Field Services provides the primary on-site, face-to-face contact with the state’s Public Water System (PWS) owners and operators. Activities of Field Services staff includes performing Routine Sanitary Surveys (RSS), conducting potential well site inspections, assisting with engineering project final inspections, training public water system operators, providing technical assistance and assisting PWS during an emergency.
These activities are conducted by Drinking Water Field Representatives, responsible for eight field areas across the state. The field representatives are located in different regions throughout the state to provide timely assistance to Nebraska’s PWSs.
What is a Routine Sanitary Survey? (RSS)
An RSS is an on-site review of the water source, facilities, equipment, operation and maintenance of a PWSs for the purpose of evaluating the system’s adequacy and ability to reliably produce and distribute safe drinking water.
The RSS serves as an opportunity to work with PWS operators in an educational and preventative mode.
An RSS is conducted every three years for community and non-transient non-community PWSs, and once every five years for transient non-community PWSs.
Conducting sanitary surveys on a routine basis is an important element in preventing contamination of drinking water supplies, and they are crucial in helping water systems protect the health of the public they serve.
Well Siting Procedures
Every well should be located in such a manner to prevent contamination by any biological, chemical or radioactive source. The minimum recommended horizontal distances in feet separating the well from potential sources of contamination can be found in Title 179 Chapter 7. To ensure a well is properly sited, the Proposed Well Site Application (EE127) must be completed and submitted to the Department. The application will be forwarded to the appropriate field representative, and they will complete an on site evaluation of the proposed location.
Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)
In cooperation with Monitoring & Compliance, FS&T implements certain components of the RTCR.
Level 1 and Level 2 Assessments
The foundation of the RTCR is a proactive, “Find and Fix” approach to protecting public health. When water sample results confirm the presence of total coliform bacteria, PWS operators must conduct a Level 1 assessment of their system to identify and correct any potential issues. The Level 1 assessments are reviewed and approved by the FS&T program.
If a PWS has ongoing issues with total coliform bacteria, or an acute issue exists (E. coli contamination), a more detailed Level 2 assessment is conducted by FS&T personnel. A Level 2 assessment is similar in many ways to a routine sanitary survey.
Any defects identified in a Level 1 or 2 assessment must be corrected.
Sample Site Plans
Public water systems are required by the RTCR to develop a written water sample site plan, and collect total coliform samples according to that plan. All sample site plans are reviewed and approved by the FS&T program. Depending on the size of the PWS, one of the forms below should be used to develop a plan.