Pennsylvania DEP Implements Plan to Improve Drinking Water Quality Inspections

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced plans to expedite the filling of vacancies and the training of new staff to bolster program resources for the Safe Drinking Water (SDW) program.

“Ensuring that Pennsylvania’s drinking water is clean and safe to drink is one of the most important roles that DEP has,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP is using the resources we have at hand as well as the agency’s regulatory authority to address the shortfall in inspectors for the Safe Drinking Water program.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has already hired 2 new staff, with 4 additional vacancies currently in the process of being filled. The agency will also open a 30-day comment period on August 26, 2017 to solicit public feedback on a fee package for public water systems that would provide additional resources for the program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection proposed the fee package to the Environmental Quality Board in May 2017. Through the fee package, new annual fees would be instituted for all public water systems based on the number of people they serve. In addition, the one-time permit fees for new water systems or modifications to existing systems would also be increased. The proceeds of the fees, once implemented, are expected to be approximately $7.5 million per year, and would go to the Safe Drinking Water Program. This would supplement the $7.7 million from the general fund and $12 million in funds from the EPA.

The comment period will close on September 25, 2017. Comments may be submitted using the agency’s eComment system, accessible at Written comments may also be submitted by email at or mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments submitted by fax will not be accepted.

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