Public Notification


Public Notification Quick Reference Guide

Public notification helps to ensure that consumers will always know if there is a problem with their drinking water. These notices immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water (e.g., a boil water emergency). For less serious problems (e.g., a missed water test), water suppliers must notify consumers in a timely manner. Public notice requirements have always been a part of the Safe Drinking Water Act; EPA recently changed these requirements to make them even more effective.

Depending on the severity of the situation, water suppliers have from 24 hours to one year to notify their customers after a violation occurs. EPA specifies three categories, or tiers, of public notification. Depending on what tier a violation situation falls into, water systems have different amounts of time to distribute the notice and different ways to deliver the notice:

  • Tier 1 (Immediate Notice, Within 24 Hours): Any time a situation occurs where there is the potential for human health to be immediately impacted, water suppliers have 24 hours to notify people who may drink the water of the situation. Water suppliers must provide notice to their customers as soon as practical or within 24 hours via radio, TV, hand delivery, and/or posting. Water systems must also initiate consultation with the State within 24 hours. The State may establish additional notice requirements during consultation.


  • Tier 2 (Notice as Soon as Possible, Within 30 Days): Any time a water system provides water with levels of a contaminant that exceed EPA or state standards or that hasn't been treated properly, but that doesn't pose an immediate risk to human health, the water system must notify its customers as soon as possible, but within 30 days of the violation. Water systems must repeat notice every three months until the violation is resolved. CWSs: Notice via mail or direct delivery is required. NCWSs: Notice via posting, direct delivery, or mail is required. All PWSs must use additional delivery methods reasonably calculated to reach other consumers not notified by the first method.


  • Tier 3 (Annual Notice): When water systems violate a drinking water standard that does not have a direct impact on human health (for example, failing to take a required sample on time) the water supplier has up to a year to provide notice of this situation to its customers. The extra time gives water suppliers the opportunity to consolidate these notices and send them with annual water quality reports (consumer confidence reports). Water suppliers must provide notice to their customers within 12 months, repeated annually for unresolved violations. CWSs: Notice via mail or direct delivery is required. NCWSs: Notice via posting, direct delivery, or mail is required. All PWSs must use additional delivery methods reasonably calculated to reach other consumers not notified by the first method.

You are required to submit each type of notice used to reach your customers and a completed Certificate of Delivery to KDHE within 10 days or providing notice to your customers. A blank Certificate of Delivery can be accessed through the link below.

Public Notice Certification