Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) and Allegheny County Health Department
(ACHD) announced that effective February 1, 2018, DEP’s safe drinking
water program will resume inspection responsibilities for the 66 public
drinking water systems in Allegheny County.
Since the mid-1980s, implementation of the safe drinking water program
was shared between DEP and ACHD, with ACHD performing inspections and
DEP conducting permitting and major enforcement actions. Except for Erie
County restaurant water supply oversight, no other county health
departments in the state have retained inspection responsibilities for
public drinking water systems.
Now, through DEP-wide efforts to increase the number of sanitarians
responsible for inspections of public water systems, the Southwest
Region of DEP has the capacity to handle safe drinking water inspection
obligations in Allegheny County.
DEP has put in place additional staff assigned specifically to Allegheny
County. These additional staff will be supported by an existing team of
regional permitting, compliance, operations, and technical assistance
“DEP regularly evaluates current and past practices to best serve the
public,” said DEP Southwest Regional Director Ron Schwartz. “While this
is a change for drinking water systems in Allegheny County, this
decision reinforces our commitment to safe drinking water.”
“We’ve been talking about the possibility of transition for a long time,
and are happy to see that DEP now has the capacity to handle drinking
water inspections for the County,” said ACHD Director Karen Hacker.
“This allows ACHD to reallocate resources to other priority areas. We
will work with DEP to ensure a smooth transition.”
DEP has begun and will continue outreach to the regulated community,
which includes public water systems and laboratories. Detailed
explanations of what constitute public water systems can be found in the
2016 Pennsylvania Public Water System Compliance Report. ACHD and DEP will continue to work together to ensure a successful transition.
DEP’s cooperation with ACHD regarding sewage and waste compliance programs will continue.
Residents with questions about their public drinking water should
contact their water supplier or DEP’s Southwest Regional Office (24-hour
line: 412-442-4000) for permitting, compliance, technical assistance,
complaints, or emergency issues.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Fraley, 412-442-4203, and Ryan Scarpino, 412-578-8312