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How to Prepare for a Sanitary Survey

ADEQ will reach out to the PWS's Responsible Party via telephone about a month in advance to arrange a date and time to conduct the survey. Once the sanitary survey has been scheduled, the inspector sends a pre-inspection email which includes:

  • Confirmation of the inspection date, time and location
  • A pre-inspection checklist
  • Deficiencies and recommendations from the most recent inspection
  • A brief review of the PWS’s monitoring history
  • An overview of required records and sampling plans

The pre-inspection email and checklist give the PWS an opportunity to gather required records and inspect the facility themselves prior to ADEQ’s scheduled sanitary survey (find pre-inspection checklists under "Forms").

What to Expect the Day of the Survey

Upon arrival at the water system, the ADEQ inspector will present photo ID, state the purpose of the inspection and review the Notice of Inspection Rights which will be signed by the onsite representative.

The next step of the inspection process is to go over the water system records. This includes discussion and review of the following:

1. Sampling Plans

A. Microbiological Sample Siting Plan (MSSP) – All public water systems are required to have a MSSP. The purpose of the MSSP is for the facility to have a standard written procedure to follow for monthly total coliform samples as required by the Revised Total Coliform Rule. The plan also helps ADEQ verify that sample locations are suitable and representative of the distribution system.

B. Lead and Copper Sampling Plan – All community and non-transient non-community water systems are required to have a lead and copper sampling plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify sites that have lead pipes, copper pipes with lead solder, and/or are served by lead service lines | Download Lead and Copper Sampling Plan >

C. Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) – All community water systems, regardless of size, are required to develop and maintain an EOP. The EOP details physical and technical aspects of water systems operation, such as maintaining proper water pressure, collapse of a major structure, loss of mechanical components like pumps or valves and alternate water supplies. The EOP should also address public notice procedures for consumers and regulatory agencies | Download EOP Template >

D. Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Plan (Stage 2 DBP) – A Stage 2 DBP plan is required of community water system or non-transient non-community water systems that use a primary or residual disinfectant other than ultraviolet light or deliver water that has been treated with a primary or residual disinfectant other than ultraviolet light | Download Stage 2 DBP >

​2. Operations and Maintenance Records - These include records of routine component operations and maintenance (pumping rates, well maintenance, treatment system maintenance, component repairs, etc.) | Download Operations and Maintence Manual Template >

3. Monitoring Records - Monitoring records are required to be kept on site for a determined amount of time depending on the type of records. Generally records are required to be kept between 3-10 years. Sampling schedules and monitoring history can be reviewed on the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) website | Go to SDWIS Website >

4. Backflow Prevention – Testable backflow prevention devices are required to be tested annually by a certified tester. PWSs are required to retain testing records for at least three years. 

The facility walkthrough will include a review of all system components including wells, surface water intakes, storage tanks, pressure tanks, disinfection (e.g. chlorinators), treatment systems, etc. All water system facilities should be unlocked and accessible for the ADEQ inspector to conduct the sanitary survey.

System facilities should be routinely inspected by the certified operator. ADEQ encourages remote system operators to use the Certified Operator Monthly Inspection Form when conducting their monthly inspection | Download Operator Monthly Inspection Form >

Once the walkthrough is completed, the inspector will review the system’s distribution and treatment grades. PWSs are graded from 1-4 based upon a point system that assigns a predetermined number of points per system characteristics. The grade corresponds with the level of system complexity, with Grade 1 being the most simple and Grade 4 being the most complex. All PWSs require an operator in direct charge who is certified at or above the grade of the facility.

Once the sanitary survey is completed, the inspector will review the findings with the onsite representative. Potential deficiencies and the follow-up process will be discussed if necessary. The finalized inspection report and the Notice of Inspection Rights will be provided to the responsible party following the sanitary survey.