The Drinking Water Program works to protect public health, safety and well-being by assuring a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. To achieve this goal, the Drinking Water Program provides the following services:
- Public water system approvals & compliance determinations.
- Individual and Private Group well and water system approvals and adequacy determinations.
- Investigation and assistance in correcting drinking water contamination and complaints.
- Technical assistance with groundwater (wellhead) protection, water quality, water system design standards, system operation and maintenance, abandoned wells and water conservation.
- Review of Short Plat and Subdivision Applications to ensure that an adequate water is provided.
- Review Commercial Project development to ensure wellhead areas are protected and an adequate water supply is provided.
- Issue Water System Sanitary Surveys for Public and Private Group Water Systems to ensure adequate water supply.
- Water Availability Verification (WAV) for building permits for structures that require potable (drinking) water.
The main focus of the Water Quality Program is to protect public healthy by identifying Skamania County surface waters impaired by bacterial contamination, prioritizing them for clean-up, and conducting pollution identification and correction projects to identify and correct sources of pollution (typically on-site sewage systems and animal waste). We also conduct lake swimming beach monitoring, respond to sewage spills and water quality complaints. For more information, contact us at (509) 427-3900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Public Water Systems
This section reviews what the SCCDD Environmental Health Division drinking water program responsibilities are for public water systems. The basic elements of a public water program include:
- What is a public water system?
- What is the Environmental Health Division's Authority?
- What services does the Drinking Water Program provide?
WHAT IS A PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM?
Public water systems supply water to nearly 50% of Skamania County residents. A public water system is defined as any water supply that has three or more connections, or serves 25 or more people/day 60 or more days/year. Additionally many systems that supply commercial uses (including food service establishments) may be classified as public water sources. If a water supply meets any of these criteria it is classified as a public system regardless of who owns the system.
THERE ARE TWO CLASSIFICATIONS OF PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS:
- Group B water systems serve anywhere from 3 to 14 connections. Skamania County does allow for an exemption for water systems with only two connections to qualify as a private 2-party shared well provided certain criteria are met. Details of the private 2-party shared well systems information may be found under SCC Section ___ (coming soon).
- Group A water systems serve 15 connection or more, or serve 25 or more people per day for 60 or more days per year or serve transient or commercial/industrial establishments.
WHAT IS THE DRINKING WATER PROGRAM'S AUTHORITY?
The SCCDD Environmental Health Division (Drinking Water Program) and the Washington State Department of Health Drinking Water Program (DOH) are partners in providing oversight of public water systems. In general the Environmental Health Division has primary authority over Group B water systems. The Environmental Health Division operates under a Joint Plan of Responsibilities (JPR) with DOH to provide plan review oversight of Group B water systems up to 14 connections and Sanitary Survey assistance up to 100 connections. DOH oversees all other public water systems with cooperation from SCCDD. The Drinking Water Program operates under several local and State rules and regulations. The authority of the program is described under RCW 19.27.097.
WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED FOR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS?
The Drinking Water Program provides several services to public water systems and Skamania County residents:
- Review of water system plans for new Group B water systems up to 14 connections to ensure compliance with design standards and that water quality and quantity requirements have been met;
- Track water systems for compliance with water sampling requirements;
- Provide technical assistance for water systems;
- Review water systems when requested for current compliance with regulatory requirements. This process is frequently completed during building permit reviews. Forms to request status of water systems are called "W.A.V.'s" (Water Availability Verification).
- Qualified Sanitary Surveyor (QSS) - Sanitary surveys of Group A systems.
Additionally, water systems are reviewed for adequate supply of water for Building Permits and Land Use Applications. A proposed water source may be either private water or public water.
Private Water Systems
Private water oversight by the Drinking Water Program primarily falls under 2 categories:
- Well Delegation from the Washington State Department of Ecology for Surface Seal Inspections and well decommissioning.
- Review of water adequacy for private individual and private 2-party water systems for Building Permits and Land Use Applications (W.A.V.).
The SCCDD was delegated by the Department of Ecology in accordance with RCW 18.104.043 the responsibility of inspections for well sealing, well decommissioning, and well tagging for all drinking water wells constructed or decommissioned in Skamania County. The drilling of wells in Skamania County typically falls under two categories New Wells or Replacement Wells.
Approval of new well associated with construction of a new home: In response to local code, before a building permit can be issued, proof of an adequate drinking water source is required. Both the proposed sewage disposal system and the proposed well location are required to be shown on the Building Permit Application Site Plan, which is submitted to SCCDD for their review. The SCCDD will confirm that all well setbacks will be maintained. An inspector from the SCCDD will conduct a site visit during drilling activities to confirm that appropriate methods for surface seal installation have been used. On March 17, 2009 the Board of County Commissioners directed the SCCDD staff to conduct well drilling inspections prior to permit approval within the National Scenic Area (NSA) or Critical Areas (CA) to ensure compliance with State well drilling laws and regulations. The property owner shall be notified of the requirements to submit an after-the-fact NSA or CA land use application of new wells within 30 days of notification of the permit requirements. If the well location cannot be mitigated to comply with the intent of the NSA or CA regulations, the well will be required to be decommissioned and any new well will have to be located outside of the area of avoidance.
New requirements for public and individual water supplies became effective April 1, 1999 and set procedures for the installation of replacement wells, as follows:
- The replacement source must be a drilled well. Any proposed water source other than a drilled well must be approved through a formal waiver process.
- Decommissioning of the existing source is required unless a waiver has been requested and must be done in accordance with Chapter 173-160 WAC, Minimum Standards for Construction and Maintenance of Wells.
A well report that describes the location, ownership, construction details and lithology of a completed well.
- Chapter 173-160 WAC, Minimum Standards for Construction and Maintenance of Wells
- Chapter 173-162 WAC, Regulation and Licensing of Wells - Contractors and Operators
- National Ground Water Association
- Washington State Ground Water Association
- Department of Ecology: Water Resources Program
- Department of Ecology: Water Right Information
- Department of Ecology: Well Construction and Licensing
- Department of Ecology: Well Drilling Information for Well Drillers
- Department of Ecology: Well Drilling Information for Property Owners
- Abandoned Water Wells can be lLfe Threatening