC Board voted to recommend that the regulation be split further, with the non-RTCR rulemaking to focus solely on the disinfection requirements and the minor corrections needed to obtain or maintain primacy.

To provide additional opportunity for stakeholder input on the disinfection requirements, TAC meetings were convened on May 18, May 26, June 16, and June 30, 2015. During these meetings, 14 water systems and organizations delivered presentations to help inform the discussion. These stakeholder presentations and other materials provided by the Department may be found on the Department's web site. Two additional meetings were held with large water systems on June 29, and July 16, 2015, to gather additional comments. As a result of these six additional stakeholder meetings, several revisions were made during the pre-draft rulemaking process, including revisions to the minimum required disinfectant residual levels, monitoring and reporting requirements, and compliance determinations. These revisions were made to address concerns about compliance costs and the frequency of public notification. The TAC provided a final set of recommendations on July 15, 2015. Many of the TAC's recommendations are incorporated into the proposed rulemaking. Other recommendations are incorporated into the preamble as a means to solicit further public comment. Refer to Section E of the Preamble for more information about the TAC's recommendations.

For More Information

For more information, please visit TAC's website at the following link:

Meeting agendas, minutes and presentations by DEP, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the EPA, and various water systems are posted on the website (See handouts/presentations from May 18, 26 & June 16, 30, 2015).