Section 5-1.78 - Public notifications

5-1.78 Public Notification

(a) General public notification requirements. Each owner or operator of a public water system must provide public notification for public health hazards, and for all MCL, MRDL, treatment technique, monitoring and testing procedure violations, and for other situations posing a risk to public health. Public notification requirements are divided into three tiers to take into account the seriousness of the violation or situation and any potential adverse health effects that may be involved. The form, manner, frequency, and other requirements for each tier are described in subdivisions (c)-(e) of this section. Section 5-1.52 table 13 of this Subpart lists the required public notification (Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3) for specific violations and other situations posing a risk to public health.

(1) Public water systems that sell or otherwise provide drinking water to other public systems (i.e. to consecutive systems) are required to give public notice to the owner or operator of the consecutive system; the consecutive system is responsible for providing public notification to the persons it serves.

(2) If a public water system can show that a violation in a portion of the distribution system is physically or hydraulically isolated from other parts of the distribution system, then with written permission from the State the system may limit the notice to only persons served by that portion of the system that is out of compliance.

(3) The public water system, within 10 days of completing the public notification requirements under this Subpart for the initial public notification and any repeat notices, must submit to the State a certification that it has fully complied with the public notification regulations. The public water system must include with this certification a representative copy of each type of notice distributed, published, posted, and made available to the persons served by the system and to the media. Copies of public notices and certificates issued pursuant to this paragraph must be kept by the supplier of water for three years after issuance.

(4) Public notification is required when a significant deficiency is identified at a public water system that is not required to prepare an annual water supply statement (report), as directed in sections 5-1.72 (e) and (f) of this subpart. If the water system has been notified by the State of a significant deficiency and it has not been corrected as directed or approved by the State, the system must notify its customers in a format prescribed or approved by the State. Notice must be provided if any significant deficiency has not been corrected within 12 months of State notification or as otherwise directed by the State. The system must continue to inform the public until the significant deficiency is corrected.

(b) Content, presentation, and standard language requirements for all public notifications.

(1) When a public water system has a violation or a situation posing a risk to public health, other than operating under a variance or exemption, the public notification must include the following elements:

(i) a description of the violation or situation, including the contaminant of concern, and (as applicable) the contaminant level;

(ii) when the violation or situation occurred;

(iii) any potential adverse health effects from the violation or situation, including the standard language under subparagraph (b)(4)(i) or (b)(4)(ii) of this section, whichever is applicable;

(iv) the population at risk, including subpopulations particularly vulnerable if exposed to the contaminant in their drinking water;

(v) whether alternative water supplies should be used;

(vi) what actions consumers should take, including when they should seek medical help, if known;

(vii) what the system is doing to correct the violation or situation;

(viii) when the water system expects to return to compliance;

(ix) the phone number of the water system owner, operator, or designee of the public water system as a source of additional information concerning the notice;

(x) the phone number of the county or district health department which has jurisdiction over the water system; and

(xi) a statement included in notices distributed by mail or direct delivery to encourage the notice recipient to distribute the public notice to other persons served, using the standard language under subparagraph (b)(4)(iii) of this section.

(2) When a public water system operates under a variance or exemption, each public notice must include the following elements:

(i) an explanation of the reasons for the variance or exemption;

(ii) the date on which the variance or exemption was issued;

(iii) a brief status report on the steps the system is taking to install treatment, find alternative sources of water, or otherwise comply with the terms and schedules of the variance or exemption; and

(iv) a notice of any opportunity for public input in the review of the variance or exemption.

(3) Notice presentation. Each public notice required by this section:

(i) must be displayed in a conspicuous way (where applicable);

(ii) must not contain overly technical language or very small print;

(iii) must not be formatted in a way that defeats the purpose of the notice;

(iv) must not contain language which nullifies the purpose of the notice; and

(v) must contain information for non-English speaking consumers, where appropriate. For systems serving a large proportion of non-English speaking consumers, as determined by the State, the notice must contain information prescribed by the State in the appropriate language(s) expressing the importance of the notice.

(4) Standard Language.

(i) Mandatory health effects language must be included in the notification for MCL and MRDL violations, treatment technique violations, and violations of the condition of a variance or exemption. The mandatory health effects language will be developed by the Department and provided to the supplier of water by the State.

(ii) Standard language for monitoring and testing procedure violations. Public water systems must include the following language in their notice, including the language necessary to fill in the blanks, for all monitoring and testing procedure violations listed in section 5-1.52 table 13: We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis. Results of regular monitoring are an indicator of whether or not your drinking water meets health standards. During (compliance period), we "did not monitor or test" or "did not complete all monitoring or testing" for (contaminant(s)), and therefore cannot be sure of the quality of your drinking water during that time.

(iii) Standard language to encourage distribution of the public notice to all persons served, when the notice is distributed by mail or direct delivery: Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

(iv) Standard language for repeated failure to conduct Cryptosporidium monitoring: We are required to monitor the source of your drinking water for Cryptosporidium. Results of the monitoring are to be used to determine whether water treatment at the (treatment plant name) is sufficient to adequately remove Cryptosporidium from your drinking water. We are required to complete this monitoring and make this determination by (required bin determination date). We “did not monitor or test” or “did not complete all monitoring or testing” on schedule, and therefore, we may not be able to determine by the required date what treatment modifications, if any, shall be made to ensure adequate Cryptosporidium removal. Missing this deadline may, in turn, jeopardize our ability to have the required treatment modifications, if any, completed by the deadline required, (date). For more information, please call (name of water system contact) of (name of water system) at (phone number).

(v) Standard language for failure to determine bin classification or mean Cryptosporidium level: We are required to monitor the source of your drinking water for Cryptosporidium in order to determine by (date) whether water treatment at the (treatment plant name) is sufficient to adequately remove Cryptosporidium from your drinking water. We have not made this determination by the required date. Our failure to do this may jeopardize our ability to have the required treatment modifications, if any, completed by the required deadline of (date). For more information, please call (name of water system contact) of (name of water system) at (phone number).

(c) Tier 1 notification requirements (public health hazards, as defined in subdivision 5-1.1(bz) of this Subpart, require Tier 1 notification). The supplier of water shall:

(1) provide public notification no later than 24 hours after the system learns of a public health hazard;

(2) initiate consultation with the State no later than 24 hours after the public water system learns of the public health hazard, and comply with any additional notification requirements established as a result of the consultation (including using additional forms of delivery for the initial notification, the duration of the posted notices, or any repeat notices);

(3) notify by telephone the chief administrative or elected official of the city, village or town, wherein the public water system is located, and the local law enforcement department having jurisdiction in the area served by the public water system, that a public health hazard exists. If there is a potential for the public health hazard to cross political boundaries, all potentially impacted chief administrative or elected officials and local law enforcement departments in the political subdivisions, served by the public water system, must also be notified; and

(4) provide the notice in a form and manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served (including residential, transient, and non-transient users) in the required time period. Water systems are to use one or more of the following forms of delivery:

(i) appropriate broadcast media (such as radio and television);

(ii) posting of the notice in conspicuous locations throughout the area served by the water system;

(iii) hand delivery of the notice to persons served by the water system; or

(iv) another delivery method approved in writing by the State.

(d) Tier 2 notification requirements (section 5-1.52 table 13 of this Subpart lists violations and situations that require Tier 2 notification).

(1) The supplier of water must provide public notification no later than 30 days after the system learns of a violation or situation that requires Tier 2 notification. If the public water system corrects the violation within 30 days, the State may allow additional time for the initial notice of up to three months from the date the system learns of the violation.

(2) The supplier of water must repeat the notice every three months as long as the violation or situation persists. If the public notice is posted, the notice must remain in place as long as the violation or situation persists, but in no case less than seven days.

(3) The supplier of water must provide the notice in a form and manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served in the required time period.

(i) Unless directed otherwise by the State in writing, community water systems must provide notice by: mail or other direct delivery to each customer receiving a bill, and to other service connections to which water is delivered by the public water system; and by any other method reasonably calculated to reach other persons regularly served by the system if they would not normally be reached by mail or direct delivery.

(ii) Unless directed otherwise by the State in writing, non-community water systems must provide notice by posting the notice in conspicuous locations, and by any other method(s) reasonably calculated to reach other persons served by the system if they would not normally be reached by posting.

(4) For the turbidity violations or exceedances specified in subparagraphs (i)-(iii) of this paragraph, the supplier of water must consult with the State no later than 24 hours after the public water system learns of the violation or exceedance to determine whether a Tier 1 notification is required to protect public health. When consultation does not take place within the 24 hour period, the water system must distribute a Tier 1 notification no later than 48 hours after the system learns of the violation or exceedance. Consultation with the State is required for:

(i) a violation of the two day average maximum allowable turbidity at the entry point pursuant to section 5-1.52 table 4 of this Subpart;

(ii) a violation resulting from a single exceedance of the maximum allowable turbidity for filter effluent pursuant to section 5-1.52 table 4A of this Subpart; and

(iii) a single raw water turbidity exceedance of 5 NTU for systems operating under the avoidance criteria in subdivision 5-1.30(c) of this Subpart.

(5) Consultation with the State is required within 24 hours after a ground water system or ground water source learns of any of the following:

(i) A fecal indicator positive sample from the source(s) as specified in section 5-1.52 table 6 of this subpart;

(ii) A significant deficiency that is considered to constitute a public health hazard; or

(iii) Failure of 4-log virus treatment by the water system that is not resolved within four hours.

The State will determine whether Tier 1 notification is required to protect public health. When consultation does not take place within the 24-hour period, the water system must distribute Tier 1 notification no later than 48 hours after the system learns of the violation or exceedance.

(6) For repeated failure to conduct Cryptosporidium monitoring, failure to determine bin classification, or failure to calculate mean Cryptosporidium, each notification shall also include a description of what the system is doing to correct the violation and when the system expects to return to compliance or resolve the situation.

(e) Tier 3 notification requirements (section 5-1.52 table 13 of this Subpart lists violations and situations that require Tier 3 notification).

(1) The supplier of water for community and non-transient noncommunity water systems must provide public notification no later than one year after the system learns of a violation or situation that requires Tier 3 notification. The supplier of water for transient noncommunity water systems must provide public notification no later than 30 days after the system learns of a violation or situation that requires Tier 3 notification. If the public water system operates seasonally, the public notification must also be provided before the system closes for the season.

(2) The supplier of water must repeat the notice annually for as long as the violation or situation persists. If the public notice is posted, the notice must remain in place as long as the violation or situation persists, but in no case less than seven days.

(3) The supplier of water may use a single public notice for multiple violations or situations that require Tier 3 notification, as long as the timing requirements of paragraph (1) of this subdivision are met. Community water systems may use the annual water supply statement (report) (see subdivisions 5-1.72(e) – (h) of this Subpart) to provide Tier 3 notification.

(4) The supplier of water must provide the initial notice and any repeat notices in a form and manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served in the required time period.

(i) Unless directed otherwise by the State in writing, community water systems must provide notice by: mail or other direct delivery to each customer receiving a bill, and to other service connections to which water is delivered by the public water system; and by any other method reasonably calculated to reach other persons served by the system if they would not normally be reached by mail or direct delivery.

(ii) Unless directed otherwise by the State in writing, non-community water systems must provide notice by posting the notice in conspicuous locations, and by any other method(s) reasonably calculated to reach other persons served by the system if they would not normally be reached by posting.

(f) Notice to new billing units or new customers. Community water systems must give a copy of the most recent public notice for any continuing violation, the existence of a variance or exemption, or other ongoing situations requiring a public notice to all new billing units or new customers prior to or at the time service begins.

(g) Information on unregulated contaminants. Nontransient noncommunity water systems that are required to monitor for contaminants listed in section 5-1.52 table 16, must post a notice that identifies a person and telephone number to contact for information on the monitoring results. The notice must be posted in conspicuous locations and no later than 12 months after the results are known.

(h) Notice by the State on behalf of the public water system. The State may make public notification if the State determines that the public's interest will be best served, or if the State determines that the supplier of water is not acting or cannot act in a timely manner. The State may charge and collect from the supplier of water the cost of making such notification. However, the supplier of water remains legally responsible for ensuring that the requirements of this section are met.

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Doc Status: 
Complete