Begin Main Content Area

Capability Enhancement Program


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to fund and support small drinking water systems under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, regarding Capacity Development. This program is available to those small drinking water systems serving 10,000 or fewer people. See the section on " Eligibility". Renamed "Capability Enhancement" (CE), in PA, the program helps small drinking water systems operate more effectively and efficiently by improving the technical, the managerial, and the financial capability of the water system. The CE program provides a mechanism to address the needs of small drinking water systems by evaluating the system's current needs, and then developing an assistance plan to meet those needs. The CE program provides facilitation between all of the parties needed to implement the assistance plan. In Pennsylvania, the Capability Enhancement Program is administered by the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Division of Training, Technical, and Financial Services delivers this on-site assistance through facilitators in conjunction with peer water operators employed by the Department. These assistance providers are actual practicing operators and administrators in local systems.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are designed to:

  • Enhance the capabilities of system operators to operate their systems in the most professional, effective and efficient manner
  • Enhance the financial and managerial expertise of system owners and operators
  • Empower public water system personnel with knowledge or access to information that allows them to address any factor that limits their capability to produce quality and quantity of water in a reliable and efficient manner
  • Ensure that Pennsylvania's water systems are sustainable and are able to meet current and future drinking water demand while protecting public health and the environment and ensuring continued economic growth and development.

On-site Assistance

Below is a partial list of the assistance services in which the program offers hands-on on-site services:

  • Facility Auditing
  • Management Planning
  • Operations Planning
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Financial Planning
  • Yearly Budget Preparation
  • Rate Structure Analysis
  • Record Keeping and Reporting
  • Funding Guidance
  • Asset Management
  • Consolidation and Regionalization Planning

How the Program Works

The program uses facilitators in conjunction with peer-based trainers to provide assistance to water systems. The program employs the services of the best municipal water professional operators in the state. Many of these certified operators have extensive knowledge and experience in specific treatment areas. Here is how the program typically works:

  • Program staff visit the site and determine the type of specialists needed to work directly with system personnel.
  • An assistance plan is designed for the site.
  • Assistance services are provided on evenings, weekends or pre-arranged dates.

A request for assistance can be made through your regional DEP office or by contacting the program directly at the address or telephone number provided below.

Is There a Cost for this Service?

There is no cost for providing technical, managerial, or financial assistance services. However, in order to improve the system's operations, some expenditures may result from implementation of program recommendations.

Additional Benefits of On-site Assistance

In addition to helping communities plan for the future that will enable the system to meet the needs of its customers, function more efficiently and comply with regulations; the CE Program can provide assistance in:

  • Assessing regionalization/consolidation opportunities; assess shared services and joint purchasing alternatives
  • Assessing the replacement of system components and project future water demands
  • Evaluating the system's ability to comply with current and future regulatory requirements

The CE Program helps operators and local elected officials understand the importance of working as a team to solve their systems' problems.


Any community or non-profit noncommunity water system, serving 10,000 or fewer persons, are eligible for the services provided by the Capability Enhancement Program.

Need More Information?


Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Safe Drinking Water
RCSOB, P.O. Box 8467
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Capability Enhancement Program
NE, SE, NC Regions 570-826-2293
SC, NW, & SW Regions 814-472-1923

Send e-mail requests to: