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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems

Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide Series

The Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) guide series are designed to help owners and operators of community water systems (CWs) and non-transient non-community water systems (NTNCWs) gain understanding on a variety of drinking water topics. 

The STEP guide series is divided into the following categories

Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems

The following STEP guides are designed to help public water systems build their technical, managerial and financial (TMF) capacity. TMF capacity is necessary to achieve and maintain long-term sustainability and compliance with national safe drinking water regulations.

Small Systems Guide Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations: The First STEP to Providing Safe and Reliable Drinking Water

Small Systems Guide to Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations: The First STEP to providing Safe and Reliable Drinking Water (EPA-816-R-03-017):This guide was prepared to help small systems and owners and operators like you understand existing and upcoming drinking water regulations. It focuses on the why, what, and when of regulations:

  • Why compliance is important.
  • What you need to know to comply with existing and new requirements.
  • When you need to comply with them.

Strategic Planning: A Handbook for Small Water Systems

Strategic Planning: A Handbook for Small Water Systems (EPA-816-B-21-001): This guide presents basic concepts  on strategic planning for small water systems and explains how this process can help improve your technical, managerial, and financial capabilities. Updated in March 2021. 

Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems

Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems (EPA-816-R-03-016): This guide presents basic concepts of asset management and provides  the tools to develop an asset management plan.

Taking Stock of Your Water System: A Simple Asset Inventory for Very Small Drinking Water Systems

Taking Stock of Your Water System: A Simple Asset Inventory for Very Small Drinking Water Systems(EPA-816-K-03-002): This guide presents basic information an how to asses the condition of very small water sytems by preparing a simple asset inventory.

Drinking Water Security for Small Systems Serving 3,300 or Fewer Persons

Drinking Water Security for Small Systems Serving 3,300 or Fewer Persons (EPA-817-R-05-001): This guide present basic information and steps you can take to improve security and emergency preparedness at your water system. 

Setting Small Drinking Water Rates for a Sustainable Future

Setting Small Drinking Water Rates for a Sustainable Future (EPA-816-R-05-006): This guide is designed to help the audience understand the full cost of providing safe and adequate supply of drinking water to their customers and how to set water rates that reflect those costs.  

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Chemical Contaminants

The following STEP guides are designed to help public water systems understand and gain compliance with the chemical contaminant rules.

Arsenic Rule: A Small Entity Compliance Guide for Public Water Systems

Arsenic Rule Small Entity Compliance Guide for Public Water Systems: This guide is designed to help public water systems (PWSs) understand and achieve compliance with the Arsenic Rule. The guide provides sample worksheets to help PWSs organize data and guidance for small systems on their selection of appropriate compliance options.

Radionuclides in Drinking Water: A Small Entity Compliance Guide for Public Water Systems

Radionuclides in Drinking Water: A Small Entity Compliance Guide:  This guide provides the operator of a small PWS with an understandable overview of the Radionuclides Rule. The guide provides sample worksheets to help PWSs organize data and guidance for small systems on their selection of appropriate compliance options. Systems that will typically find this guide useful include:

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Microbial Contaminants

The following STEP guides are designed to help public water systems understand and gain compliance with the microbial contaminant rules.

Complying with the Groundwater Rule: A Small Entity Compliance Guide

Complying with the Groundwater Rule: Small Entity Compliance Guide: This guide provides information about: How the GWR affects your system; your monitoring responsibilities under the GWR; your responsibilities for correction of source water fecal contamination and significant deficiencies; source of funding for compliance with the GWR compliance requirements

Complying with the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule: A Small Entity Compliance Guide

Complying with the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule: Small Entity Compliance Guide: This guide is designed for owners and operators of public water systems that are required to comply with the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR). 

Complying with the Stage 1 Disinfectant and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: A Small Entity Compliance Guide

Complying with the Stage 1 Disinfectant and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Basic Guide: This guide was developed to address the requirements of the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 1 DBPR).

Complying with the Stage 2 Disinfectant and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: A Small Entity Compliance Guide

Complying with the Stage 2 Disinfectant and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Small Entity Compliance Guide (EPA-815-R-07-014):This guide was developed to address the requirements of the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR).

Total Coliform Rule: A Handbook for Small Noncommunity Water Systems serving less than 3,300 Persons

Total Coliform Rule: A Handbook for Small Noncommunity Water Systems serving less than 3,300 persons: One of the Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide Series:  This guide was developed to address requirements of the Total Coliform Rule.

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