Noncommunity Public Water Supply

What is a Noncommunity Public Water System?

Picture of Gas StationNoncommunity public water systems are facilities such as schools, factories, restaurants, resorts, and churches that are served by their own supply of water (usually a well). These facilities are required to provide a safe and adequate supply of water under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Noncommunity water systems serve either a transient or a nontransient population. Picture of Manufacturing PlantA nontransient noncommunity public water system serves the same individuals every day (such as a school, daycare, or factory).

Picture of Hand PumpA transient noncommunity public water system serves different individuals each day (such as a restaurant, motel, or highway rest area).Because they serve different types of populations, there are different requirements for transient and nontransient public water systems. Currently, there are over 7,000 noncommunity public water systems in Minnesota (see the table below).

Noncommunity Water Systems in Minnesota
Public Water System Type
Number of Systems

Picture of Water TanksRole of the Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit

The MDH Noncommunity Water Supply Unit is responsible for assuring the compliance of noncommunity water systems with the SDWA. The Unit consists of field staff located in MDH's district offices and compliance staff located in St. Paul. 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 system for producing and distributing safe drinking water. Sanitary surveys for noncommunity water systems are conducted once every three years.
  • Sample Collection:
    Most required water samples are collected by MDH or local agency program staff. All noncommunity water supplies are tested at least annually for the total coliform bacteria and nitrate. Nontransient water systems are also tested for contaminants such as pesticides, solvents, and metals.
  • Technical Assistance:
    Field staff provides on-site technical assistance to noncommunity water systems in resolving contamination events and other water system problems.
  • Training and Education:
    Small Water System Operator's GuideThe Unit provides water supply training for MDH and local agency staff. Through a grant with the Minnesota Rural Water Association, training is also being provided free of charge for the operators of the nontransient noncommunity public water systems. A training manual has been developed specifically for the operators of these systems and is available electronically from MDH (click on the icon at right). Additionally, an informational newsletter is sent biannually to each noncommunity system.

Go to > top.

Updated Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 09:11AM