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Public Water System Supervision

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The Safe Drinking Water Act uses the Public Water System Supervision program to ensure that our drinking water meets the national Primary Drinking Water Standards. In the mid-Atlantic region, EPA works in partnership with the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia on supervising public water systems. EPA directly implements the program for the District of Columbia. Direct implementation by EPA also occurs for all states after new regulations are developed until states receive enforcement responsibility.

A public water system may be:

These systems are required to:

Significant non-compliance occurs whenever a system fails to meet these requirements. Direct action by EPA is coordinated with the states whenever a system falls into significant non-compliance or whenever an emergency public health situation exists that requires immediate federal action. When EPA receives information that:

… EPA can use its authority under Section 1431 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (PDF) (19 pp, 623K, About PDF). EPA can issue an Emergency Order or initiate civil action to protect public health. Using this authority, EPA can order responsible parties to provide an alternate source of drinking water or install water treatment to both private well-owners and public water system users. Using this authority, EPA can also force those responsible to better define the extent of the contamination (if necessary) and/or remediate the underground source of drinking water to drinking water standards.

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