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Ground  Water  Rule  Factsheet: Public
Notification  and Special  Notice
Requirements  for  Noncommunity
Water Systems
WHAT is THE GROUND WATER RULE?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Ground Water Rule (GWR) on November
8, 2006. One goal of the GWR is to provide increased protection against microbial pathogens,
specifically bacterial and viral pathogens, in public water systems (PWSs) that use ground water (or
ground water systems [GWSs)). Instead of requiring disinfection for all ground water sources, the GWR
establishes a risk-targeted approach to identifying ground water sources that are susceptible to fecal
contamination. The GWR requires GWSs at risk of microbial contamination to take corrective action to
protect consumers from harmful bacteria and viruses. Notifying the public of potential risks is a key
element of this risk-targeted approach. Procedures for notifying the public differ depending on whether
a system is a community or a noncommunity water system (NCWS). This factsheet describes the GWR
notification requirements for  NCWSs.
 A system is a NCWS if it is a PWS that is not connected to 15 or more year-round residences or does not
 serve 25 or more persons in a residential setting on a year-round basis.1 A NCWS may be a transient non-
 community water system or a nontransient noncommunity water system.
WHY DOES THE GWR REQUIRE PUBLIC NOTIFICATION?	

The GWR addresses pathogens that can be found in GWSs and the steps that systems must take to
protect their customers. The GWR requires
NCWSs to make public notification (PN) for a
number of situations and violations related
to ground water.
                                     The GWR and the PN Rule
GWS are required to notify the public
because these and other circumstances can
present risks to public health.
WHAT TYPES OF NOTIFICATION ARE
REQUIRED BY THE GWR?
                        The PN Rule requires PWSs to give notice to persons served by
                        the water system for significant events, including violations of
                        national primary drinking water regulations (NPDWRs) and
                        waterborne emergencies.
                        The GWR amends the PN Rule by requiring notice for detection
                        of a fecal indicator in a ground water source sample, treatment
                        technique violations, and monitoring violations.
The type of notification required will differ depending on the severity of the situation or violation.
There are two general categories of notification required by the GWR for NCWSs:
      # Tierl, 2, or 3 PN
      # Special Notice
The state also has the authority to alter the designated tier of a certain violation or to require
additional or repeated notices.
1. Systems that do not fit these criteria are classified as community water systems (CWSs). For information on
requirements for CWSs, please see "Ground Water Rule Factsheet: Public Notification, CCR, and Special Notice
Requirements for Community Water Systems."

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WHAT TYPES OF SITUATIONS REQUIRE PUBLIC NOTIFICATION UNDER THE GWR?
The following table outlines the various situations or violations that require notification to the public
and the corresponding types of notification required.

Fecal indicator- positive ground water source sample1
Failure to take corrective action
Failure to maintain at least 4- log treatment of viruses
Failure to meet monitoring requirements
Uncorrected significant deficiency2
Notification Required
Tier 1 PN
Tier 2 PN
Tier 2 PN
Tier 3 PN
Special Notice
1 . Consecutive systems served by the ground water source must also notify the public.
2. Systems must continue to notify the public annually until the significant deficiency has been corrected.
#  Fecal indicator-positive ground water source samples are detected during 1) triggered source
   water monitoring, 2) additional source water monitoring (optional), or 3) assessment source water
   monitoring (if it is required by the state). (See "Ground Water Rule Factsheet: Monitoring
   Requirements" for more information.)
#  State requirements for corrective action can result from 1) the discovery of a significant
   deficiency or 2) a fecal indicator-positive source water sample.
#  Failure to maintain at least 4-log treatment of
   viruses occurs when a system is unable to correct
   system failures within 4 hours. This situation
   results in a treatment technique violation.
           Tiers of Public Notificatioi
#  Monitoring violations can result from failure to
   adhere to state requirements for 1) triggered
   source water monitoring, 2) additional source
   water monitoring, 3) assessment source water
   monitoring, or 4) compliance monitoring for
   systems that maintain 4-log treatment of viruses.
   (See "Ground  Water Rule Factsheet: Monitoring
   Requirements" for more information.)
#  Significant deficiencies are identified by the
   state during sanitary surveys and on other
   occasions.  (See "Ground Water Rule Factsheet:
   Sanitary Surveys" for more information.)

Situations requiring Tier 1 PN
Tier 1 (Immediate notice):
This tier is for violations and situations with
significant potential to have serious and immediate
adverse effects on human health as a result of short-
term exposure. Notice is required within 24 hours.
Tier 2 (Notice as soon as possible):
This tier is for other violations and situations with the
potential to have adverse effects on human health
that do not pose an immediate risk. Notice is
required within 30 days.

Tier 3 (Annual notice):
This tier is for all other violations and situations
requiring public notice not included in Tier 1 and Tier
2 or that do not have a direct impact on human
health. These violations are typically monitoring and
reporting violations. Notice is required within 12
months.
   A system is notified of a fecal indicator-positive ground water source sample (either a triggered
   source water monitoring sample, one of its five additional samples required by a positive triggered
   source water monitoring sample, or an assessment source water monitoring sample) that is not
   invalidated by the state.
   A system has a replacement source water sample that is fecal indicator-positive.

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Situations requiring Tier 2 PN
#  A system has a treatment technique (TT) violation under the GWR. TT violations result from:
   o  Failing to comply with or be on a compliance schedule for a state-approved corrective action
      plan within  720 days of being notified of a significant deficiency.
   o  Failing to comply with or be on a compliance schedule for a state-approved corrective action
      plan within  720 days of being notified of a fecal indicator-positive source water sample.
   o  Failing to maintain at least 4-log treatment of viruses for more than 4 hours.
Situations requiring Tier 3 PN
#  A GWS fails to meet GWR monitoring requirements if the system:
   o  Fails to conduct triggered source water monitoring within 24 hours of being notified of a total
      coliform-positive routine sample.
   o  Fails to collect five additional samples after a fecal indicator-positive triggered source water
      sample (unless the state requires corrective action).
   o  Fails to collect a replacement source water sample within 24 hours of being notified that a
      fecal indicator-positive sample has been invalidated by the state.
   o  Fails to conduct or follow the requirements for assessment source water monitoring as directed
      by the state for existing or new sources (coming into service after November 30, 2009).
#  A GWS fails to meet compliance monitoring requirements if the system:
   o  Fails to conduct monitoring to demonstrate compliance with 4-log  treatment requirements.
Situations requiring Special  Notice
#  Uncorrected significant deficiency.
   o  A system is unable to correct a significant deficiency within 1 year of being notified of the
      significant deficiency.
   o  The system must continue to notify the  public annually until the significant deficiency has been
      addressed.
   o  A state may direct a system to make special notice even if the significant deficiency has been
      corrected.
                           What must be included in a Special Notice?
   The nature of the significant deficiency.
   The date the significant deficiency was identified by the state.
   For each significant deficiency, the state-approved plan and schedule for correction, including interim measures,
   progress to date, and any interim measures completed.
   For GWSs with large populations of non-English speaking consumers, information on the importance of the notice
   in the appropriate language(s), as determined by the state.

WHAT ARE THE NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS?	
Each category of notification has different requirements. NCWSs may use a variety of delivery methods
as long as these methods have been approved by the state and are used to reach as many consumers as
possible. The following table describes the GWR notification requirements.

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                                  Notification Requirements
  Notice  Deadline for  Repeated   Consultation with the
           initial
           notice
Notices1
                                          Delivery Methods3
Tier 1 PN
Tier 2 PN
Tier 3 PN
Special
Notice
24 hours
30 days
1 year4
1 year
As dictated by
the state
Every 3
months
Annually
Annually
Within 24 hours
Within 48 hours
As soon as is practical/
possible
As soon as is practical/
possible
# Broadcast media (radio or television), hand
delivery, posting, or any other method as needed to
reach as many consumers as possible.
# Posting, hand delivery, or mail, or any other method
as needed to reach as many consumers as possible.
# Posting, hand delivery, mail or any other method as
needed to reach as many consumers as possible.
# Posting, hand delivery, mail or any other method as
needed to reach as many consumers as possible.
1 . Repeated notices are required if the violation or situation persists, unless otherwise directed by the primacy agency. Posted
notices must remain posted and may need periodic updating.
2. Systems are required to send a copy of the PN to the state within 10 days of the notification. Systems must also keep
documentation of public notices as required under  141 .403(a)(7) for a period of not less than 3 years.
3. Primacy agencies may approve other methods.
4. EPA recommends consolidating all Tier 3 notifications required within a given year into one notice as long as the notice is issued
within 12 months of the earliest violation.
WHAT is THE STATE'S ROLE IN GWR NOTIFICATION?
State primacy agencies can serve as a valuable resource for helping systems maintain compliance with
the GWR. States also have authority to determine the appropriate notification requirements for a GWS
following a situation or violation. Under the GWR, states must:
#  Be available to consult with GWSs after a significant deficiency has been identified or a fecal
   indicator-positive sample has been detected. (However, GWSs must still notify the public by the
   required deadline even if consultation has not occurred.)
#  Determine the appropriate method(s) for NCWSs to inform the public of uncorrected significant
   deficiencies in their Special Notices.
#  Approve notification processes for noncommunity water systems.
Under this rule states can:
#  Require a more stringent PN tier (e.g. Tier 1 instead of Tier 2) for certain violations if it is deemed
   necessary to protect public health.
#  Invalidate a positive ground water source sample if it is determined that the sample is not related
   to source water quality (thus, not requiring notification unless an additional sample is positive).
#  Require systems to distribute additional notices if it is deemed necessary.

ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE MATERIALS	

The following guidance materials for states and PWSs have been released or will be released in 2008:

Ground Water Rule: A Quick Reference Guide - This guide provides a description of the GWR and
includes critical deadlines and requirements.
www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.
Ground Water Rule Factsheets - Including factsheets on GWR general requirements, monitoring
requirements, and Public Notice, Consumer Confidence Reports, and Special Notices.

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Ground Water Sanitary Survey Guidance Manual. November 2007. EPA 815-D-07-006 - This guidance
provides states, tribes, and other primacy agencies with a brief review of the sanitary survey regulatory
provisions, give examples of what may constitute a significant deficiency, and provide a checklist of
elements that should be evaluated during the course of a sanitary survey inspection.
www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.

Source Water Assessment Guidance Manual. September 2007. EPA 815-R-07-023 - This guidance
provides states, tribes, and other primacy agencies with a brief review of hydrogeologic sensitivity
assessments, an overview of the characteristics of a sensitive aquifer, information about how source
water assessments may be used, and information about how to determine if a sensitive aquifer has a
hydrogeologic barrier, www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.

Ground Water Rule  Source Water Monitoring Methods Guidance Manual. July 2007. EPA 815-R-07-
019 - This guidance  provides GWSs,  states, tribes, and other primacy agencies with a brief review of
the source water monitoring provisions. Primacy agencies may select fecal indicators (e.g., E. coli,
enterococci, coliphage) that systems would be required to test for in the ground water source sample.
The source water monitoring guidance manual provides criteria to assist primacy agencies in their
determination of which fecal indicator(s) may be most appropriate.
www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.

Corrective Action Guidance Manual (under development) - This guidance  will  provide states, tribes,
other primacy agencies and GWSs with an overview of the treatment technique  requirements of the
GWR. The guidance manual will provide assistance with determining the information that should be
included in a system's corrective action plan.

Consecutive System Guide for the Ground Water Rule. July 2007. EPA 815-R-07-020 - This guidance
describes the regulatory requirements of the GWR that apply to wholesale GWSs and the  consecutive
systems that receive and distribute that ground water supply.
www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.

Complying with the Ground Water  Rule:  Small Entity Compliance Guide: One of the Simple Tools for
Effective Performance (STEP) Guide Series. July 2007. EPA 815-R-07-018 - This document is
intended  to be an official compliance guide to the GWR for small PWSs, as required by the Small
Business Regulatory  Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This guide contains a general introduction and
background for the GWR, describes the specific requirements of the GWR and provides information on
how to comply with  those requirements, www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/gwr/compliancehelp.html.
For additional information, please contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, or
visit www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/gwr.
Office of Water (4606M)     EPA 816-F-08-030         www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/gwr            June 2008

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