Public Notification Rule | Drinking Water Compliance Assistance

The Public Notification Rule1 applies to all Public Water Systems (PWSs) and ensures that customers know if there is a problem with their drinking water. PWSs must issue a Public Notice (PN) if any of the following apply:

  • Violates an EPA Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulation(s) (e.g., an exceedance of the Maximum Contaminant Level or Action Level)
  • Fails to test its water (e.g., does not conduct routine sampling or testing)
  • Has been granted a variance (e.g., use of less costly technology)
  • Has been granted an exemption (e.g., more time to comply with a new regulation)
  • A waterborne disease outbreak occurs
  • Unregulated contaminant data becomes available

Types of Public Notices & Associated Requirements

Tier 1 (Immediate Notice)  

There is a potential for immediate impact to human health if water is consumed

Distribution Timing — Within 24 hours

Distribution Method — PNs must be distributed in one or more of the following ways:

  • Personally deliver to customers
  • Post in public places
  • Through media outlets such as television, radio and newspapers
  • An alternative communication method approved by agency with primacy (ADEQ or delegated county agency)

Tier 2 (Notice as Soon as Possible)

Levels of a contaminant that exceed EPA Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulation(s) or water that hasn't been treated properly but does not pose an immediate risk to human health if water is consumed

Distribution Timing — As soon as possible within 30 days of the violation

Distribution Method — PNs must be distributed in one or more of the following ways:

  • Post in public places
  • Through mail
  • Through media outlets such as television, radio and newspapers

Tier 3 (Annual Notice)

Violation of a EPA Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulation(s) does not have direct impact on human health (e.g., failing to take a required sample on time)

Distribution Timing — Up to a year

Distribution Method — Same as the Tier 2 public notice. The extra time gives PWSs the opportunity to consolidate these type of notices and send them with Annual Water Quality Reports, also known as Consumer Confidence Reports.

Certificate of Distribution

A water system is required to provide the agency with primacy (ADEQ or delegated county agency) a Certificate of Distribution within 10 days of sharing the PN. The Certificate of Distribution records when and how the PN was distributed.

Certificate of Notice Distribution | View/Download >

Other Requirements

A PN must have the following:

  • A description of the violation that occurred, including the contaminant(s) of concern and the contaminant level(s)
  • When the violation or situation occurred
  • The potential health effects (including standard required language)
  • The population at risk, including vulnerable subpopulations, if exposed to the contaminant in their drinking water
  • Whether alternate water supplies need to be used
  • What the water system is doing to correct the problem
  • Actions consumers can take
  • When the system expects a resolution
  • How to contact the water system for more information
  • Language encouraging broader distribution of the notice

Resources

Public Notice Templates | Find by Contaminant >
Public Notice Rule Requirements Flow Chart | View/Download >