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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 7346 (November 25, 2023).

25 Pa. Code § 109.503. Public water system construction permits.

§ 109.503. Public water system construction permits.

 (a)  Permit application requirements. An application for a public water system construction permit shall be submitted in writing on forms provided by the Department and shall be accompanied by plans, specifications, engineer’s report, water quality analyses and other data, information or documentation reasonably necessary to enable the Department to determine compliance with the act and this chapter. The Department will make available to the applicant the Public Water Supply Manual, available from the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water, Post Office Box 8467, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105 which contains acceptable design standards and technical guidance. Water quality analyses shall be conducted by a laboratory accredited under this chapter.

   (1)  General requirements. An application must include:

     (i)   Permit application signatures. A Department permit application signed as follows:

       (A)   In the case of corporations, by a principal executive officer of at least the level of vice president, or an authorized representative, if the representative is responsible for the overall operation of the facility.

       (B)   In the case of a partnership, by a general partner.

       (C)   In the case of a sole proprietorship, by the proprietor.

       (D)   In the case of a municipal, State or other public facility, by either a principal executive officer, ranking elected official or other authorized employee.

     (ii)   Plans, specifications and engineer’s report. Plans, specifications and engineer’s reports must comply with the following:

       (A)   The drawings, specifications and engineer’s report shall be prepared by or under the supervision of a professional engineer registered to practice in this Commonwealth or in the state in which the public water system is located.

       (B)   The front cover or flyleaf of each set of drawings, of each copy of the engineer’s report and of each copy of specifications shall bear the signature and imprint of the seal of the registered engineer. Drawings shall bear an imprint or a legible facsimile of the seal.

     (iii)   Information describing new sources. Information describing new sources must include the items specified in clauses (A)—(F). The information specified in clauses (C) and (D) may not be more than 2 years old from the date the permit application is submitted unless the Department approves the use of data more than 2 years old. The Department may accept approval of an out-of-State source by the agency having jurisdiction over drinking water in that state if the supplier submits adequate proof of the approval and the agency’s standards are at least as stringent as this chapter:

       (A)   A source water assessment of each new raw water source.

       (B)   A pre-drilling plan for a new groundwater source prepared and signed by a professional geologist licensed to practice in this Commonwealth. The pre-drilling plan shall be submitted and approved by the Department prior to well construction and conducting an aquifer test. At a minimum, the pre-drilling plan must include preliminary results of the source water assessment, a hydrogeologic description, an aquifer test monitoring plan and the proposed well construction design.

       (C)   An evaluation of the quantity of the raw water from each new source. Flow data shall be submitted for springs, infiltration galleries or surface water sources. Aquifer test data, including drawdown and recovery data and the derivation of hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity and storage coefficient of the aquifer, shall be submitted for wells. At the discretion of the Department, these requirements may be altered for wells or wellfields pumping less than 100,000 gallons per day. The Department may require additional information to evaluate the safe or sustainable yield of the source. The safe or sustainable yield is the amount of water that can be withdrawn from an aquifer without causing an undesired result, such as adverse dewatering of an aquifer, induced potential health threats or impacts upon stream uses.

       (D)   An evaluation of the quality of the raw water from each new source. For groundwater sources, the evaluation shall be conducted at the conclusion of the constant rate aquifer test. This clause does not apply when the new source is finished water obtained from an existing permitted community water system unless the Department provides written notice that an evaluation is required. The evaluation must include analysis of all of the following:

         (I)   VOCs for which MCLs have been established by the EPA in 40 CFR 141.61(a) (relating to maximum contaminant levels for organic contaminants). Vinyl chloride monitoring is required only if one or more of the two-carbon organic compounds specified in §  109.301(5)(i) (relating to general monitoring requirements) are detected. Samples for VOCs shall be collected in accordance with §  109.303(d) (relating to sampling requirements).

         (II)   IOCs, including asbestos, for which MCLs have been established by the EPA in 40 CFR 141.62 (relating to maximum contaminant levels for inorganic contaminants).

         (III)   Lead.

         (IV)   Copper.

         (V)   Total coliform and E. coli concentration.

         (VI)   SOCs, including dioxin and PCBs, for which MCLs have been established by the EPA in 40 CFR 141.61(c).

         (VII)   Gross Alpha ([prop ]), radium-226, radium-228, uranium and Gross Beta (ß).

         (VIII)   Aluminum, chloride, color, foaming agents, iron, manganese, pH, silver, sulfate, total dissolved solids and zinc for which MCLs have been established by the EPA in 40 CFR 143.3 (relating to secondary maximum containment levels).

         (IX)   Alkalinity.

         (X)   Hardness.

         (XI)   Temperature.

         (XII)   For surface water or GUDI sources, E. coli or Cryptosporidium, or both, as specified in §  109.1202 (relating to monitoring requirements).

         (XIII)   Turbidity.

         (XIV)   For groundwater sources, the monitoring specified in §  109.302(f) (relating to special monitoring requirements) if the Department determines that the source is susceptible to surface water influence.

         (XIV.1)   PFAS for which MCLs have been established under §  109.202(a) (relating to State MCLs, MRDLs and treatment technique requirements).

         (XV)   Other contaminants that the Department determines necessary to evaluate the potability of the source.

       (E)   A hydrogeologic report for a new groundwater source. For wells, springs or infiltration galleries, this information must include a description of the geology of the area including the source aquifers, overlying formations, hydrogeologic boundaries, aquifer porosity estimates, water table contour or potentiometric surface maps depicting prepumping conditions and other information deemed necessary to evaluate the hydraulic characteristics of the aquifer and demonstrate the suitability of the proposed source and a Department approved delineation of the Zone 1 and Zone II wellhead protection areas. All information included in the source water assessment, in addition to the results of the water quantity and quality evaluations as specified in clauses (C) and (D), must be included in a hydrogeological report prepared and signed by a professional geologist licensed to practice in this Commonwealth.

       (F)   A description of the watershed topography and land uses within the watershed for a new surface water source.

     (iv)   Chapter 102 requirements. An erosion and sedimentation control plan which meets the requirements contained in Chapter 102 (relating to erosion and sediment control) when earth-moving activities are involved.

   (2)  Special requirements for public water suppliers proposing to use POE devices. Permit applications which propose the use of POE devices shall, in addition to the information required in paragraph (1), include the following:

     (i)   Documentation that each POE device to be used meets the certification requirements of §  109.612 (relating to POE devices).

     (ii)   Manufacturer’s design and engineering information, including blueprints or similar drawings, which provide detailed information about the construction and operation of the treatment device and its components.

     (iii)   A detailed monitoring plan, subject to the Department’s approval, which includes a list of the contaminants to be monitored and the frequency of monitoring.

     (iv)   An operation and maintenance plan, as outlined in §  109.702 (relating to operation and maintenance plan), which includes a schedule of routine maintenance to be performed and the parameters to be monitored to determine the performance and condition of the devices.

     (v)   A drawing of the water supply distribution system showing each house, building or facility where POE devices are to be installed.

     (vi)   Proof of the right-of-access for every house, building or facility to be served by a POE device.

   (3)  Business plan requirements for new community water systems. Permit applications submitted to the Department on or after October 1, 1996, for new community water systems shall, in addition to the information required in paragraph (1), include a business plan. A new community water system is a proposed community water system or an existing system not otherwise subject to the act which becomes a community water system subject to the act as a result of an increase in the number of year-round residents or residences served. The business plan shall be submitted on forms approved by the Department. To be considered complete, the business plan shall conform to the guidelines contained in the Department’s Public Water Supply Manual and shall consist of the following three parts:

     (i)   Facilities plan. The facilities plan shall identify the scope of the water service to be provided. In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1)(ii), the facilities plan shall include the following:

       (A)   An assessment of current and reasonably foreseeable compliance requirements that are applicable under the act based on monitoring data from the proposed sources of supply.

       (B)   A description of the alternatives considered and the rationale for the approach selected to providing water service. This description shall include the technical, managerial, financial, operational and local decision making rationale for the selected approach. Unless the new system is a consecutive water system, the plan shall include the rationale for creating a separate system.

       (C)   An engineering description of the facilities to be constructed, including the construction phases and future plans for expansion. This description shall include an estimate of the full cost of any required construction, operation and maintenance.

     (ii)   Management plan. The management plan shall specify the commitments that are needed to provide for effective management and operation of the system and shall include the following:

       (A)   Documentation that the applicant has the legal right and authority to take the measures necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the system. The evidence shall include, but is not limited to, indices of ownership where the applicant is the owner of the system or, where the applicant is not the owner, legally enforceable management contracts or agreements.

       (B)   An operating plan to define the tasks to be performed in managing and operating the system. The operating plan shall consist of the following:

         (I)   Part 1. A management and administrative plan.

         (II)   Part 2. An operation and maintenance plan which conforms with §  109.702.

       (C)   Assurances that the commitments needed for proper operation and management of the system will be carried out. These assurances can be given in the form of documentation of the credentials of management and operations personnel, cooperative agreements or service contracts.

     (iii)   Financial plan. The financial plan shall describe the system’s revenues and cash flow for meeting the costs of construction and the costs of operation and maintenance for at least 5 full years from the date the applicant anticipates initiating system operation. At a minimum, the financial plan shall include pro forma statements for each of the 5 years including the following:

       (A)   Balance sheet.

       (B)   Income statement.

       (C)   Statement of cash flow.

 (b)  Amendments. A water supplier operating under a public water system permit shall obtain an amended construction permit before making a substantial modification to the public water system.

   (1)  A water supplier shall submit an application for an amended construction permit under the application requirements in subsection (a), if the proposed modification constitutes a major change to the public water system. Typical modifications which may be considered major changes are proposed new sources, additions or deletions of treatment techniques or processes, pumping stations and storage reservoirs.

   (2)  A water supplier shall submit a written request to the Department if the proposed modification constitutes a relatively minor change to the public water system. A request for an amended construction permit under this paragraph shall describe the proposed change in sufficient detail to allow the Department to adequately evaluate the proposal. Typical modifications which may be considered minor changes are changes in treatment chemicals; replacement of tank or reservoir linings or similar materials in contact with the water supply; interconnections; covering of reservoirs; construction of covered storage tanks and standpipes designed to standard specifications; transmission mains; and changes in legal status, such as transfers of ownership, incorporation or mergers. Additionally, requests to change the permitted availability category of a source, purchased interconnect, treatment plant or entry point identified in the comprehensive monitoring plan in accordance with §  109.718 (relating to comprehensive monitoring plan) may be considered a minor change.

   (3)  The Department determines whether a particular modification is a substantial modification and requires the construction permit to be amended under paragraph (1) or (2). A substantial modification is a modification which may affect the quality or quantity of water served to the public or may be prejudicial to the public health or safety. The Department’s determination of whether the substantial modification is a major or minor change will include consideration of the expected amount of staff time required to review and process the proposal, the magnitude and complexity of the proposed change and the compliance history of the public water system.

 (c)  Permit fees. An application for a permit from the Department under this subchapter must be accompanied by a fee in the amount specified in Subchapter N (relating to drinking water fees).

 (d)  Department’s review.

   (1)  The Department will publish a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the applications submitted under subsection (a) or (b)(1) or §  109.507 (relating to permits for innovative technology), providing at least 30 days for public comment from the date of publication.

   (2)  The Department will not accept an application for review until the application is determined to be complete. A complete application is one which includes all the information specified in this chapter and other relevant information the Department determines is necessary to enable the Department to undertake a technical review of the application.

   (3)  If the Department determines the permit application is incomplete, it will request the additional information in writing from the applicant within 90 calendar days of receipt of the application.

   (4)  The Department will grant or deny a permit within 120 calendar days of receipt of the application, or when an incomplete application was submitted, within 120 calendar days of receipt of the applicant’s written response to the Department’s request for additional information.

   (5)  Applications will be reviewed in accordance with accepted engineering and hydrogeological practices. The approval of plans, specifications, hydrogeological reports and engineer’s reports is limited to the sanitary features of design and other features of public health significance.

   (6)  In reviewing a permit application under this chapter, the Department may consider the following:

     (i)   Adherence to standards in Subchapter F (relating to design and construction standards).

     (ii)   Compliance by the proposed project with applicable statutes administered by the Commonwealth, river basin commissions created by interstate compact, or Federal environmental statutes or regulations.

     (iii)   Consistency with the environmental rights and values secured by PA. CONST. art. I, §  27 and with the Commonwealth’s duties as trustee to conserve and maintain this Commonwealth’s public natural resources.

     (iv)   Present conditions and the effects of reasonably foreseeable future development within the area of the project, including wellhead protection areas.

 (e)  Issuance and conditions.

   (1)  Issuance of a construction permit authorizes only the construction or modifications included in the permit. The permit’s continuing validity is conditioned upon satisfaction of the provisions of the permit.

   (2)  The plans, specifications, reports and supporting documents submitted as part of the permit application become part of the permit.

   (3)  A permit authorizing construction or modification of water facilities shall expire within 2 years from the date of issuance unless substantial work is initiated. A permit may be renewed by the Department if the water supplier makes a written request for renewal prior to the expiration date.


   The provisions of this §  109.503 amended under section 4 of the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (35 P.S. §  721.4); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. §  510-20).


   The provisions of this §  109.503 adopted December 7, 1984, effective December 8, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 4479; amended May 15, 1992, effective May 16, 1992, 22 Pa.B. 2621; amended October 7, 1994, effective October 8, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 5175; amended December 23, 1994, effective December 24, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 6404; amended July 20, 2001, effective July 21, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 3895; amended August 9, 2002, effective August 10, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 3894; amended April 2, 2004, effective April 3, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1762; amended August 13, 2004, effective August 14, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 4435; amended May 22, 2009, effective May 23, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 2661; corrected August 29, 2009, effective August 1, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 5119; amended December 24, 2009, effective December 26, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 7279; amended August 17, 2018, effective August 18, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 4974; amended January 13, 2023, effective January 14, 2023, 53 Pa.B. 333. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (393292) to (393299).

Notes of Decision

   Challenge Untimely

   Private individual who only challenged issuance of operation permit that merely confirmed water authority’s use of hydrofluorosilicic acid to fluoridate city water as permitted in construction permit issued by Department of Environmental Protection, waived his right to challenge the use given that appeal period for challenge to construction permit had expired. Potratz v. Department of Environmental Protection, 897 A.2d 16 (Pa. Cmwlth 2006).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  109.501 (relating to general permit requirements); 25 Pa. Code §  109.502 (relating to permitting of currently operating systems; compliance deadlines); 25 Pa. Code §  109.505 (relating to requirements for noncommunity water systems); 25 Pa. Code §  109.506 (relating to emergency permits); 25 Pa. Code §  109.507 (relating to permits for innovative technology); 25 Pa. Code §  109.609 (relating to reserved capacity and finished water storage); 25 Pa. Code §  109.703 (relating to facilities operation); 25 Pa. Code §  109.712 (relating to control of POE devices); 25 Pa. Code §  109.1005 (relating to permit requirements); 25 Pa. Code §  109.1105 (relating to permit requirements); 25 Pa. Code §  109.1404 (relating to community and noncommunity water system permitting fees); and 52 Pa. Code §  3.501 (relating to certificate of public convenience as a water or wastewater collection, treatment and disposal supplier).

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