Public Water Systems (PWS)
Public Water Systems (PWS) come in all
shapes and sizes, and no two are exactly the same. They may be publicly or
privately owned and maintained. While their design may vary, they all share
the same goal; providing safe, reliable drinking water to the communities
they serve. To do this, most water systems must treat their water. The types
of treatment provided by a specific PWS vary depending on the size of the
system, whether they use ground water or surface water, and the quality of
the source water.
A public water system is defined as a system providing water to the public for human
consumption that has at least 5 service connections or serves at least 25
people per day for at least 60 days of the year.
Information on Disinfection By-Products in Drinking Water
What are the Minimum Responsibilities
of a PWS?
1. Sample regularly for total coliforms
from the distribution system. Number and frequency of samples depends upon
the number of people served by the system.
Click here for the
CCHD water operator's calendar
2. Record daily maintenance and operation activities (chlorine residual or
ultraviolet light reading) and send them to the Clinton County Health
Department's Environmental Unit for review either monthly or quarterly.
Click Here for
the NYS Chlorination Water System Operation Report (DOH360CFL)
3. Sample for various chemical contaminants such as volatile organic
compound, pesticides, lead and copper, inorganic chemical compounds, and
synthetic organic compounds. Whether or not these chemicals are sampled for
and frequency of sampling depends on how many people the system serves.
Click here for the external link to EPA's Drinking Water section for
4. Prepare an emergency plan and vulnerability response plan.
5. Prepare and annual water quality report and distribute it to all water
6. Keep up with the day-to-day needs of running the water system - keeping
equipment running and water flowing and safe to drink.
Click here for the
external link to the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse for technical
manuals and free publications.
Click here for NYS Water Supply Protection Forms
NOTE: Changes to a public water system must be
reported to CCHD. Click here
to download the document to report any emergency changes in the public water
What Happens if
There's a Problem with a PWS?
Public notification must be made.
This is the act of informing the customer and/or the water consumer and the
general public of potential problems with a public water system.
The Clinton County Health Department may issue a "Boil
Water" order to
the PWS, and inform the public of the order. They may also provide other
directions to the PWS to resolve the problem. The "Boil Water" order can be
issued for the following reasons:
> if water pressure goes below 20 pounds per square inch
> a confirmed E. Coli positive water sample
> failure of essential equipment in the water treatment facility
> a sanitation survey reveals pollution sources that cannot normally be
removed by the treatment provided
Click here for the document "FSE Water Emergency", if you are a
food service establishment and have a water emergency.
Some communicable diseases
can be spread by contaminated water.
How are PWS's Monitored?
The Clinton County Health
Department monitors PWS's by:
1. Surveillance Sampling: testing PWS samples
2. Sanitary Surveys: check operation, and disinfection equipment is
all working properly
3. Documentation: ensures the PWS has good record keeping
4. Safety Levels: checks lead and copper levels are safe
5. Emergencies: responds to PWS water emergencies
6. Plan Approval: review and approval of all construction and
Which PWS's Use Fluoride?
Click here if you are interested in which public water systems use
fluoride treatments in Clinton County.
Of Interest and Assistance
for NYSDOH's document "Preparing your Annual Water Quality Report" Guidance
for the Annual Water Quality Report Template (1000 connections or more)
for the Annual Water Quality Report Template (1000 connections or less)
CLICK HERE for Submitted Annual Water Quality Reports from Public
To receive more information or
assistance with Public Water Systems and their requirements, call or visit
Clinton County Health Department
Environmental Health & Safety Division
135 Margaret Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Tel: (518) 565-4870