Frequently Asked Questions

Public Water Supply General ▲ Back to Top

1. What are the main criteria used to determine if a system is a Public Water Supply System?

The system provides piped water for human consumption and has at least 10 service connections or regularly serves at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year.

2. How do I tell what type of Public Water Supply System I have?

Click here to see our flowchart.

3. How often is PWS required to measure the distribution system chlorine residual?

Daily and every time a bacteriological sample is collected at the sample site.

4. What are the minimum chlorine residual requirements in the distribution system?

0.2 mg/I “Free” chlorine or 1.0 mg/I “Combined” or Total Chlorine.

5. What is the minimum positive pressure requirements for the distribution system?

20 psi (pounds per square inch)

6. How long does a Public Water Supply System have to respond to significant deficiencies identified during a sanitary survey?

45 days.

7. What does KDHE recommend as the maximum annual percentage of water loss?

10% to 15%

8. Is there a list of amounts the KDHE Laboratory charges for each type of test it performs for Public Water Supply Systems?

Click here to view fees for analysis that are listed in Kansas Administration Regulation 28-14-2.

9. Are all Public Water Supply systems required to have a certified operator and where can we get more information about what is required?

Yes, all Public Water Supply systems are required to have a certified operator. Please visit the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification website for more information.

10. How long must a Public Water Supply system maintain records on bacteriological and chemical analysis results?

Bacteriological results must be maintained for 5 years. Chemical analysis must be maintained for 10 years.

11. Are we required to have an Emergency Operations Plan and if so, where can we find out what is required?

Yes, KAR 28-15-18 requires that all Public Water Supply systems develop emergency response plans. Click here to voew the guidance for developing these plans.

12. What should we do if our Public Water Supply has a major breakdown or loss of water service?

If the incident occurs during normal business hours, inform the KDHE District Office closet to your location or notify the Public Water Supply Section in Topeka. If the incident occurs after business hours, call the KDHE Environmental Emergency line at (785) 296-1679.

13. Where can I get my water tested if it smells or tastes bad?

KDHE’s Environmental Laboratory Improvements Office website lists accredited laboratories that comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

Plan Review and Permitting▲ Back to Top

1. What must be submitted to KDHE on behalf of a water supply system before it proceeds with constructing new infrastructure for transmission, treatment, storage, pumping and distribution or making modifications to existing infrastructure?

In general, plans, specifications and a public water supply permit application must be submitted to KDHE for review and approval prior to the start of construction. Depending on the scope of work to be completed, other information may also need to be provided to KDHE in order to complete the plan review.

2. What must be submitted to KDHE on behalf of a water supply system before it proceeds with developing new sources water or making modifications to existing sources of water?

In addition to plans, specifications and a public water supply permit application information pertaining to water quality, water rights, ownership or perpetual easement must also be provided for review prior to the start of construction. Depending on the scope of work to be completed, other information may also need to be provided to KDHE in order to complete the plan review.

3. What size paper are project plan sets to be printed on?

Project plan sets are to be printed on 11" x 17" paper.

4. Do we have to use a professional engineer licensed to practice in Kansas?

Subject to limited exceptions, the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions (KSBTP) requires the use of licensed professional engineers for services or work constituting the practice of engineering. Work products produced by a licensed professional engineer must be prepared and sealed according to the requirements of the KSBTP. Avoiding the use of a licensed professional engineer may compromise the technical requirements of a water supply design and may result in less than adequate facilities.

5. When does KDHE issue a public water supply permit?

Public water supply permits are issued by the Engineering and Permits upon receipt of a favorable post-construction final inspection report from the KDHE District Office in your area. The exception would be when the completion date and construction cost has been provided for a project that requires a permit but not a final inspection.

6. Are the ANSI/NSF 60 and 61 certifications really that important to water supply systems?

Yes. The certifications pertain to the safety of chemicals added to and the surfaces that come into contact with water in the production, storage, and delivery of potable water.

7. Does the Engineering and Permits Unit review and approve private/domestic wells?

No, only public water supply wells.

8. Is it okay to connect to another public water supply system without the connection first being approved by KDHE?

No. Connecting to another water supply systems constitutes the development of a new source of water which requires submittal of a plan review for approval.

9. Is a public water supply permit application always required for a waterline project?

No. A permit application is only required if the total length of all waterline to constructed, including service line, is equal to or greater than 1 mile in length. However, plans and specifications are always required regardless of the total length to be constructed.

10. What is the protective buffer distance for a public water supply well?

The minimum protective buffer distance is 100 ft. Greater distances may be required depending on how susceptible the well could be to neighboring activities.

11. What are the horizontal and vertical separation distances for waterlines and sanitary sewers?

Horizontal separation distance must be at least 10 ft as measured from edge to edge of the pipes. Vertical separation must be at least 2 ft (clear space) between the waterline and the sanitary sewer. Where a waterline crosses a pressure sewer line (sewer force main), there must be at least 2 ft vertical separation (clear space) at the crossing with the waterline always crossing above the pressure sewer line (sewer force main). The stated separation distances also apply to parallel runs and crossings, respectively, for water and sewer service lines.

12. Are horizontal and vertical separation distances for water service lines and sanitary sewers services lines the same for waterlines and sanitary sewers?

Yes.

13. What is the separation distance between a waterline and a sanitary sewer manhole?

Separation distance for a waterline (or water service line) is the same, 10 ft as measured from the outside of the pipe to the outside of the manhole.

14. Who can help with determining the proper disposal of wastewater from a water treatment facility?

Contact the Chief of the Engineering and Permits Unit for assistance with completing the KDHE waste stream summary review and disposal method consensus process.

15. Do I need a final inspection for changes made in infrastructure before placing them into operation?

Yes. Final inspections need to be coordinated with the reviewing engineer in the Engineering and Permits Unit and the KDHE District Office in your area.

16. Where can I get a copy of the minimum design standards for public water supply systems in Kansas?

The minimum design standards are on the KDHE website and can be downloaded as a single document or as a series of documents. The single document is large so it is important to verify that your system can download and store/print large documents. First click the Engineering and Permits button then click the button entitled “Minimum Design Standards for Public Water Supply.”

17. What is the contact information for the KDHE District Office in my area?

First go to the KDHE web page and then click on the hot link for “Environmental District Offices.” Then click on the county of interest in the regional map for KDHE district offices.

Consumer Confidence Report▲ Back to Top

1. How often and when is the CCR required to be distributed to our customers?

Reports of the provisions year’s information are required every year from community water supply systems. A copy of what was distributed/made available to the customers and the completed Certificate of Delivery is due to KDHE by July 1st of each year.

2. How long is a PWSS required to maintain copies of their CCR?

3 years.

3. When will the information be available that we need to complete our reports for the past year?

Mid-March of each year, KDHE prepares the CCR for all community water supply systems, and mails them out to the Administrative Contact listed for each water supply system.

4. What if I lose my Certificate of Delivery?

Click here for a Blank Certificate of Delivery.

Public Notification▲ Back to Top

1. How soon after learning of a violation must a PWS give public notification to its customers?

For Tier 1 violations (Acute MCL or treatment technique violations) within 24 hours.
For Tier 2 violations (monthly MCL violations under the TCR) within 30 days.
For Tier 3 violations (monitoring or reporting violations) within 12 months.

2. Can I distribute my public notices for a monitoring or maximum contaminant level (MCL) violations with my yearly Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR)?

Yes, if all required elements of the public notification are included in either the text of the CCR or an attached separate notice page AND a printed copy of the CCR and public notification are made available to all users of the water supply whether or not they have access to a computer. Please note that CCR notices may only be a secondary method for publicizing MCL violations that occurred in the previous calendar year.

Bacteriological Sampling▲ Back to Top

1. What is the monitoring period for bacteriological (Total Coliform Rule) compliance?

One calendar month.

2. What criteria are used to determine the minimum number of bacteriological samples a Public Water Supply System is required to collect each month?

Number of samples required depends upon water source type and population served. Click here to see our chart.

3. I missed my collection day. What do I do?

Please take your sample on the next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday that does not fall on or around a holiday.The sample must be collected within the scheduled month.

4. Can you test my well?

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment discontinued coliform testing of private well samples on August 1, 1989. Assuring the safety of private drinking water supplies really requires an assessment of the well location and construction as well as a site assessment for potential contaminants. For example, a poorly constructed well could be free of contaminants one day and then become highly contaminated the next after a heavy rainstorm washes contaminants into the well. A single sample is not a true indicator of the overall safety or purity of the water.

A list of private labs to sample well water or test for Cryptosporidium, or Giardia, can be found at www.kdheks.gov/envlab/disclaimer.html.

5. What about water supply address or personnel changes?

Make sure that you keep these up to date at all times. If there are any changes please make sure that the Public Water Supply Section is notified at (785) 296-6340. The lab prepares kits for mailing about 6 weeks ahead of the collection date, so it is very important that you update your information as soon as possible. You can also print off a PWS Contact Change Form and return it to:
  KDHE – Bureau of Water
  1000 SW Jackson St, Suite 420
  Topeka KS 66612-1367

6. How does the State Laboratory mail out the collection kits?

If your water system collects 6 or fewer routine samples per month, bottles are mailed from the KDHE lab to you via the US Post Office on or around the 15th of the previous month. If you collect 7 or more routine samples per month, they are mailed to you via UPS on or around the 20th of the previous month. Your kits should arrive to you around the 1st of the month in which you need to collect them.

If you do not receive your collection kits by the 10th of the month, call (785) 296-0971 for a replacement.

7. How do I handle collection kits that are delivered while I still have bottles to collect?

Pay close attention to the suggested collection date on the submission forms. Because the KDHE Laboratory sends the bottles out 10 -15 days ahead of the month due, they can arrive in the month previous to the collection date. If you collect this bottle before the designated collection month, you might have collected too many samples in one month and not enough the next month and you might be out of compliance for the next month.

8. What can I do if I have sent my sample, but forgot to fill out the collection form?

If the date, time, collection location or the collectors name is missing, we will call you one time using the number we have on file. We will leave a message with the clerk, secretary or answering service for you to call us. You will have until 12:00 (noon) the next day to return the call, or we will reject the sample and send you a replacement (Yellow - REPL card) kit for you to collect another sample.
If you realize that you left off information after sending your sample, you can call the lab at (785) 296-0971, and we can update your form when the sample arrives at the lab.

9. What if there is a small amount of liquid or white powder in the bottle? Is it safe to use?

Yes. Please do not rinse the bottle. The manufacturer adds sodium thiosulfate to each bottle prior to sterilization. Depending on the environmental conditions, the sodium thiosulfate could be liquid droplets or dry out and leave a powder. The sodium thiosulfate removes the chlorine from the sample and works in either liquid or powder form.

10. What should I do if the lid on the bottle is loose?

If the cap is loose but the safety seal is still intact, then the bottle should be OK! If the lid has fallen off, or you have a concern about the bottle integrity, then call (785) 296-0971 for a new bottle.

11. I had a positive sample and sent in a box of 3 repeat samples, and now I have another box of 3 samples, what are they for?

If you have Total Coliform or E. coli detected in a routine water sample:

The first box of 3 samples are “Repeat” samples. Look for the “RP” on the sample submission forms to the right of your account name at the top of the form.

The next set of samples are “Temporary Routine” samples. Look for the “TR RTOR” on the sample submission forms to the right of your account name at the top of the form. The Temporary Routine samples should be collected in the month following a positive sample. You must collect no fewer than 5 samples the month following a positive routine sample. The number of “TR RTOR” samples you receive is based on how many routine samples you normally collect each month. If you collect two routine samples a month, you will receive 3 "TR RTOR" samples to bring your total collections for the next month to five (5). If you collect three routine samples a month, you will receive 2 “TR RTOR” samples to bring your total collections for the next month to five (5), etc.

The Temporary Routine samples will be mailed on or around the first of the month they are to be collected. They can be collected anywhere on your site plan and collected as you would a routine sample. It is advised to collect them throughout the month on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday not preceding a holiday. They must all be returned to the lab by the end of the scheduled month. Failure to collect and return five routine samples in a month following a positive routine sample will result in a monitoring violation.

12. I collected my sample but forgot to mail it, or I know my sample will be too old. What should I do?

Please call the KDHE lab at 785-296-0971, and we will send a replacement if needed. We would like to have the affected bottle number(s) at the time of the call and the submission form(s) for our records, so we ask that you send those form(s) in with your next sample and its completed paperwork.

13. Where do I collect the replacement for my rejected sample?

You may collect it at any place on your registered site plan, but it is good practice to collect it at the original location.

14. How many repeat samples are required following a coliform-positive result and where are they to be collected?

Three repeat samples are required to be collected within 24 hours of learning of positive result if possible. One Repeat sample is required to be collected from the original coliform-positive site, one from within 5 service connections upstream of the original site, and one from within 5 service connections downstream of the original site.

Interim Enhanced & LT 1 ESWTR▲ Back to Top

1. What is the new turbidity requirement under the IESWTR and LT1 ESWTR?

0.3 NTU (95% of monthly measurements)
1 NTU (maximum)

Lead and Copper Sampling▲ Back to Top

1. What type systems have to take part in Lead and Copper Rule?

All community water systems and non-transient non-community water systems are subject to the Lead and Copper Rule requirements.

2. How is compliance determined?

Lead and copper analytical results are evaluated against an action level, not an MCL. The lead action level is exceeded if the concentration of lead in more than 10 percent of tap water samples collected during any monitoring period is greater than 0.015 mg/L (i.e., if the 90th percentile level lead level is greater than 0.015 mg/L). The copper action level is exceeded if the concentration of copper in more than 10 percent of tap water samples collected during any monitoring period conducted is greater than 1.3 mg/L (i.e., if the 90th percentile copper level is greater than 1.3 mg/L). All samples that meet the proper site selection and sample collection procedures are used to determine the 90th percentile calculation, even if you collect samples from more sites than required.

The 90th percentile is calculated separately for lead and copper.

3. How do I calculate the 90th percentile?

If you are required to collect more than five samples:
Step 1: Place lead results in ascending order (from lowest to highest value).
Step 2: Assign each sample a number, 1 for lowest value.
Step 3: Multiply the total number of samples by 0.9.
Step 4: Compare the 90th percentile level to the action level of 0.015 mg/L (can also be expressed as 15 parts per billion (ppb)). If your 90th percentile value is higher than 0.015 mg/L, you have an exceedance.

Repeat this procedure for copper sample results, except compare the 90th percentile copper level against its action level of 1.3 mg/L. If your 90th percentile value is greater than 1.3 mg/L, you have an exceedance.

If you are required to collect five samples:
Step 1: Place lead or copper results in ascending order.
Step 2: Take the average of the 4th and 5th highest sample. This is your 90th percentile level.
Step 3: Compare the 90th percentile level against the lead action level of 0.015 mg/L or copper action level of 1.3 mg/L.

You can also use this Excel spreadsheet, which will automatically calculate your 90th percentile once you enter your Lead and Copper results in the respective cells.

4. Who do I contact if I have not received my sample bottles or I need replacement bottles?

Contact KHEL (Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories) at: (785) 296-1620 and the Public Water Supply Section at: (785) 296-5514.

5. What do I do if I need to change a Lead and Copper sample location?

You may change sample locations if a sample site is deemed unacceptable for Lead/Copper sampling. This can include homes with whole system water softeners, a residence that has been unoccupied for a long period of time, or a location where homeowners are uncooperative. If a sample location needs to be changed, contact the Public Water Supply Section at: 785-296-5514. Also note a change on your Lead and Copper Sample Site Plan with a brief reason for the location change, and send it in to the Public Water Supply Section.

6. What is corrosion control? How will I know if my system must perform corrosion control?

Corrosion control is a set of corrective actions that may be required if the 90th percentile action level for either copper (1.3 mg/L) or lead (0.015 mg/L) is exceeded. KDHE will notify you via letter with requirements if your water system is subject to corrosion control.

7. I’ve sent in all my Lead/Copper samples. What do I do now?

Per Federal Regulation, water systems are required to notify homeowners that participated in Lead and Copper sampling of their residence’s results. KDHE has a template letter that water systems may use. After all participating homeowners are notified water systems are required to send a completed Certification of Delivery form to the Public Water Supply Section.

8. After sampling, how long do I have to send in the sample bottles?

After taking a Lead and Copper sample, you have 14 days to send in collected sample bottles.

Chemical Contaminant Sampling▲ Back to Top

1. My sample paperwork says to collect on a Sunday. Is this required?

No. KHEL’s database date stamps all sample paperwork with a Sunday collection date because it identifies Sunday as the first day of the week. The lab is suggesting you collect within the week following the Sunday date, not the Sunday itself. Please collect all samples as soon as you can and return them as instructed.

2. Where do I collect samples required under the Phase II/V Rules?

Excluding asbestos, all samples required under the Phase II/V Rules are collected from each point-of-entry to the distribution system, commonly referred to as a POE. The POE is a location after which raw water has been treated but before treated water has entered the distribution system. Each POE sample location should be marked by a metal tag stamped with an eight-digit identification number. The sample paperwork you receive from the lab will always specify the collection site.

3. What is the MCL for nitrate?

The nitrate MCL is different for community and non-community water systems. The MCL for community systems is 10 mg/L but for non-community systems is 20 mg/L. Non-community systems with a nitrate level above 10 mg/L are required to post public notice, but they do not incur a violation unless they exceed 20 mg/L.

4. My water system received a notice of violation letter. What do I do now?

You must notify your customers of the violation by distributing public notice. The envelope containing your notice of violation letter also contained the forms you need to fulfill this requirement. The paperwork you received includes a public notice template with some mandatory information already filled in for you, and a Certificate of Delivery. The public notice must be distributed as described in your letter. After you issue the notice, the Certificate of Delivery and a copy of the notice you distributed must be sent to KDHE within ten days.

5. Can you send me a copy of my sample results?

No. The Public Water Supply Section does not have access to KHEL reports. If you would like to request a copy of your sample results, please contact the lab at (785) 296-1620.

Radiological Sampling▲ Back to Top

1. Which types of PWSS have to sample their water for radiological contaminants?

Community Water Systems.

2. How often must our water be sampled for radiological contaminants?

At least once every six years, more frequently if contaminants are found above certain levels.

Stage 2 Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts▲ Back to Top

1. What systems have to take part in the Stage 2 Rule?

All community water systems and non transient non-community water systems that add disinfectant other than UV light, and transient non-community water systems that treat water with chlorine dioxide are subject to Stage 2 DBP Rule requirements. This also includes consecutive systems that deliver water treated with a disinfectant other than UV light.

2. How is compliance determined for DBPs?

Compliance for TTHM (Total Trihalomethanes) and HAA5 (Haloacetic Acids) is determined with MCLs (Maximum Contaminant Levels) using the calculated LRAA (Locational Running Annual Average). For an LRAA, an annual average is calculated at each monitoring site. MCLs for TTHM and HAA5 are 0.080 mg/L and 0.060 mg/L, respectively.

3. Why does my sample paperwork say to collect on a Sunday/or a holiday? Are we really supposed to collect on this day?

The sample date listed on lab paperwork is a suggested sample collection date. You have the entire month of your given sample month to take your DBP sample. Please note, though, that DBP samples must arrive at KHEL no later than Wednesday within the same sample week, with only 24 hours in transit. Samples therefore must be collected on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday in any given week of your sampling month. Also, samples must be completed within your assigned sampling month. Samples collected outside of your assigned sampling month are only allowed if operational procedures (such as a chlorine burnout) coincide with your sampling schedule and if KDHE is notified of these procedures before they occur.

4. What if I missed the sample date listed on the sample form from the lab?

You may sample on another day in your scheduled sample month. The sample date listed on lab paperwork is a suggested collection date. If you are unable to sample in your scheduled sampling month, contact the Public Water Supply Section at: 785-296-5514. If you miss sampling in your assigned sampling month, your water system may be subject to a Failure to Monitor violation.

5. What do I do if my system or the system I purchase from is performing a free chlorine burnout?

If the free chlorine burnout is occurring in or near your scheduled sampling month, contact the Public Water Supply Section so that we can adjust your sampling schedule. Please note that sampling during or closely after a chlorine burnout in either your system or a system that you purchase water from often result in very elevated DBP values that can cause your water system to invoke a DBP Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) violation.

6. Who do I contact if I have not received my sample bottles?

Contact KHEL (Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories) at: (785) 296-1620 and the Public Water Supply Section at: (785) 296-5514.

7. My samples were rejected. What do I do now, and how do I found out why they were rejected?

If your DBP samples are rejected, KHEL will automatically send your water system replacement bottles. If you have further questions regarding why your samples were rejected, contact KHEL (Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories) at: (785) 296-1620 and the Public Water Supply Section at: (785) 296-5514.

8. How do I get my water system on reduced monitoring for DBPs?

Systems may qualify for reduced monitoring if their LRAAs at all monitoring locations for TTHMs and HAA5 are no more than 0.040 mg/L and 0.030 mg/L, respectively. In addition, systems that are required to monitor for TOC must maintain annual average TOC levels of 4.0 mg/L or less in source water at each treatment plant in order to qualify.

Systems may remain on reduced monitoring as long as their quarterly LRAAs for TTHMs and HAA5 remain no more than 0.040 mg/L and 0.030 mg/L, respectively (for systems with quarterly reduced monitoring) or their TTHM and HAA5 samples are no higher than 0.060 mg/L and 0.045 mg/L, respectively (for systems with annual or less frequent monitoring).

If monitoring results indicate that a system is no longer eligible for reduced monitoring, the system must resume routine monitoring or begin increased monitoring the quarter immediately following the monitoring period in which the system exceeded the specified levels for reduced monitoring.

If your system qualifies for reduced monitoring, KDHE will notify you via mail.

9. What do I do if my sample bottle or cap is broken?

Contact KHEL (Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories) at: (785) 296-1620 and the Public Water Supply Section at: (785) 296-5514 so that we can get you a replacement bottle as soon as possible.

10. After I take my samples, how long do I have to get them to KHEL?

Samples may be taken on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, and sent into the lab by Wednesday within the same sample week. Samples also cannot be in transit for longer than 24 hours, as samples must remain cold to be valid.

11. Which systems have to test for TOC (DBP precursors), Bromate, and Chlorite/Chlorine Dioxide?

TOC: systems that use conventional filtration
Bromate: systems that use ozone as a disinfectant
Chlorite/Chlorine Dioxide: systems that use chlorine dioxide as a disinfectant

▲ Back to Top

BOW - PWS - Frequently Asked Questions