WIIN Act Questions Frequently Asked by Public Water Systems
Q: Why did the public water system received a WIIN Act request to provide consumer education?
A: The public water system received a request because a consumer served by the public water system tested drinking water from their tap and received a result above the lead action level of 15 ppb. Therefore, the consumer needs to be provided with information on the health effects of lead and how to reduce their exposure to lead at the tap.
Q: What happens if the data EPA receives is from a household that is not associated with a public water system? Does this requirement apply to samples collected by a homeowner not served by a public water system?
A: The WIIN Act only applies when the data is from a household served by a public water system (serves more than 25 persons). If EPA develops or receives data associated with a household not served by a public water system, EPA intends to contact the relevant state agency so appropriate next steps are taken; such as providing important information about lead in drinking water and how the homeowner can reduce their exposure.
Q: How do WIIN Act requests work if the sample was collected at a public facility or school?
A: The requirements triggered by this section of the WIIN Act (SDWA Section 1414(c)(5)(B)) only discuss “affected households” and therefore does not apply to data EPA develops or receives regarding lead levels at a non-residential public facility or school. If EPA receives information about a sample result from a non-residential public facility or a school that exceeds the lead action level, EPA will follow up with the appropriate parties, even though it will not trigger the process outlined in the Strategic Plan (SDWA Section 1414(c)(5)).
Q: How would a residence in a transient public water system be handled? Would results from a transient water system also require consumer education?
A: A Transient Non-Community Water System (TNCWS) is a public water system that provides water in a place such as a gas station, rest area, hotel, motel, or campground where people generally do not remain for long periods of time, and therefore the TNCWS is typically not serving “a household”. In some cases, however, a TNCWS may serve persons residing at the site – i.e. a “household”. In that case, the requirements in Section 1414(c)(5)(B) would apply if EPA received data from a source other than a state or public water system that indicates the water at such a household exceeds the action level.
Q: Can tap sampling used in a WIIN Act request be conducted at any time during the year?
A: The WIIN Act requirements in 1414(c)(5)(B) can be triggered by samples taken at any time of year.
Q: Do WIIN Act samples need to be analyzed with an EPA approved method?
A: The requirements in SDWA Section 1414(c)(5)(B) are only triggered if the data “meets the requirements of section 1412(b)(3)(A)(ii)” which speaks to data collected by acceptable methods or best available methods. EPA will consider acceptable methods as those that have been approved for drinking water compliance such as the methods identified in the Lead and Copper Rule. Other methods may also be considered best available methods on a case by case basis.
Q: What can MassDEP do to assist the public water systems?
A: MassDEP can assist a public water system that needs to provide notice under the WIIN Act (SDWA Section 1414(c)(5)) by helping to answer key questions on what information must be distributed and to whom. MassDEP will work with the public water system to support their compliance with the WIIN Act consumer education requirement.
Contact information for MassDEP Drinking Water Program