Safe Drinking Water Act Section 1441
Public water systems (PWSs) and publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) may experience a shortage or other serious supply chain issues for water treatment chemicals and other critical supplies. If this occurs systems should first work with their current suppliers or identify other potential suppliers in their region. They should also consult their primacy agency or permitting authority as there may be options during emergency situations for addressing the shortage while maintaining compliance with applicable regulations. Finally, drinking water and wastewater systems may also reach out to existing mutual aid networks such as WARN for additional relief.
If you continue to have trouble securing the necessary resources, you may seek relief under section 1441 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) or the Defense Production Act (DPA), as described below.
Relief Options for Water Utilities
SDWA Section 1441 authorizes the Department of Commerce (DOC) to issue an order to a vendor to provide the necessary amount of the chemical or substance to a PWS or POTW.
How to Use SDWA Section 1441
- A PWS or POTW submits an application to EPA Administrator for a certification of need when the amount of a “chemical or substance necessary to effectively treat such water is not reasonably available” or “will not be so available when required.” SDWA §1441(a).
- Upon receipt of the application, EPA will either (1) publish a notice in the Federal Register, to notify in writing all individuals who could be subject to an order based on the certification of need, and provide time for written comment or (2) waive such requirements when EPA finds for good cause that a waiver is necessary to protect the public health.
- After review of application, EPA will determine whether issuance of a certification of need is warranted.
- If EPA issues the certification, the Agency will forward it to the DOC Undersecretary for Business and Industrial Security for implementation.
- Within seven days of EPA issuing the certification, the DOC Undersecretary for Business and Industrial Security, shall issue an order requiring the manufacturers, producers, processors, distributors, and repackagers of the chemical or substance identified in the certification of need that the Department determines to be necessary and appropriate to provide the chemical or substance in the amount EPA determined was necessary.
- Persons or companies subject to the order will be given a reasonable opportunity to consult with the DOC with respect to implementation of the order.
Application for Certification of Need
A PWS or POTW submitting an application for a certification of need should include the following information for EPA to act expeditiously on the application. If some information is not available, a partially completed form can be submitted, although it may take longer to process the request due to the time needed to collect missing information. The requested information includes:
- PWS and/or POTW contact information;
- Facility information for all facilities impacted by the shortage (i.e., contact information, function of the facility, flow processed by the facility, and population served);
- Treatment chemical or critical supply that is not reasonably available;
- Basis for the claim that the treatment chemical or critical supply is not reasonably available;
- Information for the current supplier and alternate suppliers of the treatment chemical or critical supply that is not reasonably available;
- List of alternative products that could be used in lieu of the treatment chemical or critical supply that is not reasonably available, if applicable;
- Any additional actions taken to resolve the supply issue; and
- Any necessary documentation relevant to this request.
The fillable Word Document below can be used by a PWS or POTW to submit an application for a certification of need. After you have completed the application, please email WSD-Outreach@epa.gov the completed application and a brief cover letter on utility letterhead signed by a PWS or POTW representative, who is authorized to represent the PWS or POTW, regarding this request. EPA will confirm receipt of your application within 2 to 5 business days of submission.
- SDWA Section 1441 Application for Certification of Need (docx) (09/21/21, 816F21005)