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Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems

Aircraft Drinking Water Rule

Rule Summary

The primary purpose of the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) is to ensure that safe and reliable drinking water is provided to aircraft passengers and crew.

Both the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) were designed for stationary public water systems. Using a collaborative rulemaking process, EPA developed ADWR to address aircraft public water systems. The ADWR establishes barriers of protection from disease-causing organisms targeted to the air carrier industry.

Drinking water safety on airlines is jointly regulated by:

  • EPA,
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
  • and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

EPA regulates systems that supply water to airports and onboard aircraft. FDA regulates water used in food and drink preparation and water supply lines for the aircraft.  FAA oversees airline operation and maintenance programs, including the potable water system.

The regulatory structure for all public water systems, including aircraft, relies upon self-monitoring and reporting of results to the primacy agency. The primacy agency for aircraft public water systems is EPA.

Quick Reference Guide:

Aircraft Drinking Water Rule: A Quick Reference Guide (PDF)(2 pp, 124 K, About PDF) EPA 816-F-10-077, October 2010 
This guide provides an overview of the ADWR, major provisions, critical deadlines and requirements, and public health benefits.

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Rule History

In 2004, EPA found all aircraft PWSs to be out of compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs). The existing NPDWRs were designed for traditional, stationary public water systems, not mobile aircraft water systems that are operationally very different. 

For example:

  • aircraft must maintain rigorous operating schedules
  • they fly to multiple destinations throughout the course of any given day and may board drinking water at any of these destinations.
  • aircraft board water from airport watering points via temporary connections
  • aircraft drinking water safety depends on a number of factors including:
  • the quality of the water that is boarded from these multiple sources,
  • the care used to board the water and
  • the operation and maintenance of the onboard water system and the water transfer equipment (such as water cabinets, trucks, carts and hoses).

These unique operational characteristics presented different challenges. Thus, prior to publication of the ADWR, EPA placed 45 air carriers under Administrative Orders on Consent (AOCs). Air carriers remained subject to NPDWRs or existing AOCs, where applicable, until ADWR became effective on November 18, 2011.


Press Releases

Workshop Notices


Proposed Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (April 9, 2008)

In developing the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR), EPA used a collaborative process to obtain a broad range of views including the airlines, flight attendants, passengers, pilots, airports, laboratories, public health officials and environmental organizations.

ADWR Public Meetings and Summaries

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Additional Resources

ADWR Contacts

The Aircraft Reporting and Compliance System (ARCS) is administered by US EPA Office of Water, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, Drinking Water Protection Division. Please send all questions or comments to adwr_admin@epa.gov or contact Edna Villanueva at 202-564-0815.

Regional ADWR Contacts

Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) - Regional Contacts
Region State Staff | Phone Email Office

1

Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Vermont

Gevon Solomon
617-918-1513

Kevin Reilly
617-918-1694

Ken Rota
617-918-1751

solomon.gevon@epa.gov


reilly.kevin@epa.gov

rota.ken@epa.gov

Drinking Water Quality & Protection Unit, Office of Ecosystem Protection

Drinking Water Quality & Protection Unit, Office of Ecosystem Protection

Technical Enforcement Office

2

New Jersey
New York
Puerto Rico
Virgin Islands

Evangelia Palagian
212-637-4246

Mark Rasso
212-637-3839

palagian.evangelia@epa.gov


rasso.mark@epa.gov

Enforcement Section


Drinking Water & Ground Water Protection Section

3

Delaware
DC
Maryland
Pennsylvania
Virginia
West Virginia

Ghassan Khaled
215-814-5780

Karen Johnson
215-814-5445

 

khaled.ghassan@epa.gov


johnson.karenD@epa.gov


 

Drinking Water Branch


Ground Water & Enforcement Branch



 

4

Alabama
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
Mississippi
North Carolina
South Carolina
Tennessee

Janine Morris
404-562-9480

Amanda Driskell
404-562-9735

Pamela Riley
404-562-9419

 

morris.janine@epa.gov


driskell.amanda@epa.gov

riley.pamela@epa.gov

Drinking Water Section


Drinking Water Section - Enforcement


Drinking Water Section

5

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Ohio
Wisconsin

Michele Palmer
312-353-3646



Dorothy Wormbly
312-886-9736

palmer.michele@epa.gov


 


wormbly.dorothy@epa.gov

Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch



Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch -Enforcement

6

Arkansas
Louisiana
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Texas

Jatin Mistry
214-665-7483



 

mistry.jatin@epa.gov


 

Drinking Water Section


 


Enforcement Section

7

Iowa
Kansas
Missouri
Nebraska

Morris Holmes
913-551-7421

Stan Calow
913-551-7410

Scott Marquess
913 551-7131

holmes.morris@epa.gov


calow.stan@epa.gov

marquess.scott@epa.gov

Drinking Water Management Branch



 


Water Enforcement Branch


Water Enforcement Branch

8

Colorado
Montana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Utah
Wyoming

Natalie Cannon
303-312-6625

 

cannon.natalie@epa.gov


 

Drinking Water Program


 

9

Arizona
California
Hawaii
Nevada
American Samoa
Guam

Kevin Ryan
415-972-3806


 

Everett Pringle
415-972-3548

ryan.kevin@epa.gov


 

pringle.everett@epa.gov

Drinking Water Office



Drinking Water Office -Enforcement

10

Alaska
Idaho
Oregon
Washington


 


Adam Baron
206-553-6361


 

baron.adam@epa.gov



Drinking Water Unit

Enforcement website

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Compliance

EPA has developed guidance documents and a National Database System to help air carriers comply with ADWR. 

Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) training Materials

Five Year Self- Inspection Requirements under ADWR Memo

Aircraft Drinking Water Fact Sheets

  • Final Aircraft Drinking Water Rule Fact Sheet (TXT) (8 pp, 49 K) EPA-816-F09-011, October 2009. This fact sheet provides information on the basic requirements, the public health and environmental benefits, and estimated costs associated with the rule.

ADWR Guidance Manual

Aircraft Reporting and Compliance System (ARCS) Reporting

US EPA has developed the Aircraft Reporting and Compliance System (ARCS) to facilitate the reporting of aircraft public water system (PWS) data. This is a requirement pursuant to the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) [40 CFR Part 141 Subpart X].  ARCS is a centralized web-based data collection and management system that provides accountability and regulatory oversight.

Air carriers subject to the ADWR must report to EPA and conduct, as appropriate, the following requirements in ARCS, unless an alternative reporting method has been approved:

  • A complete inventory of aircraft PWS fleet;
  • The date the Operations and Maintenance plan was developed;
  • The date the Coliform Sampling plan was developed;
  • The date the aircraft PWS Sampling plan(s) was incorporated into the aircraft water system Operations and Maintenance plan;
  • The date the Operations and Maintenance plan(s) was incorporated into FAA- accepted air carrier Operation and Maintenance program;
  • The frequency for routine disinfection and flushing, and the corresponding routine total coliform sampling frequency; and 
  • The date for routine disinfection and flushing, routine coliform sampling dates and results, and corrective actions (when applicable).

How to submit data

To enter, transmit, and manage aircraft PWS data, air carriers and US EPA Regions must request a UserID and password by completing the following:

Access to ARCS (electronic process)

  • Go to the Aircraft Reporting and Compliance System from any web browser
  • Click on [Request User Account]
  • Specify your Role (i.e., Primary, Secondary, Laboratory, or US EPA Region)
  • As prompted, input your contact information and other relevant information

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