Fluoride Action Network

Washington state: Overview for new rulemaking & public comments

Source: Website: Washington state Department of Health | August 3rd, 2015

Online at WA Department of Health

Adopted Rules

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)

2015 Emergency Loan Program

Effective July 8, 2015, water systems are able to apply for emergency funding of up to $100,000 to cover emergency recovery activities. This emergency rule is in effect for 120 days. We are also starting rule making to make this a permanent part of the DWSRF program.

DWSRF program guidelines allow states to use funds from this program for emergency recovery activities according to established emergency funding procedures. Governor Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency on May 15, 2015. In addition to drought-related issues, we can anticipate potential wildfires.

We believe some water systems will have an emergency event for the construction, reconstruction, replacement, rehabilitation, temporary repair, or improvement necessary to continue or restore operation of a public water system that is in violation of health and safety standards due to an emergency.as defined above.

The emergency loan program ensures we are ready and able to award loans to water systems experiencing an emergency, so they can restore water service as quickly as possible.

More information is available on our DWSRF Emergency Loan Program website.

Current Rule-making Activities

FLUORIDATION of Drinking Water, WAC 246-290-460

Informal comment period August 3-31

The current rule requires water systems that fluoridate to maintain a concentration within a range of 0.8 to 1.3 milligrams per liter, monitor the concentration through sampling, and report analysis results to the Department of Health.

The State Board of Health is revising the rule based on the federal Department of Health & Human Services recommended single level of 0.7 milligrams per liter as optimal for fluoride in drinking water throughout the United States.

Currently, 51 Group A public water systems provide fluoridated water to its customers—over two million people. An additional 66 water systems receive water from fluoridating systems that serve an additional one million people.

We want your feedback on the draft rule (PDF) and are accepting informal comments August 3-31. Send your comments to FluoridationRuleComments@doh.wa.gov no later than August 31, 2015.

The draft rule doesn’t address the pros and cons of fluoridated drinking water—this is handled by our Oral Health Program and outside the scope of this rule revision.

More information about community water fluoridation is available on our Fluoride in Drinking Water website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have questions, contact Theresa Phillips, Rule Lead, at 360-236-3147.

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program (DWSRF)

Emergency Loan Program – Rule Revision to Begin

We are beginning rulemaking on the DWSRF rule, chapter 246-296 WAC. This rulemaking is to consider adopting eligibility and other requirements to address emergency funding.

The current rule does not address specific criteria to expedite loan approvals for public water systems that have experienced an emergency event. The goal is to award emergency loans so water systems can quickly recover from an emergency event and restore safe and reliable drinking water service to its customers.

More details can be found in our fact sheet and the initial notice for rulemaking.

For more information, contact Theresa Phillips, Rule Lead, at 360-236-3147.

Drinking Water Laboratory Certification, chapter 246-390 WAC

We are revising this rule to remove duplication of requirements with the Department of Ecology’s Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories, chapter 173-50 WAC.

Our rule no longer applies to the technical capability of a lab to perform drinking water analysis. The purpose of this revision is to add reporting requirements to ensure consistent, reliable reporting of data. Certified labs will be required to report data within a timeframe, and in a format specified in rule. We will also change the name of the chapter to Drinking Water Laboratory Data Reporting Rule to clarify its purpose.

We are evaluating feedback we received during an informal comment period on draft rule language changes and guidance on test panels for reporting analytical data. We will brief the State Board of Health in August 2015 to receive approval for a public hearing in April 2016.

For more information contact Theresa Phillips, Rule Lead, at 360-236-3147

Group A Public Water Supplies, chapter 246-290 WAC

On November 13, 2013, the State Board of Health (board) began rule making that adds two new topics to our current rule making for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR).

On February 25, 2014, the board withdrew and re-filed the pre-proposal statement CR-101 (PDF) to consider changes to planning and disinfection requirements, in addition to the RTCR.

Water System Planning

Some water systems must submit plan updates every six years to the department. For many of these systems the public health benefit may not justify the cost of these requirements.

The board will consider revising the planning requirements to:

  • Streamline the rule.
  • Provide clarity.
  • Improve consistency.
  • Reduce costs to systems.

The board will also consider greater flexibility in designating emergency sources for inclusion in the plan update that help improve reliability and better protect public health.


The current rule has varying disinfection methods and requirements that were adopted to meet the needs of systems with specific water quality issues while other methods were adopted to align with federal requirements. The board will consider improvements to the requirements on the triggers for specific disinfection methods and related monitoring and reporting requirements.

Federal Revised Total Coliform Rule

In February 2013, EPA adopted the RTCR to better address public health protection goals of the original 1989 federal Total Coliform Rule. These improvements provide more effective protection by reducing exposure to fecal contamination, and includes new requirements for:

  • Seasonal systems.
  • High-risk smaller systems.
  • Monitoring.
  • Assessments.
  • Corrective actions.
  • Changes to the fecal indicator from total coliform bacteria to E. coli.

Visit EPA’s website to learn more about the federal rule requirements (PDF), and view the draft assessments and corrective action manual (PDF), and a webinar (PDF) on the new requirements.

View our Group A Rule Development Timeline (PDF). We will post more information during this process as it becomes available.

For more information, contact Brad Burnham, Rules Coordinator, at 360-236-3158.

Contact Information

You can receive rule notices by email. Sign up now for the rule-making email list.

For more information about our rule making activities, or if you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact Brad Burnham, Rules Coordinator, at 360-236-3158.


Next Steps

The Department will evaluate comments and finalize the rule language in September, and begin drafting the analyses. The Board plans to hold a formal public hearing in March 2016.