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You must contact and consult with MassDEP by the end of the day that your system has been notified of a positive E.coli or Enterococci result either in the distribution system or at the source.
You must consult with (i.e., speak with) MassDEP Drinking Water Program staff. Voice or electronic messages do not meet consultation requirements.
Immediately begin to implement your Emergency Response Plan in accordance with 310 CMR 22.04(13) and take appropriate corrective action to resolve the situation as may be directed by MassDEP.
In the event of an emergency, your public water system may need to provide an alternative potable water source such as bottled water or bulk water delivery. A public water system that plans to use trucked (bulk) water in response to an emergency shall first contact the appropriate MassDEP regional office. In some cases, an emergency declaration may be necessary.
Only a drinking water supply source that has been approved by MassDEP shall be used as a source to fill tank trucks or trailers during water hauling operations. MassDEP recommends that someone with water treatment expertise be responsible for the operation and management of trucked potable water for use in emergencies. All transported water must carry a free chlorine residual of at least 1 ppm at the beginning of the haul and at least 0.2 ppm free chlorine residual at the end of the haul. The water supplier is responsible for documenting and keeping proper records of the emergency trucked water operation.
List of Emergency Bulk Water Providers
Procedures for Emergency Tank Truck Bulk Water Hauling
Policy 92-07: Bulk Water Suppliers - Sampling and Transport Responsibility
You must issue Tier 1 public notification as soon as practical and within 24 hours after you learn of the violation and comply with any additional public notification requirements as instructed by MassDEP during consultation.
Your notice must include:
You must include:
You may need to modify or include additional information in your notice if:
In your notice, describe corrective actions you are taking. Listed below are some steps commonly taken by water systems with bacteriological situations. Use one or more of the following actions, if appropriate, or develop your own:
All public notices must meet certain formatting standards. These requirements help prevent the notice from being "buried" in a newspaper and help ensure that consumers can easily read and understand the notice. Notices must:
If a large proportion of the population you serve does not speak English, you must provide information in the appropriate language(s) regarding the importance of the notice, or a telephone number or address where consumers may contact the system to obtain a translated copy of the notice.
You may wish to provide notices in multiple languages if non-English-speaking populations are in your service area, whether or not they constitute a large proportion of your service population. Although you are not required to provide full translations of notices, this is strongly recommended for Tier 1 notices and for other violations that pose a serious health risk.
Translations for Public Notification (in 28 languages with do not drink graphics - Washington State Department of Health)
EPA Public Notification Handbook
Guidelines for Public Water Systems, Appendix M, Consumer Confidence Reporting Requirements see pages 12 and 13 for language translation requirements per City/Town
For violations and situations requiring Tier 1 notification, you must use one or more of the following methods to distribute notices in a form and manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served (310 CMR 22.16(2)(c)):
In addition to one (or more) of the above methods, large community systems must publish the Tier 1 public notice within the local newspaper as a one-day advertisement (not legal size), no later than 14 days after the violation, unless otherwise directed by MassDEP. A newspaper article published during the event may serve to satisfy this requirement. A copy must be submitted to MassDEP no later than the time published.
You may need to use additional methods (e.g., newspaper, delivery of multiple copies to hospitals, clinics, or apartment buildings, door hangers, emergency signage, reverse 911, email, internet websites); since notice must be provided in a manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served.
It is recommended that you notify health professionals in the area of the violation. People may call their doctors with questions about how the violation may affect their health, and the doctors should have the information they need to respond appropriately. In addition, health professionals, including dentists, use tap water during their procedures and need to know of contamination so they can use bottled water.
MassDEP may allow limited distribution only if the violation is in a portion of the distribution that is either physically or hydraulically isolated from other parts of the distribution system.
It is a good idea to issue a "problem corrected notice" when the violation is resolved and update website information, as applicable.
When flushing it is important to carefully follow the instructions provided. Flushing your household and building water lines including: interior and exterior faucets, showers, water/ice dispensers, water treatment units, etc. Water heaters may need to be disinfected and flushed to remove any contaminated water. Some types of water treatment devices may need to be disinfected or replaced before being used. Check with the manufacturer for details. See more information about flushing after a boil water notice on the instructions for post boil-water orders section of the consumer information on boil orders page.
Within 10 days from the time you issue the notice, send a copy of each type of notice and a certification that you have met all the public notice requirements to your regional MassDEP office and local board of health (310 CMR 22.15(3)(b)). You must send certifications for both initial and any repeat notices. When you certify, you are also stating that you will meet future requirements for notifying new billing units and new customers of the violation or situation.
Within 30 days of a Tier 1 emergency, complete and submit an Emergency Response Report (ER Report - Form 1) to MassDEP in accordance with 310 CMR 22.15(9)(c), unless otherwise determined by MassDEP.
The Emergency Response Report shall include the following information at a minimum: detailed timeline of the incident and response; evaluation of the incident; recommendations for improvements to emergency response planning, training, and communication; recommendations for improvements to water system operations, staffing, and budget; timeline for making all recommended changes; and an updated emergency response plan except for those items that are security sensitive.
Emergency Report (Form 1) pdf version or Emergency Report (Form 1) doc version
Emergency Response Report Guidance
The GWR requires ground water systems at risk of microbial contamination to take corrective action to protect consumers from harmful bacteria and viruses. Notifying the public of potential risks is a key element of this risk-targeted approach. Procedures for notifying the public differ depending on whether a system is a community or a non-community water system (NCWS).
Community water systems must include information about total coliform MCL violations, fecal indicator detections (E.coli or enterococci), TT violations, and monitoring violations in their annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), including:
Total Coliform Rule (regulated contaminant table):
Ground Water Rule (regulated contaminant table):
The EPA/ASDWA Public Notification Handbook provides additional aids to help water systems develop notices for violations and situations. An electronic copy of the Public Notification Handbook and Public Notification Handbook for Transient Non-Community Water Systems is available at EPA's website. Please note that the EPA/ASDWA Handbook templates are non-state-specific, so Massachusetts water suppliers are required to use the MassDEP version of the templates for compliance purposes.
MassDEP Public Notification Forms and Templates are designed to help operators create public notices for a variety of violations. However, it is important to note that the templates included here are not inclusive and may not be appropriate for all violations and situations. Depending on the severity of your violation or situation, it may be necessary to modify the instructions you give to consumers or to change the timing of the notice. In some cases, MassDEP may provide additional instructions and custom public notice to fit the situation.
The Public Notification Templates are appropriate for hand delivery or a newspaper notice. Notices may need to be modified for radio or TV distribution. If you modify the notice, you must still include all required elements and leave the health effects language in italics unchanged. This language is mandatory (310 CMR 22.16(5)(d)). If you post or hand-deliver, print your notice on letterhead, if available.
In cases where it is not practical for consumers to boil water, such as users of a non-community system, it may be necessary to modify the instructions you give to consumers, such as a "Do Not Drink" notice and direct consumers to use an alternative source of potable water.