General Authority

The public expects and deserves a safe and adequate supply of drinking water. To meet these expectations, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 (since amended in 1986 and 1996) to provide national standards for drinking water. The SDWA provides funding for state agencies to implement and enforce these national standards. To retain primacy a state must adopt drinking water quality standards that are at least as stringent as the National Primacy Drinking Water Regulations. In addition, there are state requirements regarding facility operations, design and construction, emergency response, source protection, public notification, and realty subdivision and individual water and wastewater facilities. The department's authority to assure the safety of drinking water stems from the Public Health Law; Sections 201 (1), 201 (1)(1), 225 (5), 1100-1107, and 1120 and Chapter 413 of the Laws of 1996 (Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act) as well as the federal Safe Drinking Water Act for which the department has primacy for implementation and enforcement.