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FAQ

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Do I need to submit an NCWS Application or Permit Application?

A new NCWS or an NCWS making a modification to a system which uses groundwater from a drilled well source that needs treatment no greater than hypochlorite or UV disinfection, may use the NCWS Application. Any NCWS that does not meet these requirements (e.g. exceeds MCL for nitrates or E. coli) must use a Permit Application.

Do I need to submit an application for approval (NCWS Application/Permit Application) prior to drilling a new well?

No. An application should be submitted once the well is drilled and has been tested to determine if any additional treatment will be required: however, the Department should be contacted prior to drilling the well so the Department may conduct a site survey with you and/or your contracted water-well driller. An application should include any new or modified sources, treatments, and storage (and distribution if applicable).

I need a water-supply source for my noncommunity public water system, what steps do I need to take?

Details on how to get approval of a new source at a noncommunity water system can be found by using the Responsibilities of Applicants site and the NCWSA Tutorials site.

Can I use an existing well as a water source for an NCWS if the well has not been approved by DEP?

This kind of well may be acceptable but must meet construction requirements identified in DEP’s Public Water Supply Manual.

If the project applicant is proposing use of a well with documentation that the well is cased and grouted, go to the Responsibilities of Applicants site and use the section titled New Source Approval: New Well or Existing Well with Documentation of Grouted Well Casing.

If the project applicant is proposing use of a well in absence of documentation that the well is cased and grouted, go to the Responsibilities of Applicants site and use the section titled New Source Approval: Existing Well in Absence of Documentation of Grouted Well Casing. The site For PA-Licensed PGs provides additional information for professional geologists.

How can I find out if my well has a Water Well Completion Report or other documentation of the well construction details?

There are two ways to determine if well construction details are available:

  1. Contact the Pennsylvania Geological Survey and ask if they have a Water Well Completion Report for the well on your property.
  2. Contact the well driller who constructed your well and ask if they have a well record on file.

Consult the Responsibilities of Applicants site for further information on this topic.

How do I get approval for a well in absence of a Water Well Completion Report or other documentation of the well construction details?

Module 1 includes the Well Construction Demonstration Datasheet for Existing Wells Form, which may be utilized when a well with undocumented well construction details is proposed by the project applicant. It should be noted, this approach may be more costly than drilling a new well on the property and abandoning the old well, because a Pennsylvania-Licensed geologist and special downhole investigations are needed to determine if a well is cased and grouted, where results of special investigations may be inconclusive.

Use the Responsibilities of Applicants site and use the section titled New Source Approval: Existing Well in Absence of Documentation of Grouted Well Casing. The site for PA-Licensed PGs provides additional information for professional geologists.

Which modules do I need to fill out on the NCWS application?

An NCWS filling out the NCWS Application should fill out the NCWS Application form (3940-FM-BSDW0568) and modules for any new or modified sources, treatments, chemical feed systems, pumping equipment, or storage that were not previously approved. For a newly constructed NCWS, the distribution system module must also be submitted.

How long does it take to get my NCWS approval to operate?

An NCWS should submit an application at least 60 business days prior to the anticipated date of operation. Approval depends on timely submittal of any administrative or technical deficiencies that require additional information from the applicant.

I am transferring ownership of my NCWS to a new owner. What do I need to submit to DEP?

An NCWS that does not hold a public water supply permit and is transferring ownership must submit the NCWS Transfer Application (3940-FM-BSDW0570). An NCWS that holds a valid public water supply permit and has changed ownership must submit Application for Transfer of Public Water Supply Permit(s) (3900-PM-BSDW0040).

I am replacing my well pump/contact tank/hypochlorite pump. Do I need to submit an application for approval before I replace it?

In-kind replacement of equipment does not require approval; however, new equipment should meet the same specifications as the old equipment, including NSF certification for all equipment which will come into contact or may affect the quality of potable water. Below are some examples of replacements that are not in-kind replacement. For further questions on in-kind replacement, water systems should contact their sanitarian at the regional or district office for guidance.

Examples that are not in-kind replacement:

-Replacement of a 30 gpm 2 HP fixed speed pump with a 50 gpm 5 HP variable speed pump that can be set to pump at 30 gpm. NOT IN-KIND REPLACEMENT

-Replacement of a WELLMATE model WX-203 30 gal contact tank with a new WELLMATE model WX-203; however the new model WX-203 is a 40 gal contact tank. NOT IN-KIND REPLACEMENT

-Replacement of a Cole-Palmer 110 V, 60 Hz variable speed peristaltic injector pump with pumping rate of 2-60 ml/min with a Stenner 110 V, 60 Hz variable speed peristaltic injector pump with pumping rate of 2-60 ml/min: however the Stenner pump is not NSF certified. NOT IN-KIND REPLACEMENT

Do I need a Professional Engineer or a Professional Geologist to complete and sign my NCWS application?

This depends on the type application being submitted.

For an NCWS which uses groundwater from a drilled well source that needs treatment no greater than hypochlorite or UV disinfection, an NCWS application is needed. A Professional Engineer does NOT need to sign this application. A Professional Geologist also does not need to sign the application UNLESS the project applicant proposes use of a well without documentation that the well is cased and grouted.

For an NCWS that does not meet the qualifications for an NCWS approval (e.g. a system with treatment required to meet an MCL such as nitrate or E. coli.) a permit application must be submitted, and the permit application must be signed by a professional engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (P.E.).

I want to install UV light to reduce total coliform at my NCWS. Does my UV light need to be NSF certified?

Yes, UV lights for disinfection must be NSF 55, Class A certified. Class A UV systems meet requirements for alarm and shutoff when the system cannot achieve proper disinfection. Class B or uncertified systems cannot meet this requirement and may not be used in public water systems. This is to ensure the NCWS can deliver water that has been properly disinfected.


For other questions, call your local DEP regional or district office.
Or contact:
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Safe Drinking Water
Permits Division
P.O. Box 8467
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8467

Fax: (717) 772-5630
Phone: (717) 787-9633