Public Water Systems (PWS)

Public water systems (PWSs) are regulated by the Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (Ohio EPA DDAGW). Public water systems use either a ground water source, a surface water source or a ground water under the direct influence of surface water source. In Ohio, around 4,800 public water systems serve approximately 11 million people daily. Public water systems are required to monitor their water regularly for contaminants. Currently, more than 95 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards. When a system doesn't meet a standard, consumers are notified.


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Understanding Your Drinking Water

Drinking water plant sampling

In a typical community public water system, water is transported under pressure through a distribution network of buried pipes. Smaller pipes, called house service lines, are attached to the main water lines to bring water from the distribution network to your house.

In many community water systems, water pressure is provided by pumping water up into storage tanks that store water at higher elevations than the houses they serve. The force of gravity then "pushes" the water into your home when you turn on your tap.

Some water suppliers use treatment processes if it's necessary to remove contaminants from the drinking water. The most commonly used processes include filtration, flocculation, sedimentation and disinfection. If you want to know what types of treatment are used for your water supply, contact your local water supplier or public works department. 

More information about where your drinking water comes from is also available.

Types of Water Systems

A public water system is defined as a system that provides water for human consumption to at least 15 service connections or serves an average of at least 25 people for at least 60 days each year. This includes water used for drinking, food preparation, bathing, showering, tooth brushing and dishwashing. Public water systems range in size from large municipalities to small churches and restaurants relying on a single well.

  • Community water systems serve at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serve at least 25 year-round residents. Examples include cities, mobile home parks and nursing homes.

  • Non-transient, non-community systems serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. Examples include schools, hospitals and factories.

  • Transient non-community systems serve at least 25 different persons over 60 days per year.  Examples include campgrounds, restaurants and gas stations. In addition, drinking water systems associated with agricultural migrant labor camps, as defined by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, are regulated even though they may not meet the minimum number of people or service connections.

Private water systems are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health. Private water systems are households and small businesses that serve fewer than 25 people per day 60 days out of the year, and are thus not public water systems (e.g., small bed and breakfasts, small day cares and small churches).

The Multiple Barrier Approach to Protecting Public Health

U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA use a multiple barrier approach to defend against waterborne pathogens and chemical contaminants in drinking water. Protection against contaminants occurs at each step from source to tap, beginning in the watershed or aquifer recharge area, continuing at the treatment facility and extending through the distribution system.

Source Water Selection and Protection

Selection of the best source of water available is an important step in protecting against contamination. For surface water sources, this means locating and constructing water intakes to ensure little or no contamination. For ground water sources, this means constructing wells in appropriate locations, at appropriate depths and with approved construction methods (e.g., casing and grouting).

Source Water Assessment and Protection helps public waters systems understand where the drinking water comes from, how contaminants can get into the water supply and how to protect the water from contamination at the source. Ohio EPA completes source water assessments for every public water system. Each assessment includes:

  • Delineating (or mapping) the source water assessment area;
  • Conducting an inventory of potential sources of contamination in the delineated area;
  • Determining the susceptibility of the water supply to those contamination sources; and
  • Releasing the results of the determinations to the public.

The results of the assessment can be used to organize, develop and implement a source water protection plan.

System Design and Operation

Plan approval ensures that the system is well-engineered and constructed to reliably protect finished water from contamination. The type of treatment required depends on the physical, microbiological and chemical characteristics and the types of contaminants present in the source water. Also, storage facilities and distribution systems must have full circulation and avoid stagnant water conditions that might facilitate contamination.

Checking a box with a penSanitary surveys are routine inspections of public water systems to ensure proper construction and operation. The purpose of the sanitary survey is to evaluate and document the capabilities of a water system’s sources, treatment, storage, distribution network, operation and maintenance and overall management to continually provide safe drinking water and to identify any deficiencies that might adversely impact a public water system’s ability to meet applicable regulations and provide a safe reliable water supply.

Competent operating personnel are vitally important to the safety of drinking water. Ohio EPA's Operator Certification rules require that certain public water systems have a certified operator that is qualified to operate the system. To become a certified operator, a person must meet educational and experience requirements, pass an exam and maintain their certification through continuing education (contact hours).


U.S. EPA sets national limits on contaminant levels in drinking water to ensure that the water is safe for human consumption. These limits are known as maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). For some regulations, U.S. EPA has established treatment techniques in lieu of a MCL to control unacceptable levels of contaminants in water by measuring the level of treatment. To ensure drinking water safety, public water systems are required to test their water for contaminants on a regular basis. The tests must be conducted at laboratories that are certified to perform such testing.

Generally, the larger the population served by a water system, the more frequent the monitoring requirements. However, the frequency varies depending on which contaminant is being evaluated and the type of source water used by the public water system (e.g., surface water systems and systems that use ground water under the direct influence of surface water typically monitor more frequently than a ground water system).  Monitoring requirements also vary by public water system type, which is based on how long a person is likely to have access to the water. 

Typically, testing would be most limited at a church that people attend only once per week, more expanded at a school or office building, and most extensive in a village or city. This is because the health effects of some contaminants are acute, such as E. coli bacteria, meaning they have the potential to pose an immediate risk to health. Other health effects are chronic, meaning that adverse health effects may result if the contaminant is consumed over an extended period of time. Examples of contaminants with chronic effects include arsenic and lead. Some contaminants can aesthetically impact drinking water, meaning the effects are in appearance or odor. Examples of these contaminants include iron or sulfate.

Contaminants that may be tested for include:

  • Bacteria growth on plate in a laboratoryMicrobiological contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife
  • Inorganic contaminants (IOCs), such as salts and metals, which can occur naturally or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming
  • Synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs), such as pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, stormwater runoff and residential uses
  • Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), such as industrial chemicals and solvents, which can be byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems
  • Radiological contaminants (Rads), which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities
  • Disinfection byproducts (DBPs), which can form when disinfectants such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide or ozone react with organic and inorganic substances present in the raw water.

More detailed information on specific contaminants can be found in the Common Contaminant Information section of the 'Monitoring' tab.

Public Information

The majority of water testing shows that Ohio's drinking water meets standards. When water does not meet a standard, the public water system is required to inform its consumers of the results. Public notification is required to include a clear and understandable explanation of the nature of the violation, its potential adverse health effects, steps that the public water system is taking to correct the violation and the possibility for the need to obtain alternative water supplies during the violation. Notification is required within 24 hours for acute contaminants and within 30 days for chronic contaminants.

Additionally, all community public water systems are required to prepare a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) annually and distribute the report to their customers. The reports contain information on the community's drinking water, including the source of the water, the contaminants detected, the likely sources of detected contaminants, the health effects of contaminants when violations occur and the availability of source water assessments.

Finally, Ohio EPA’s Drinking Water Use Advisories page is available to help make water testing results for health-related contaminants more accessible to the public.

Additional Resources Include:


Action level: The concentration of lead or copper in water that may trigger requirements for corrosion control, source water treatment, lead service line replacement and public education. Compliance with an action level is based on multiple samples.

Human consumption: The ingestion or absorption of water or water vapor as the result of drinking, cooking, dishwashing, hand washing, bathing, showering or oral hygiene.

Maximum contaminant level (MCL): The maximum allowable level of a contaminant in public drinking water. Most often, compliance with an MCL is based on an average of multiple samples.

Maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL): The maximum allowable level of disinfectant in public drinking water. Most often, compliance with an MRDL is based on an average of multiple samples.

Milligrams per liter (mg/L): Milligrams of contaminant per liter of drinking water.

Public water system (PWS): A system that provides water for human consumption to an average of at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year, or has at least 15 service connections. This includes water used for drinking, food preparation, bathing, showering, tooth-brushing and dishwashing.

Community PWS: Serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents. Examples include cities, mobile home parks and nursing homes.

Non-transient, non-community PWS: Regularly serves at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. Examples include schools and businesses.

Transient, non-community PWS: Regularly serves at least 25 different persons over 60 days per year. Examples include restaurants and gas stations. 

Public water system identification number (PWSID): A unique identifier for each public water system.

Secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL): The advisable maximum allowable level of a contaminant in public drinking water.

Treatment technique: A method for treating water to achieve acceptable levels of contaminants in lieu of establishing a maximum contaminant level.

See Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-81-01 for additional definitions.

Public Drinking Water Use Advisories

Public water systems are required to monitor their water regularly for contaminants. Currently, more than 95 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards. When a system doesn't meet a standard, consumers are notified. Notifications may be in the form of signs or multimedia announcements. Advisories are also posted on the public drinking water advisories map.

Apparent Monitoring Violations

Ohio’s public water systems are required to monitor for a variety of contaminants on a regular basis, according to the system's monitoring schedule. When a public water system fails to monitor as required, Ohio EPA issues them a monitoring violation. Before issuing a violation to the system, Ohio EPA publishes a list of apparent monitoring violations, to give the system or the laboratory a final opportunity to submit sample results.

To view the list of systems that are on the current apparent violation list for missed monitoring, please click on the link below. This list contains the systems that do not have results submitted to Ohio EPA for the specified monitoring time period. Laboratories that have any of the missing results should submit the results to this office electronically as soon as possible in order to remove a system from the apparent violation list and prevent the system from receiving a violation letter. If you have any questions about this information, please contact the staff member indicated or call (614) 644-2752.

Ensure confidence in the quality of your water and save money by sampling on time. It costs an average of $25 for each total coliform sample and $20 for each nitrate sample. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, failing to sample for total coliform or nitrate will cost you $150 or more in penalties for each monitoring violation. Save a Dime. Sample on Time! 

To receive notifications by email, subscribe to the electronic mailing list.

Contaminant Group/Other Contact
Total Coliform Bacteria District Office
 Lead and Copper District Office
Nitrate/Nitrite Anne Speakman
Inorganic Chemicals (IOCs) Kathy Pinto
Arsenic Kathy Pinto
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) Emilie Eskridge
Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs) Emilie Eskridge
Radionuclides Kathy Pinto
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) Sara Starr
Asbestos  Kathy Pinto
 Consumer Confidence Report  Kathy Pinto / Anne Speakman


Consumer Confidence Reports

Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) must be prepared by community public water systems and distributed by July 1 annually. Public water systems that sell water to community public water systems must provide information that is necessary to complete their CCRs to the communities by April 1 annually. Please consult Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-96 for the rules associated with CCRs. 

CCR Template, Instructions and Forms

Tools and Calcualtors for Making a CCR Table

CCR Resources

CCR Electronic Delivery Options

Electronic delivery is one instrument that public water systems can use in order to meet the requirement to directly deliver their CCR to each customer.

For Electronic delivery the notification must reach all consumers and include:

  • A notice that the Consumer Confidence Report or Annual Water Quality Report is available
  • A direct link to the viewable CCR on the web page
  • A contact method to request a paper copy (i.e. a phone number)

Ohio EPA has updated our CCR Delivery Certification Form and our CCR Instructions to include electronic delivery information for this year.

For guidance on electronic delivery of CCRs, please click on the links below or see the CCR Instruction guide above for example language

CCR Contact Information

Questions About Consumer Confidence Reports?
By Email:

By Phone: (614)644-2752

Using ONLY ONE of the methods below, both your CCR and CCR Certification Form must be received no later than July 1 to:

Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters
Central Office
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Fax: (614)644-2909


Note: Do not send CCR information to the Ohio EPA District Office

CCR Table of Detected Contaminants

2018 CCR Table of Detected Contaminants for public water systems with a population of 500 are posted below. Tables are sorted by district office and then by PWS ID order. To find your draft CCR table, click on the appropriate district office and use CTRL+F to search for your water system by name or PWS ID number.

Disclaimer for Table of Detected Contaminants

The Table of Detected Contaminants provided by Ohio EPA is not intended to be complete or all inclusive. The tables are intended to assist public water systems with their data collection and consolidation efforts. Public water systems will need to verify and add additional information to ensure their Table of Detected Contaminants is complete as required by the Consumer Confidence Rule.

  • All tables must include chlorine. Please ensure chlorine is in the table and correct
  • Individual Lead results over 15ppb must be added to the table (i.e., If 2 samples are over 15ppb, at 22ppb and 28ppb, you must include both values in the table)
  • Surface Water Systems must include turbidity levels, the percentage meeting the standard, and total organic carbon (TOC)
  • For systems serving a population over 500, DBP values are not correct and must be recalculated.






Monitoring and Reporting

View monitoring schedules using the drop-down list below. The list will be updated whenever revised schedules are generated. If you have any questions regarding specific monitoring requirements, please contact one of the following staff at (614) 644-2752:

Current Monitoring Schedules

Archived Monitoring Schedules

Sample Collection Services List

This list contains labs and sampling services that can assist you with collecting and analyzing a water sample:

Certified Labs Lists

The following laboratories have been approved by Ohio EPA's Laboratory Certification program, which ensures laboratories​ are able to perform accurate testing using U.S. EPA approved Methods -

For more information about certified laboratories, please consult the laboratory certification page.

Common Contaminants - Descriptions and Fact Sheets

Total coliform bacteria are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other potentially-harmful bacteria may be present. If total coliform bacteria are present, the sample results will be "positive." "Negative" means total coliform bacteria are not present in the sample.

E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems. 

Nitrate is a chemical contained in fertilizer and human and animal wastes. Infants younger than six months who drink water containing high levels of nitrate could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die.  Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin. 

Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical. Some people who drink water containing high levels of arsenic over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory systems and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. 

Total trihalomethanes are byproducts formed as a result of disinfection. Some people who drink water containing high levels of trihalomethanes over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous systems and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. 

Haloacetic acids are byproducts formed as a result of disinfection. Some people who drink water containing high levels of haloacetic acids over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.  

Radionuclides are unstable forms of elements that break down over time and release radiation. Some people who drink water containing levels of radionuclides above the MCL may have an increased risk of having kidney damage or getting cancer. 

Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) are a variety of compounds composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen. They are used as solvents, degreasers, cleaning solutions, dry cleaning fluids and components of pesticides and plastics. Some people who drink water containing levels of VOCs above the MCL may have an increased risk of having organ damage, cancer or blood and nervous system disorders.

Reference Information

FaucetReduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act - FAQs

A list of frequently asked questions is now available to assist manufacturers, retailers, regulators and the general public in complying with and understanding the requirements of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The FAQs address the definition of lead free, the effective date, calculating lead content, third-party certification, product labeling, repair and replacement parts and exemptions.

Electronic Drinking Water Reporting (eDWR) and Paper Forms

Electronic Drinking Water ReportingResults of water samples are reported to Ohio EPA by public water systems and certified laboratories to demonstrate that the water meets health based standards. The Division of Drinking and Ground Waters has developed the electronic Drinking Water Reports (eDWR) program to assist in the reporting process. This program can be accessed through the Ohio EPA eBusiness Center, which is a secure portal for online business services. Please visit the eDWR web page for more information on reporting forms, submitting data and getting started with eDWR and the eBusiness Center. 

Please note that the eDWR web page also includes various paper forms related to lead and copper, LT-2, chemical SSRs, microbiological SSRs, etc. 

Join one of DDAGW's electronic mailing lists to receive updates on electronic reporting.

Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule

The Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule (Stage 2) was promulgated by U.S. EPA on Jan. 4, 2006, to provide increased protection for consumers against disinfection byproducts forming in the distribution system. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, the rule requires public water systems serving populations of 50,000 or more people to monitor at the locations and dates established during the Initial Distribution System Evaluation (IDSE).

The rule additionally requires all public water systems to develop and implement a sample monitoring plan for total trihalomethanes (TTHM) and five haloacetic acids (HAA5). The TTHM and HAA5 monitoring plans shall be maintained and a copy should be available for review by Ohio EPA and the public. Any distribution changes should be updated in the plan as soon as possible following the changes.

Public water systems completing an IDSE have already selected monitoring locations and dates. Public water systems not completing an IDSE, or ones that received an IDSE waiver, refer to the reference materials below to develop a sample monitoring plan:
Choose a Template below, specific to the source water type and population for your public water system:
Surface Water pop. 500-3,300 Surface Water or Ground Water pop. <500
Surface Water pop. 3,301-9,999 Ground Water pop. 500-9,999
Surface Water pop. 10,000-49,999 Ground Water pop. 10,000-99,999
Surface Water pop. 50,000-249,999 Ground Water pop. 100,000-499,999
Surface Water pop. 250,000-999,999 Ground Water pop. >500,000
Surface Water pop. 1,000,000-4,999,999


Operational Evaluation Level (OEL) Report

Ohio Adminstrative Code (OAC) Rule 3745-81-24(C) requires all public water systems monitoring for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) and Haloacetic Acids, five (HAA5) to meet Operational Evaluation Levels (OELs).

Operational Evaluation Levels are determined each monitoring location by summing the two previous quarters' results with twice the current quarters' result and dividing by four to determine an average. An Operational Evaluation Level exceedance occurs when this average exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for either TTHM (0.080 mg/L) or HAA5 (0.060 mg/L).

A public water system exceeding an Operational Evaluation Level at one or more locations in the distribution system shall submit a complete "Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Operational Evaluation Level Report" (Ohio EPA Form 5031) to the appropriate Ohio EPA district office within 90 days of notification of an Operational Evaluation Level exceedance.

In preparing Ohio EPA Form 5031, a public water system may wish to consult the Ohio EPA fact sheet or the U.S. EPA Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Operational Evaluation Guidance Manual for assistance. The document reference is EPA 815-R-08-018.

Asset management has many different definitions — in the end it boils down to getting the most out of your assets at the lowest cost to the system. In other words, a water system should be servicing assets frequently enough that they are doing what they are meant to, without spending more time or money than is necessary to achieve those results.

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 6109.24 requires all public water systems to implement an asset management program by Oct. 1, 2018. The Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-87 are the Asset Management Program rules that outline what is required to be in a public water system's program.  

To help water systems implement these requirements, Ohio EPA is offering interest-free Asset Management Planning loans. Nominations for these loans will be accepted at any time. The loan terms will be five years with up to $10,000 of principal forgiveness. Email Susan Schell or Emily Pohlmeyer or call (614) 644-2752 for questions or more information about the loans or asset management program requirements.

This webpage will be updated periodically with new information and training opportunities.

What to expect October 1

  • Development and implementation of asset management programs should be underway. 
  • Systems should be following legislative requirements outlined in ORC 6109.24 and proposed rules. 
  • Items included in ORC 6109.24, including but not limited to: 
    • an inventory and evaluation of all PWS assets;
    • an operation and maintenance program;
    • an emergency preparedness and contingency planning program which is already required for community water systems;
    • criteria and timeline for public water system infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement;
    • approved PWS capacity projections and PWS capital improvement planning; and
    • a long-term funding strategy.
  • DO NOT submit written documentation of your asset management program to Ohio EPA. They should be kept onsite and available for review.
  • Emergency preparedness and contingency plans and valve exercising programs will be early Ohio EPA priorities. Systems should prioritize efforts to revise and implement these programs, specifically:
    • Contingency plans should be reviewed and plans for required exercises in place.
    • A written valve exercising program should be in place and Ohio EPA has developed guidance to clarify expectations and requirements. 
    • Failure to have a contingency plan and written valve exercising program will be cited as a significant deficiency. 

What to expect when rules are in place

  • Ohio EPA will prioritize review of asset management programs and conduct screening for the following systems:
    • systems under enforcement; 
    • systems applying for a WSLRA loan; and
    • systems with obvious capability issues. 
  • For all systems, Ohio EPA’s sanitary surveys will include new questions about current status of system’s asset management programs. If response to those questions indicates potential deficiencies, additional follow up in the form of a capability screening will occur.
  • Capability screenings will be used to determine compliance with the asset management rules. A compliance schedule will be sent to the system to address any rule violations identified during the screening. 
  • An effective asset management program requires continual revision and refinement and Ohio EPA recognizes it will take time for implementation.

Key resources and guidance for small systems

  • Asset management templates for small community and non-community systems is available below. Templates include the minimum requirements of an asset management program and can be built upon to take into account system complexities. 
  • Valve exercising program guidance is available below.
  • Entities that operate a business or other function in addition to their water system only need to include financials regarding the operation of the water system.


Background and Basics

Asset management is one way to improve the capability of the state’s water systems and improve the quality of service they provide. Senate Bill 2 requires all public water systems to have an asset management program in place by Oct. 1, 2018.

To be effective, asset management programs must be dynamic and adequately funded. Levels of service and metrics will be used to ensure that the asset management program is being implemented. Ohio EPA will review the unique levels of service for each water system and, at the time of review, the water systems must show progress toward their levels of service. All water systems would also be required to track and maintain a defined set of metrics. Metrics would differ depending on the type of water system. Water systems should continue to improve on metrics each year.

The purpose of requiring an asset management program is to cut down on the number of disruptions in service due to lack of maintenance and planning. The asset management rules require that all public water systems have an asset management program. The rules include specificity on what is required in an asset management program.

The asset management program rules will require all public water systems to have a written asset management program available for on-site inspection; however, some water systems may be asked for a demonstration of their asset management program in more detail if they are seeking a loan, going through enforcement, or are otherwise struggling with capability issues.

To demonstrate managerial capability, the rules would call for the following information. Together these items can give a water system information they need to manage their system.

  • Documentation of ownership. The water system would need to know and provide proof of who the owner of the water system is.
  • Documentation of a certified operator. Information regarding the certified operator would need to be provided, such as documentation of continued training and staying in compliance with licensure.
  • Brief non-technical description of the water system. This would include information regarding the number of connections, number of customers, source type, etc. about the water system.
  • Operating plan. It should include a table of organization, description of job duties, and daily operating procedures.
  • Written procedures. Written procedures create consistency in similar situations and during hiring and retirement. Written procedures that are part of an asset management program include: security; use of system equipment; billing practices and revenue collections; and purchasing authority.
  • Inventory of external contacts. A list of external contacts, such as police, fire, electrician, chemical supplier, etc. will need to be included in an asset management program.
  • Internal contracting and purchasing procedures (routine and emergency). There should be written procedure for making regular purchases and another written procedure for making purchases during emergency situations.

Technical capability would be demonstrated with the following:

  • Map. Each system will need to have a map that includes line sizes, valves and hydrants.
  • Inventory of assets. Certain assets will be required to have in the inventory, while the depth of the inventory can be determined by the water system. Information regarding status, location, and age should be collected for each asset.
  • Evaluation of assets. Each asset on the inventory would have a condition assessment to help determine when it may need to be repaired or has reached the end of its useful life. Risk will need to be addressed as well.
  • Metrics. Pre-determined by the state, metrics are measures to be tracked and reported annually by the water system. Metrics will differ by type of water system. Some examples of these metrics include: operating ratio; operating cost to provide water per service connection; non-revenue water; maintenance tasks per year (planned vs unplanned) on vertical assets; breaks per 10 mile of distribution; and one additional customer service metric to be determined by the water system.
  • Operation and maintenance programs. Written programs that include testing and maintenance protocols and schedules. Written in enough detail that an operator unfamiliar with the system would be able to run it.
  • Approved capacity projections. The system will need documentation that they are running within their approved capacity. The documentation should also show trends of usage over several years.
  • Criteria and timeline for rehabilitation and replacement. The water system will have to develop and document the criteria they would use to determine when assets need to be repaired or replaced. They will then need to create a timeline of repair and replacement of assets using that criteria.
  • Capital improvement plan. The water system should include a capital improvement plan. This plan should incorporate information from the timeline of repairs and replacements. It should include project descriptions, why they are needed, how much they cost, and how they will be funded.

The third major component of the asset management program rules will be financial capability. The following will be required in an asset management program:

  • Pro-forma statements (five years previous and five years projected).
  • Income statement.
  • Balance sheet.
  • Statement of cash flow.
  • Amortization schedule for outstanding debt.
  • Capitalization terms of debt.
  • Current water rate ordinance and triennial water rate evaluation. This can be used by the water system to evaluate when and by how much rates should be raised.
  • Documentation of all customers billed per metered water usage. This information can be used by the system to see if any customers are not being billed and helping to determine non-revenue water.
  • Information demonstrating bond or credit rating. Documentation that they have a bond or credit rating to assess their likelihood to pay back debt.


Proposed Rulemaking Governing Asset Management

The Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (DDAGW) has proposed revisions to the rules in Chapters 3745-81, 3745-87, and 3745-92 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) to Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). The proposed amendments based in part on the new and amended language in sections 6109.02, 6109.08 and 6109.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ohio EPA will be holding a public hearing on the revised rules on September 27, 2018 at 10.30 a.m. at Ohio EPA Central office, Columbus, Ohio. Please see the public hearing notice, response to comments, proposed rule language and the Business Impact Analysis (Linked below) for information on the changes and how to submit comments/attend the hearing.


Ohio EPA


American Water Works Association (AWWA)

Rural Community Assistance Program

Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN)


Templates and Guidance


The following templates are subject to change and will be finalized after the rules become final.

  • Non-community Asset Management Template Version 1.0 (PDF) (Word)
  • Mobile Home Park/Homeowner’s Association Asset Management Template Version 1.0 (PDF) (Word)

Applicable Guidance

  • OPR-07-001: Asset Management Program - General Template Guidance
  • OPR-08-001: Asset Management Program - Small Community Guidance

Additional Resources for Public Water Suppliers 

Operator adjusting settings in a water treatment plant

Contact Information

For questions related to specific public water systems, please contact the local Ohio EPA District Office of the Division of Drinking and Ground Waters or contact the public water system directly.

Rules, Policies, Procedures and Guidance


Engineering and Plan Approval

Please see the Engineering webpage for the most current versions of these documents.

Information to Assist Small Public Water Systems


General Resources

Fluoridation Resources

Announcement for 2015: Funding is Available Through the Fluoridation Assistance Program

This program is available through the Ohio Department of Health and provides limited funds to reimburse communities for the start-up and maintenance of community water fluoridation. Water systems interested in applying for funding through the Fluoridation Assistance Program can access the program guidelines and application materials or visit the Ohio Department of Health website for more information.

License to Operate (LTO) 

In Ohio, most public water systems are required to obtain a license to operate (LTO) from Ohio EPA. The LTO indicates the public water system is approved by the Agency to supply drinking water to the public, and it must be prominently displayed at the facility. 

Public water systems with LTOs are required to apply for a license renewal by December 31 each year, unless instructed otherwise. The license renewal application must be submitted with the appropriate fee

Ohio EPA issues different licenses depending on the facilities' compliance with safe drinking water rules. Each type of license is color-coded (i.e., green, yellow or red) to represent the status of the system's license. 


Green LTO

A green license to operate means it was issued without any conditions. Most public water systems in Ohio receive green licenses.

Yellow LTO

A yellow license means it was issued to the public water system with conditions. Conditions usually require correction of violations of safe drinking water rules and may include conducting all required water quality monitoring, hiring a certified operator or paying an administrative fine. 

Red Sign

A red sign is issued to a public water system that is not licensed because its LTO renewal application was denied or its license was suspended or revoked. These actions are taken due to violations of safe drinking water rules. Public water systems with red signs are not permitted to provide water for human consumption.

Click here to view LTO enforcement actions in the eDocument System. For better search results, select “Permit” under Document Type and “Drinking Water” under Program. 

LTO Preapplication/Inventory Portal 

Public water systems are sent a preapplication each year. This allows the public water system to update their information including contacts, mailing address, population, and more. All preapplication changes are now made through the LTO preapplication portal. The division of Drinking and Groundwaters’ has developed an online application for public water system owners to update water system information. The application allows owners to update their contact information, including Owners, Administrative, financial and Operator of record contact information. Phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses. Water system information will be verified or updated. Information, such as, Population counts, service connections and Operator of records are available to update. 

The application will need to be accessed and updated by November of each year in order for our License to operate invoices to be accurate and mailed to the correct location. The application will provide a preliminary projection of your expected LTO fee for the year. 

The application will contain the certification statement for fulfilling the Asset Management and Contingency Plan requirements. 

Operator of Record information is displayed and the update form may be generated for signatures and hard copy submittal to the Operator Certification Unit in the division. 

Public Water System LTO Pre-Application demonstration video

Public Water System LTO Pre-Application Instructions

In order to access the application, you will follow this link to the agency’s Customer Support Center Ohio EPA Customer Support Center

Applicants have been sent a userid associated to their water systems. Your first step will be to re-set the password for your login. Once you have set your password and logged into the application, a list of your water system or systems will be displayed. Each PWS has a link to revise your information. If you have not received a userid, please contact Brian Tarver at or by phone at (614) 728-1740. 

LTO Invoices 

Note: 2020 Invoices will be available December 2019

Public water systems that have not paid for their 2019 LTO can find the 2019 invoice below. Public water systems can search the District Office PDF for their individual invoice. Your district office is determined by public water system county

To locate your individual invoice:

  • Select your district office
  • Scroll through invoices to locate your systems invoice or use Ctrl+F to find the invoice by name or PWS ID number. 

To print your invoice: 

  • Have your invoice in the screen 
  • Right click and select print or press the print button on the bottom of the pdf page 
  • In the print dialog box select “Current page” under Pages to Print. 

2019 LTO Invoices - CDO 
2019 LTO Invoices - NEDO 
2019 LTO Invoices - NWDO 
2019 LTO Invoices - SEDO 
2019 LTO Invoices - SWDO 

Payment Instructions 

*Please verify that you have the correct invoice for your public water system before making a payment* 

To pay by check: Invoices must be printed and signed to be mailed in with a check. Checks should be made out to “Treasurer State of Ohio”. Please follow instructions on the invoice for mailing. 

For online payment: Public water systems wishing to pay online can do so at Ohio EPA’s business Center. Instructions for online payment can be found here

LTO Fees 

A person applying for a license or license renewal to operate a public water system under Section 6109.21 of the Ohio Revised Code shall pay the appropriate fee at the time of application to the director. Any person who fails to pay the fee at that time shall pay an additional amount that equals 10 percent of the required fee. Fees shall be calculated according to the following schedules. 

Source: Ohio Revised Code 3745.11 

A public water system may determine how it will pay the total amount of the fee calculated, including the assessment of additional user fees that may be assessed on a volumetric basis. 

Community Water Systems

Number of Service Connections Fee Amount
Not more than 49 $112
50-99 $176
Number of Service Connections Avg. Cost Per Connection
100 to 2,499 $1.92
2,500 to 4,999 $1.48
5,000 to 7,499 $1.42
7,500 to 9,999 $1.34
10,000 to 14,999 $1.16
15,000 to 24,999 $1.10
25,000 to 49,999 $1.04
50,000 to 99,999 $0.92
100,000 to 149,999 $0.86
150,000 to 199,999 $0.80
200,000 or more $0.76


Non-Transient Non-Community Water System

Population Served Fee Amount
Fewer than 150 $112
150 to 299 $176
300 to 749 $384
750 to 1,499 $628
1,500 to 2,999 $1,268
3,000 to 7,499 $2,816
7,500 to 14,999 $5,510
15,000 to 22,499 $9,048
22,500 to 29,999 $12,430
30,000 or more $16,820


Transient Non-Community Water System

Number of Wells Supplying System Fee Amount
1 $112
2 $112
3 $176
4 $278
5 $568
System designated as
using a surface water source


“Service Connection” means the number of active or inactive pipes, goosenecks, pigtails, and any other fittings connecting a water main to any building outlet. “Population Served” means the total number of individuals having access to the water supply during a 24-hour period for at least 60 days during any calendar year. In the absence of a specific population count, that number shall be calculated at the rate of three individuals per service connection. 

“Number of Wells Supplying System” means those wells or sources that are physically connected to the plumbing system serving the public water system. A public water system designated as using a surface water source shall pay a fee of $792 or the amount calculated using the number of service connections or population served, whichever is higher. 

Source: Ohio Revised Code 3745.11