Frequently Asked Questions About
Community Public Water Supply Systems

The following is a list of commonly asked questions individuals have concerning Community Public Water Supply Systems. Most of the answers are based on information provided in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144, Minnesota Rules, chapter 4720 and 40 CFR 141 and 40 CFR 142.

What is a Community Public Water Supply?

Community public water supplies serve at least 26 persons or 15 service connections year-round, which includes municipalities, manufactured mobile home parks, etc. These systems are required to provide a safe and adequate supply of water under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Currently there are almost 1,000 community water supply systems in Minnesota (see below).

Community Water Supply Systems in Minnesota
Public Water System Type Number of Systems
Municipal 713
Nonmunicipal 241
TOTAL 954

Role of the Community Public Water Supply Unit: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Community Water Supply Unit is responsible for assuring the compliance of community water supply systems with the SDWA. The Unit consists of field staff located in MDH's district offices and compliance staff located in St. Paul.

Contact Information:

The activities of the Unit include:

  • Sanitary Surveys: A sanitary survey is an on-site review of the adequacy of the water source, facilities, equipment, operation and maintenance of a public water supply system for producing and distributing safe drinking water. Sanitary surveys for community water supply systems are conducted once every 18 months.
  • Sample Collection: Required water samples are collected by MDH or the public water supply. All community water supplies are tested for contaminants such as pesticides, solvents, and metals.
  • Technical Assistance: Field staff provides on-site technical assistance to community water supply systems in resolving contamination events and other water system problems.
  • Training and Education: Each community water supply is required to have at least one certified operator. MDH staff participate in water supply training throughout the state. Additionally, an informational newsletter is sent quarterly to each certified water operator.

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Who collects water samples at Community Public Water Supply Systems?

Required water samples are collected by the MDH or the public water supply. All community water supplies are tested for contaminants such as pesticides, solvents, and metals.

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What happens if a Community Public Water Supply System gets a “bad” water sample result?

If any of the samples collected from a community public water supply system show the presence of a contaminant above its health-based standard (called a maximum contaminant level or MCL), MDH will work with the system in resolving the contamination. Additional samples may be required to confirm the presence of the contaminant. If contamination is confirmed, the system is required to notify its users of the problem and it must take steps to correct the problem. Corrective actions may include repairs to the water system, disinfection of the water system, installation of treatment, or drilling a new well.

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Is a certified water operator needed at a Community Public Water Supply System?

Yes, at least one certified water operator is required at each community public water supply system. That operator must hold a certificate that is at least the same class as the system (e.g., a Class B system requires a Class B certificate).

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You can get more information on Community Public Water Supply Systems by contacting us at 651-201-4700.

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Updated Tuesday, 14-Jan-2014 10:20:10 CST