Public Drinking Water System Operations

The Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations, 310 CMR 22.00, has requirements for public water supply operators to carry out their jobs. MassDEP offers guidance to operators that can help.

Table of Contents

Assistance & Tools

MassDEP can offer tools and resources that help water system operators do their jobs. State and national agencies can also provide some help with infrastructure funding.

Roles & Responsibilities of the Drinking Water Program (YouTube)

Additional Resources

Certified Operators

Certified operators provide onsite management, operations or maintenance services to public water systems. They make sure that all systems meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations. And they maintain their certification and skills through continuing education programs.

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MassDEP's emails provide public water suppliers critical information to do their jobs.

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Compliance Documents

MassDEP's Public Water Supplier Document Search provides public water system operators access to the following records:

  • Certificate of Registration
  • Water Quality Report for Transient Non-Community Water Systems (TNC CCR) and Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems (NTNC CCR)
  • Compliance Monitoring Schedules for Community, Non-Transient Non-Community, and Transient Non-Community Water Systems
  • Lead and Copper Approved Sampling Sites Plan for Community (COM) and Non-Transient Non-Community (NTNC) Systems (in beta).

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Consecutive Water Systems

A Consecutive Public Water System as “a public water system that receives some or all of its finished water from one or more wholesale systems. Delivery may be through a direct connection or through the distribution system of one or more consecutive systems.” MassDEP regulates consecutive public water systems that don't meet all the criteria of 310 CMR 22.03(3), as detailed in the Fact Sheet linked below.

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Consumer Confidence Reports

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires public water systems to issue annual water-quality reports. These Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) must be available to all customers of the water system. The requirements for CCRs are in Appendix M of the Guidelines for Public Water Systems, provided below as a PDF.

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Fact sheets, FAQs, and external resources for contaminants in drinking water.

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Cross Connections

Cross connection controls prevent drinking-water supply lines from being contaminated by wastewater lines. The Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations detail the requirements of a Cross Connection Control Program at 310 CMR 22.22.

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Cybersecurity tips, factsheets, and other resources for public water suppliers.

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Emergency Response & Public Notification

Public water suppliers need to prepare for and respond to water supply contamination incidents, natural disasters, and other emergency situations.

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Enforcement & Inspections

The Safe Drinking Water Act calls for a routine sanitary survey of all public drinking water systems once every 5 years, except for community surface water systems, which are to be surveyed once every 3 years. This survey is a periodic inspection of a water system's facilities, operations, and record keeping. The inspections identify conditions that may present a sanitary or public health risk. 

A public water system that is in violation of regulations will receive a Notice of Noncompliance along with a Compliance Schedule Approval form. The purpose of this form is to help the system return to compliance and avoid escalated enforcement. 

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Federal Rules & Acts

Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, Massachusetts public water systems must meet the requirements of a variety of federal drinking-water safety rules. In Massachusetts, MassDEP has authority from EPA (known as primacy) to directly enforce the provisions of these rules:

  • Consumer Confidence Report Rule (CCR) (see also links above under "Consumer Confidence Reports")
  • Disinfection Byproducts Rules (DBPR)
  • Ground Water Rule (GWR)
  • Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)
  • Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA)
  • Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR)
  • Total Coliform Rule (TCR) & Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)
  • Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)
  • Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act

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All public water systems in Massachusetts, regardless of size, are required to test their water periodically for a variety of contaminants. MassDEP maintains a search tool that retrieves the compliance monitoring schedule (water quality sampling schedule) for any public water system in the state.

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Permits & Forms

Permit applications, reporting forms, and templates.

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The guidelines and policies by which the MassDEP Drinking Water Program implements the Drinking Water Regulations. 

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Safe Drinking Water Act

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the basis for drinking-water regulations in Massachusetts. MassDEP's obligations under the SDWA include annual reports to both the state Legislature and the US EPA.

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Seasonal Water Systems

A seasonal water system is a non-community public water system that does not operate on a year-round basis (a summer camp, outdoor recreational facility or restaurant, golf course, etc.) and must follow a state-approved start-up procedure before placing any or all parts of the system back into service. 

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Small Water Systems

MassDEP's extensive resources for small public water systems include educational information, fact sheets, operational guidance, and more. Water vending machines are also subject to requirements of the Drinking Water Regulations. 

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System Development

The process for developing new public water supplies, evaluating the capabilities of existing systems, and safely maintaining infrastructure assets.

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Carefully managed treatment is necessary to maintain the safety of a public water supply or of water-vending equipment.

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Contact   for Public Drinking Water System Operations

Date published: August 1, 2018

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