DEP's Northwest District Tap Line

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Volume IV, Issue 2                                                     July - December 2016

Drinking Water Staff Update!

So far, 2016 has brought about many changes for the Northwest District’s potable water section. We said farewell to Karianne Pezdirtz, who left the department, Scott Grubbs, who moved to another section, and to Mark Sumner in our Panama City office, who took a position with our Office of Emergency Response. While Mark is still offering his support on occasions, he is no longer a primary contact for the drinking water office.

Below is an updated staff list:

  • Nicole Hetzel, in addition to the Stage 2 DBP program, has taken on the responsibility for lead and copper monitoring.
  • Dave Hines is now our inspection program coordinator.

Take the Operator Certification Test in Pensacola!

operator test

On May 4, testing for the Operator Certification Program returned to the Pensacola area! It was the first time in eight years that the Northwest District administered the test to operators in Pensacola. All levels of operators from drinking water, wastewater and distribution operators can now take the test in the DEP Chappie James Building in downtown Pensacola.

Future test dates are being scheduled as needed. To check for the next scheduled test date, click here and then click on "Get the Pencil & Paper Exam Scheduling Form" for the next test date, and click on "Examination Information" to register. 

Please call the Operator Certification Program in Tallahassee at 850-245-7500 with any questions.

Coming Soon -
Paperless MORs!

DEP receives approximately 54,000 Monthly Operating Reports (MORs) from Florida public water systems annually. In accordance with the DEP’s paperless initiative, there will soon be a new method of submitting MOR data. The new process will be available through DEP’s online Business Portal and the Enterprise Self Service Authorizations System (ESSA). Users will be able to log into the Business Portal and submit MOR data directly into the database, effectively cutting out the need to email, fax or physically mail MOR hard copies.

Utilizing ESSA for the submittal of MOR data will increase efficiency in reporting and help maintain data integrity while saving public water systems time and money preparing MORs.

If this opportunity is something that you and your public water system would be interested in utilizing, please let us know. If you have any questions, please contact Joey Whibbs at 850-595-0636 or

Interested in Other Regulatory Newsletters?

Don't forget about the new Northwest District Wastewater newsletter, “Clarifier”. To sign-up for the newsletter, click here.

Clarifier image

In the Spotlight: Nicole Hetzel


Nicole has degrees in Environmental Sciences from University of West Florida and Zoo Animal Technology from Pensacola State College. Nicole started with the NWD in 2007, propagating saltmarsh plants for the Ecosystem Restoration Section of Project Greenshores Site II and other living shoreline projects from Escambia to Bay counties. In 2010, her responsibilities changed with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. She conducted daily surveys for oil along Escambia and Santa Rosa County beaches until October 2010 when she joined the Potable Water Section. Since that time, her responsibilities have included reviewing/tracking Precautionary Boil Water Notices and Monthly Operation Reports; analyzing Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct results; administering the lead and copper monitoring program and conducting public water system inspections. She has also recently been approved to conduct hazardous waste inspections.


Tallahassee Recognized for Best Tasting Drinking Water!


Photo from Tallahassee Democrat Publication and City of Tallahassee

Congratulations to the City of Tallahassee for being named Florida’s best drinking water for the second year in a row by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association! They are the first to win back-to-back competitions (2015 and 2016) and the first municipality to win the competition three times (they also won in 2008).

Submit Monthly Operation Reports!

Please note FAC 62-550.730(1)(d) requires water suppliers to submit monthly operation reports within 10 days after the month of operation. Below is a listing of the three ways DEP will accept Monthly Operation Reports (MORs).

1. Email: Must be emailed as an attachment on or before the 10th of the next month. Formats accepted: Excel, Microsoft Word or Adobe.
Use subject line: PWS# and the month.
Email to

2. Fax: Must be faxed on or before the 10th of the next month to: 850-595-8392

3. Mail: Must be post marked on or before the 10th of the next month to:

Department of Environmental Protection
Potable Water Office
160 Government Street, Suite 308
Pensacola, Florida 32502

Are You Prepared?

storm tracker

Northwest Florida has been fortunate for the last several years with no major hurricanes hitting the area since Dennis in 2005. While we certainly hope that trend continues, we need to be prepared to handle whatever comes our way. 

Florida’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN) is available at This is a system of “utilities helping utilities” to address mutual aid during emergency situations. This site also has access to StormTracker, DEP’s tool for monitoring the status of water and wastewater facilities after an emergency event. When utilities post the need for assistance on StormTracker, this information is automatically transmitted to FlaWARN. Email for more information.

Dates to Remember!

July-Sept. 2016: All community and non-transient non-community groundwater systems on routine or reduced monitoring with a population over 500 are required to monitor for Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts.

June-Sept. 2016: This is also a big sampling year for our non-transient non-community systems (NTNCs). These systems are required to monitor for the inorganic contaminants including nitrate and nitrite, volatile organic contaminants, synthetic organic contaminants and Stage 2 disinfection byproducts (due between July and September). The majority of NTNCs as well as some community systems will also have to monitor for lead and copper this year between June and September.

Dec. 31, 2016: All regulated systems (community, non-transient non-community and transient non-community) are required to monitor for nitrate and nitrite. It is recommended that sampling be completed before the busy holiday season in November and December.

If you have questions concerning your chemical monitoring for this year, do not hesitate to call either Toni Touart at 850-595-0658 or Nicole Hetzel at 850-595-0660.

Revised Total Coliform Rule Update!

The Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) went into effect in Florida on April 1, resulting in several changes in sampling requirements, especially for small community systems, most non-transient non-community (NTNC) and transient non-community (TNC) systems. All systems serving 1,000 customers or less are now required to sample a minimum of one distribution site per monitoring period rather than two, as was the case under the old Total Coliform Rule. Community systems remain on monthly sampling, but NTNC’s serving 1,000 or less may go from monthly to quarterly.

With these changes, the new rule will likely make revisions to your bacteriological sampling plan necessary. Even if your system’s sampling frequency and/or number of samples required will not be changing, there are other changes that should be included in a new, revised plan. These include:

  • Changes to follow-up sampling that may be required after receiving total coliform positive (TC+) results;
  • New criteria for the E. coli (EC) maximum contaminant level (MCL); and
  • New “Level 1 and Level 2 Assessments” that may need to be performed in the wake of TC+ or EC+ results.

These aspects of the new rule and others should be added to your existing sampling plans to make sure you and your system are “RTCR-ready”.

If you have not already revised your plan(s), or you have not already been contacted by this office with an RTCR sampling plan template or other RTCR information, please contact Dave Hines at
850-595-0593 or