Tribal Drinking Water Program

Overview

We have been working with Tribal public water systems in EPA Regions 6 and 8 since 1997 and are the go-to resource for providing customized tools and trainings to enable Tribal water systems to protect the public health of the communities they serve while meeting Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) compliance requirements. To do this, the Tribal Drinking Water Program at the SW EFC is focused on assisting Tribal water systems in meeting the goals of:

  • Compliance with current SDWA regulations
  • Compliance with new SDWA regulations
  • Increased number of Tribal water systems served by certified operators
  • Increased operator competency and knowledge
  • Increased technical, managerial, and financial capacity at Tribal water systems

To achieve these goals, we offer a comprehensive array of services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual Tribal water systems while developing a strong understanding among Tribal drinking water system operators, managers, and board members on the need for multiple barriers for public health protection. The Multiple Barrier Approach (MBA) for public health protection strives to maximize the capabilities of each of the three barriers – source, treatment and distribution – to prevent contamination from entering the water system. This central concept is reinforced throughout the various trainings, technical assistance, and other services provided by the SW EFC.

Services

Drinking Water Operator Certification

We have been providing drinking water operator certification services for Tribal water operators in EPA Region 6 since 2003 and in EPA Region 8 since 2015 and are members of the Association of Boards of Certification. By administering these programs, we are able to target technical capacity at Tribal water systems. For more information on our program click here.

Drinking Water Operator Certification

We have been providing drinking water operator certification services for Tribal water operators in EPA Region 6 since 2003 and in EPA Region 8 since 2015 and are members of the Association of Boards of Certification. By administering these programs, we are able to target technical capacity at Tribal water systems. For more information on our program click here.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Compliance Assistance

Our comprehensive program helps water systems meet compliance with the SDWA through the maintenance and distribution of sampling schedules and the development of tools and trainings that focus on compliance needs. We also assist with creating and maintaining sampling plans, providing public notification, and responding to violations or enforcement orders.

Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs)

We assist community water systems in creating an annual CCR to inform customers about the quality of their drinking water through the distribution of a water quality data table that contains required language and violations. Training and one-on-one assistance helps each system finalize and distribute the CCR to their community and the primacy agency.

Sanitary Surveys / Multiple Barrier Evaluations (MBEs)

The SDWA requires a sanitary survey be completed at all PWSs at regular intervals to identify deficiencies that could impact public health. For this purpose, we developed and conduct a MBE that covers all 8 required elements of a sanitary survey, we help systems determine corrective action, and we assist them in documenting those actions to the primacy agency.

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Assessments

Level 1 and Level 2 Assessments are a requirement of the RTCR if certain trigger conditions occur. As a result, we provide both remote and on site assistance in completing a Level 1 Assessment; conduct Level 2 Assessments; identify deficiencies; help systems determine corrective action; and assist them in documenting those actions to the primacy agency.

Implementation of New Drinking Water Regulations

As new drinking water regulations are promulgated, we collaborate with primacy agencies on an implementation pathway to ensure affected systems meet all new regulatory requirements. We then develop trainings and tools that give water systems the information needed to meet these new requirements, to stay in compliance, and to protect public health.

Operations & Maintenance Support

We provide one-on-one support and troubleshooting assistance in the operation and maintenance of public water systems. This assistance is tailored to meet the needs of each water system and can be remote or on-site. Any assistance provided is used as a hands-on opportunity for system personnel to increase their knowledge and skillset.

Customized Training

We provide many different types of training, both on-site and remote, that are designed to target capacity needs at water utilities. This can include trainings on Basic Math, Water Math, Water Operator Certification, Water Treatment, Distribution Equipment O&M, SDWA Regulations, Understanding Compliance Monitoring, and Sanitary Surveys.

Source Water Assessments (SWAs)

Source Water Assessments (SWAs) are tools used to look at how susceptible drinking water sources are to contamination. They are the first step in developing a source water protection plan and implementing a source water protection program. We perform SWAs at ground water systems that provide a contamination susceptibility rating for both individual sources and the system as a whole.

If you questions about the program or would like to request assistance please contact Matt Ziegler or Rose Afandi.