Spring 2021 Noncom Notes

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Noncomm Notes

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Reminder to Owners and Operators of Seasonal Systems

Seasonal public water systems are those that do not operate on a year-round basis and start up and shut down at the beginning and end of each season. Seasonal systems are required to start up each spring with an approved start-up procedure found at Start-up Procedure for Seasonal Public Water Systems (PDF), and notify MDH of its completion. If you are the owner/operator of a seasonal water system, you will receive a reminder notice each spring. After starting up your water system, be sure to complete the notice with the date the procedure was completed and return it to MDH. Please note that seasonal systems that do not complete the approved start-up procedure will be in violation of the Revised Total Coliform Rule and placed on a monthly coliform bacteria sample schedule. The owner/operator of the system will then become responsible for collecting water samples as well as overnight shipping costs.

drinking water faucet

If COVID-19 has delayed your start-up date, please email compliance staff at health.noncommunitycompliance@state.mn.us or contact your sanitarian.
Although providing certification of the start-up procedure is only required for the water systems that fully depressurize all their water system(s) in the off-season, water systems that depressurize a portion of their system should also follow the approved start-up procedure. This will help to ensure these systems are maintained in a sanitary condition. If you are restarting your system following a period of non-use or low use due to COVID-19, the System Reopening and Maintaining Water Quality (PDF) reopening guide will be very helpful.

Additional information relating to the Seasonal Start-up Procedure and other water system related information is available at Restaurants, Resorts, Campgrounds (Transient). Please contact your designated sanitarian if you have questions. See Drinking Water Protection Contacts, or call 651-201-4700 or 888-345-0823.

Lead and Copper Rule Revisions Update

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in January 2021. With the new federal administration, EPA is now planning additional time for public review comment this spring/summer. The revisions to the LCR will apply to nontransient Noncommunity Public Water Systems (NPWS). Neither the current nor the revised rule applies to transient NPWSs.
You are encouraged to become familiar with the proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and MDH staff will also keep you informed as further guidance becomes available from US EPA and as we develop MDH’s plans for implementing the revisions. In the meantime, please be aware that all the current rule requirements remain in place, so you will need to keep following these until the new provisions go into effect.

Public Notice Reminder

Public notification is required when a Noncommunity Public Water System has a water quality problem or has missed taking required samples or readings. Public notices are designed to inform water consumers and to protect public health. As a public water system, you are required by law to prepare and distribute public notification to consumers under certain circumstances. MDH will let you know if you are required to provide public notice and will provide a template and instructions to help. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, public notice is an important way that water systems can educate people about water quality issues and how to protect themselves from potential risks.

MRWA Training/Resources

The in-person training workshops are still on hold and Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) hopes to get them rescheduled as soon as possible once it is safe to do so. MRWA will continue to follow guidance from MDH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it relates to holding in-person training. While the in-person training sessions are on hold, online remote training sessions using Zoom are being offered. Attending these online remote trainings will help keep you in compliance with the certification rule. If you have not received these email invites for the Zoom online training sessions, please email mrwa@mrwa.com and provide your name, public water system name, and preferred email address so that you can be added to the email list. If you have received emails in the past but not these Zoom notices, please check your Junk/Spam folder. If you use a Gmail account, you may need to check the Promotions folder for the email invites. Notification of the date and time of each online remote training session comes via email. An email address is needed to register for these online remote training sessions. Each operations specialist must register and sign-in separately on their own device to receive credit for attending the online remote training session.

Operator Certification

Nontransient noncommunity public water supply systems that provide pumped water for human consumption must employ a certified water operator. These systems include schools, daycare facilities, factories, and businesses. For water operators who have questions about their water operator certification or need to take a water operator exam, please reach out to Noel Hansen at 651-201-4690 or noel.hansen@state.mn.us. Water Operator Certification and Training will provide you further information.

MDH Staff Changes

New Noncommunity staff member

Dane Huber is the new Compliance Coordinator for MDH’s Noncommunity Public Water Supply (NPWS) Unit. He rejoined MDH in December 2020, having previously worked on the drinking water virus study in 2014-2016 and at the MDH Public Health Laboratory from 2006 to 2013. In the newly created Coordinator position his focus is continuing to improve, document, and refine our Safe Drinking Water Act compliance activities and help address lab issues. Welcome back Dane!

Carol Kephart retired in January 2021. Carol joined the NPWS Unit at its beginning in 1988 and served as a compliance officer, sanitarian, mentor, trainer, advisor, colleague, collaborator, and supervisor during her time at MDH. We all wish Carol the very best for her retirement!

Miles Schacher was recently promoted to the position formerly held by Carol Kephart. Miles brings to the position diverse expertise in environmental health, as well as experience as both a field sanitarian and regional supervisor in the NPWS Unit. Miles has stated he is “very excited for the new challenges that this position presents and thinks that my time as a Sanitarian and a Public Health Sanitarian Supervisor is going to be beneficial.”

New Noncommunity staff member

Factsheet to Highlight

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A new publication, Source Water Protection Grants Summary, highlights one of the initiatives supported by the Clean Water Fund (CWF) and summarizes how Noncommunity PWS have utilized the Source Water Protection Grants program from 2010-2020. The CWF provides funds to enhance drinking water protection efforts. To learn more about Source Water Protection grants, including how to apply, go to Source Water Protection Grants.