WSR 01-04-060

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH


[ Filed February 5, 2001, 10:11 a.m. ]

Title of Interpretive Statement: Small Water System Management Programs (SWSMP) in lieu of Water System Plans (WSP) for non-expanding systems in Critical Water Supply Service Areas (CWSSAs).

Issuing Entity: Alan Rowe, Operations Manager, Division of Drinking Water.

Description of Subject Matter: A nonexpanding water system located within a critical water supply service area and required to complete a WSP under WAC 246-293-230(1) may, as directed by the department, submit a SWSMP in lieu of a WSP. A water system utilizing this option will be considered nonexpanding by the Department of Health (DOH) and will be notified that they cannot expand unless they complete a WSP in accordance with WAC 246-290-100. The term "expanding public water system" is defined in WAC 246-290-010. Routine updates of the SWSMP will not be required. An update may be required by DOH if warranted.

Division Contact: Ethan Moseng, Division of Drinking Water, P.O. Box 47829, Olympia, WA 98504-7829, (360) 236-3562.

Effective Date: January 18, 2001.

Consistency Statement

January 18, 2001



Topic: Small water system management programs (SWSMP) in lieu of water system plans (WSP) for nonexpanding systems in critical water supply service areas (CWSSAs).

Section: WAC 246-290-100(10).

Purpose: To clarify Department of Health (DOH) planning requirements for nonexpanding public water systems (PWSs) located within CWSSAs defined under the Public Water System Coordination Act (PWSCA). (Chapter 70.119 RCW, chapter 246-293 WAC, WAC 246-290-100, 246-290-105.)

Issue/Question: Should nonexpanding water systems within (CWSSAs) required to develop a plan pursuant to RCW 70.116.050(1) and WAC 246-293-230(1) be allowed to develop a SWSMP in lieu of a WSP?

Discussion: RCW 70.116.050(1) and WAC 246-293-230(1) require certain nonexpanding municipally owned systems within CWSSAs to complete a WSP. This requirement was put into place in 1978. In 1978, WSP requirements were far less rigorous than they are today. Most small systems met the requirement for completion of a WSP by developing an "Abbreviated Water System Checklist" (a short 'check the box' document). In 1999, the elements of the SWSMP (WAC 246-290-105) were expanded. Those elements broadly mirror the WSP requirements found in WAC 246-290-100. The SWSMP has been identified as a key element of 'capacity' as federally defined (for those systems not required to obtain WSP approval).

WAC 246-290-100(10) states that "The purveyor shall update the plan and submit it for approval at least every six years. If the system no longer meets the conditions of subsection (2) of this section, the purveyor shall as directed by the department, submit either a plan amendment the scope of which will be determined by the department, or a small water system management program under WAC 246-290-105."

The cost of development of a WSP has increased tremendously in the past few years. The increasing cost has become an obstacle that many small nonexpanding systems are finding more and more difficult to overcome. Many systems outside of CWSSAs that meet the requirements of WAC 246-290-100(10) are now provided (as determined by the department) alternatives to major six-year WSP updates.

Chapter 70.116 RCW only generally defined minimum requirements to include in a WSP and directed the secretary of the department to "adopt regulations pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW concerning the scope and content of coordinated water system plans..." Since 1977, the scope and content of WSPs has changed significantly, incorporating many other requirements beyond the intent of the PWSCA. Chapter 246-290 WAC revisions effective in April 1999 renamed nonexpanding PWSs' planning requirements as "small water system management programs" rather than water system plans, however, the content is still sufficient to meet the intent of the WSP requirement under the PWSCA.

Decision:

A nonexpanding water system located within a CWSSA and required to complete a WSP under WAC 246-293-230(1) may, as directed by the department, submit a SWSMP in lieu of a WSP.
A water system utilizing this option will be considered nonexpanding by DOH and will be notified that they cannot expand unless they complete a WSP in accordance with WAC 246-290-100. The term "expanding public water system" is defined in WAC 246-290-010.
Routine updates of the SWSMP will not be required. An update may be required by DOH if warranted.
This consistency statement is provided as guidance to DDW staff to ensure consistent implementation of DDW program elements. Decisions by DDW staff to grant/deny an approval, or to take enforcement action, must be based on an RCW or WAC.

Alan Rowe

Washington State Code Reviser's Office