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Chapter 109 (Safe Drinking Water) General Update and Fees

The Chapter 109 general update provisions were published on August 18, 2018, available here.

This final-form rulemaking has three parts:

  • Incorporate the remaining general update provisions that were separated from the proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) as directed by the Board on April 21, 2015, including revisions to treatment technique requirements for pathogens, clarifications to permitting requirements, and new requirements for alarms, shutdown capabilities and system service.
  • Amend existing permit fees and add new annual fees to supplement Commonwealth costs and fill the funding gap ($7.5 million).
  • Establish the regulatory basis for issuing general permits, clarify that noncommunity water systems (NCWS) require a permit or approval from the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) prior to construction and operation, and address concerns regarding gaps in the monitoring, reporting and tracking of back-up sources of supply.

Collectively, this final-form rulemaking will provide for the increased protection of public health by every public water system (PWS) in this Commonwealth, and ensure that the Department has adequate funding to enforce the applicable drinking water laws, meet State and Federal minimum program elements, and retain primacy (primary enforcement authority).

Comprehensive Monitoring Plans

All community and nontransient noncommunity water systems were required to submit a comprehensive monitoring plan (CMP) by August 19, 2019. DEP created two different templates to help systems create a plan. Form 1 is for systems with a one to one source to entry point ratio. Form 2 is for systems with any entry point supplied by more than one source.

CMP Templates and Tutorial:

Please contact your local DEP office for further assistance with a plan.

Uninterrupted System Service Plan

Community Water Systems (CWS) were required to complete an Uninterrupted System Service Plan (USSP) and submit a corresponding USSP Certification Form to DEP as follows:

  • By August 19, 2019, for systems serving 3,300 or fewer persons
  • By August 17, 2020, for systems serving 3,301 – 10,000 persons
  • By August 17, 2021, for systems serving greater than 10,000 persons

Community water systems are required to use the DEP USSP form (either the Word version or Excel version) and USSP Certification Form, available at the links below. The USSP form, which documents how the system plans to ensure that safe and potable water is continuously supplied to users, must be completed by the above dates and maintained on site at the water system. The certification form, which certifies completion of the USSP, must be submitted to DEP by the above dates.

In general, small systems (serving 3,300 or fewer customers) will most likely find the Word version easiest to use. Medium and large systems (serving more than 3,300 customers) may find the Excel version easier to use, particularly if they have a large number of critical facilities or multiple pressure zones. Both versions of the form contain detailed instructions to assist systems in completing the form. It is important to note that systems are not required to complete both the Word and Excel versions of the form. Systems should choose the one that best fits their needs.

If your completed USSP certification form identified deficiencies which could prevent a continuous supply of safe and potable water, you are required to submit a corrective action schedule to DEP as follows:

  • By February 19, 2020, for systems serving 3,300 or fewer persons.
  • By February 17, 2021, for systems serving 3,301 — 10,000 persons.
  • By February 17, 2022, for systems serving greater than 10,000 persons.

You can use the USSP Corrective Action Schedule Form (3910-FM-BSDW0013) to submit your schedule. Alternatively, you may use your own system specific form if it contains at least the same amount of information as the DEP-provided Form.

A copy of the USSP training workbook for small systems is available at this link:

Surface Water Filtration Provisions

See the Surface Water Filtration website.

The General Update and Fees Rule contains several provisions specific to filter plants. Training will be held throughout the state on these updates. Below is a pdf document that contains a list of scheduled trainings for July/August 2019.

Permitting Updates

There are a few updates to permitting requirements as a result of the 2018 General Update.

NCWS Approvals

One of the most significant changes is an update to the approval process for Noncommunity Water Systems (NCWSs). The new NCWS application replaces the previous Brief Description Form (BDF). It is important to note that use of the NCWS application is ONLY applicable if the NCWS does not require treatment greater than sodium hypochlorite or UV disinfection to meet all primary MCLs.

The NEW NCWS application package includes several components, linked below:

A series of video tutorials on how to complete each of the components for the NCWS application package is in production and will be linked here when available.

Pre-Drilling Plan Report

New regulatory language requires systems to submit a pre-drilling plan report to the Department for approval when submitting a construction permit for a new groundwater source.

Additional guidance can be found in the following technical guidance documents:

General Permits

The 2018 General Update includes language that establishes a regulatory basis for the Department to issue General Permits for low risk modifications, in order to streamline the permitting process. Central Office Permitting Staff are currently working on developing the general permitting process, including which categories of modification may be included.

Other General Update Provisions

The 2018 General Update includes several miscellaneous provisions that do not fit in with any of the other categories. Some of these updates include:

  • System Map: Effective August 18, 2018, ALL public water systems are required to have a system map that meets the requirements of § 109.706.
  • Significant Deficiencies: § 109.717 includes revisions to significant deficiency response and corrective action deadlines.
  • Clarifications to source water assessment and source water protection program requirements: this includes new and revised definitions in § 109.1, as well as updates to § 109.503 and § 109.713.
  • Disinfection Byproduct (DBP) Reporting: § 109.701(a)(10) requires reporting of individual DBP constituents, in addition to the compliance results for TTHM and HAA5.
  • The Groundwater Rule provision that allowed 5 source water samples following an E. coli positive triggered source sample was eliminated.


New annual fees, as well as increased permit fees, were established by the 2018 General Update. The fees are intended to fill a $7.5M funding gap and cover a variety of program services. The fees apply to all PWSs and range from $50 for the smallest TNCWS with a population of 100 customers or less to $40,000 for the largest CWS with a population of more than 100,000.

An informational webinar on fees was held on January 8, 2019, for both Department staff and PWSs. A recording of that webinar is available here:

Information specific to invoices and submitting checks is available in this presentation: