Drinking Water Program

Approximately 86% of North Dakota's residents get their drinking water from public water systems.  A public water system is defined as one which has at least 15 service connections or serves at least 25 people on a regular basis.  Public water systems may be classified as "community" water systems or "non-community" water systems.  Community water systems are typically cities, mobile home parks, or rural water systems.  Non-community water systems may provide water to either a transient population (such as restaurants, campgrounds or truck stops) or a non-transient population (such as schools, manufacturing, or power plants).

The Drinking Water Program works with all public water systems in North Dakota (approximately 515) to ensure that they provide safe drinking water.  This is accomplished by monitoring contaminants, providing operator certification and training, conducting inspections of water and wastewater facilities, plans and specifications review, and technical assistance. 

The Drinking Water Program implements and regulates the standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) for drinking water quality under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  The SDWA establishes health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water.  The Drinking Water Program promotes compliance with the SDWA for public water systems through training sessions, on-site visits, the collection of water samples, and assistance with the development of water sampling schedules and sample site selection.  

Under the Drinking Water Program, fluoridation is monitored to ensure that optimum fluoride levels are provided for dental benefits.  Presently, approximately 530,000 people receive the benefits of fluoridated water.

Public education of drinking water quality is achieved through press releases, town meetings, and Consumer Confidence Reports that community water systems are required to publish annually.

Plans and specifications review ensures that all new or modified public water system facilities meet established state design criteria prior to construction.  Approximately 150 projects are reviewed on an annual basis.  These reviews help ensure that such facilities are capable of achieving desired public health objectives and can be properly operated and maintained.

The Operator Certification, Training, and Facility Inspections unit provides for: certification and classroom training of water and wastewater operators as required by state law; on-site, over-the-shoulder training of wastewater operators to assist them in maintaining compliance; and, inspections of drinking water and wastewater facilities to ensure proper operation and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.  The classroom training is conducted by staff from both the Municipal Facilities and Water Quality Divisions.  The classes are intended to benefit water and wastewater operators by covering a wide range of topics dealing with operations and regulatory issues.

The Drinking Water Program also provides technical assistance to individuals with private wells.