3745-7-03 Public water system classification and staffing requirements.

Each public water system or water treatment plant and distribution system within a public water system, except transient noncommunity public water systems serving populations of two hundred fifty or fewer, shall be classified in accordance with this rule. Said public water systems and water treatment plants shall be classified as a class A, I, II, III, or IV public water system or a class I or II distribution system and shall provide the minimum staffing required for that classification of system.

(A) Applicability.

(1) Public water systems or water treatment plants and distribution systems within a public water system shall be classified in accordance with this rule and shall be staffed in accordance with paragraph (C) of this rule by either an operator of record pursuant to paragraph (A)(1) of rule 3745-7-02 of the Administrative Code or a backup operator pursuant to paragraphs (C)(2)(d) , (C)(2)(e) and (C)(2)(f) of this rule.

(2) The owner of a public water system may request that the director reclassify the facility in accordance with the provisions of this rule at any time.

(B) Classification.

(1) A public water system or water treatment plant and distribution system within a public water system shall be classified in accordance with paragraphs (B)(2) to (B)(4) of this rule based on the approved design flow, degree of risk to public health or the environment, and the complexity of the treatment plant operation.

(a) The classification of a particular public water system or water treatment plant and distribution system within a public water system may change when there are system changes that affect the quality of the source, the complexity of treatment or the distribution system, the population served, or potential public health hazards.

(b) The director shall issue a certificate to each public water system indicating the classification of each water treatment plant and distribution system within the system. The owner shall display each certificate for public examination at the water treatment plant or principal office of the public water system.

(c) After a public water system or water treatment plant and distribution system within a public water system is classified in accordance with paragraph (A)(1) of this rule, if the director changes the classification, the owner of the public water system or water treatment plant shall have up to twelve months to meet the staffing requirements in paragraph (C) of this rule for the new classification.

(2) Distribution system.

(a) The director shall classify as a class I water distribution system:

(i) The distribution system of each public water system if the system serves a population of less than twenty-five thousand per day and is not part of a class A public water system as defined in paragraph (B)(3) of this rule; and

(ii) Each public water system that consists solely of a distribution system if the system serves a population of less than twenty-five thousand per day and is not part of a class A public water system as defined in paragraph (B)(3) of this rule.

(b) For distribution systems that are not classified as a class I water distribution system under paragraph (B)(2)(a) of this rule and are not part of a class A public water system as defined in paragraph (B)(3) of this rule, the director shall classify the distribution system of each public water system and each public water system that consists solely of a distribution system as a class II water distribution system.

(3) A public water system shall be classified as a class A public water system when the public water system meets all of the following criteria:

(a) Is a community or nontransient noncommunity public water system that serves a population of no more than two hundred fifty, or a transient noncommunity public water system that serves a population greater than two hundred fifty;

(b) Uses only purchased water or a ground water source;

(c) Does not provide precipitative softening or treat for a chemical contaminant with a maximum contaminant level as defined in rule 3745-81-01 of the Administrative Code; and

(d) Has no serious public health or environmental hazard associated with the operation of the public water system.

(4) Unless classified as a class A public water system according to paragraph (B)(3) of this rule, public water systems shall be classified according to the criteria in the following table:

Classification of class I, II, III, and IV public water systems

   System characteristics Design flow* Classification
1. Surface water treatment, excluding slow sand filtration More than 5.0 MGD Class IV
      5.0 MGD or less Class III
           
2. Slow sand filtration surface water treatment All Class II
           
3. Ground water treatment to remove any chemical contaminant with a maximum contaminant level (arsenic, nitrate, etc.) -or- precipitative softening ground water treatment More than 5.0 MGD Class III
      0.5 to 5.0 MGD Class II
      Less than 0.5 MGD Class I
           
4. Ground water treatment for any contaminant with a secondary maximum contaminant level # or that only involves adding a disinfectant, but in either case excluding precipitative softening ground water treatment More than 5.0 MGD Class III
      2.5 to 5.0 MGD Class II
      Less than 2.5 MGD Class I
5. Nontransient noncommunity groundwater treatment systems with a population > 250 and < 1,000 not meeting the above criteria. Not applicable Class I
           
6. Public water systems meeting the criteria of paragraphs (B)(3)(a) to (B)(3)(c) but not paragraph (B)(3)(d) of this rule Not applicable Class I

* MGD = Million gallons per day

# "Secondary maximum contaminant level" is as defined in rule 3745-82-01 of the Administrative Code.

(C) Staffing.

(1) An operator of record shall, at a minimum, be physically present at the public water system and fulfill the time requirements in the following table and perform technical operation as assigned by the owner of a public water system or their designee.

Minimum staffing requirements for an operator of record

System classification Staffing requirement
Class A without treatment or only treating with a cartridge filter At least 30 minutes per week.
Class A with treatment 2 days per week for a minimum of 1 hour per week.
Class I 3 days per week for a minimum of 1.5 hours per week.
Class II 5 days per week for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
Class III and IV 5 days per week for a minimum of 40 hours per week.

(2) Exceptions.

(a) An operator of record of a distribution system shall not be required to meet the minimum staffing requirements in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule.

(b) During periods when the public water system is not producing or treating water it shall not be necessary to meet the staffing requirements in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule.

(c) Upon application by the owner of the system using a form acceptable to the director, and the director's approval of the system operating plan described in paragraph (C)(2)(c)(i), the director shall reduce the minimum staffing requirement for the operator of record of a class II, III, or IV public water system to no less than five days a week for a minimum of ten hours per week. However, the director shall not grant a reduction to a public water system where an operator of record cannot respond to operational problems within one hour. Nor will the director grant a reduction to a public water system that has a history of noncompliance with maximum contaminant levels, treatment techniques, sampling, reporting, or any other violations related to the public water system; or a public water system under formal enforcement.

(i) Public water systems shall submit an operating plan for their system as part of the application for a staffing reduction. The operating plan shall include a description of the level of automation and continuous monitoring at the facility, a standard operating procedure for any such automation or continuous monitoring equipment, and a detailed operations schedule showing the number of operators, their certification level, and the number of hours spent at the public water system. The description of the continuous monitoring shall include a description of the calibration frequency, verification of calibration and records maintenance. Reductions in minimum staffing for the operator of record may be granted in accordance with the criteria in tables A and B below, either singly or in combination, based on the information provided in the system's operating plan. In no case shall a reduction of greater than thirty hours per week be granted for a class III or IV facility and ten hours per week for a class II facility.

Table A: Reductions in minimum operator of record staffing based on facility staffing levels

   Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 5 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 10 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 15 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 20 hours per week if:
Plant staffing at class III or IV water treatment plants There is another operator certified at a level no more than 2 classes below that of the public water system onsite at the water treatment plant 2 hours per day 5 days per week There is another operator certified at a level no more than 2 classes below that of the public water system onsite at the water treatment plant 4 hours per day 5 days per week There is another operator certified at a level no more than 2 classes below that of the public water system onsite at the water treatment plant 6 hours per day 5 days per week There is another operator certified at a level no more than 2 classes below that of the public water system onsite at the water treatment plant 8 hours per day 5 days per week
Plant staffing at class II water treatment plants There is a class I operator onsite at the water treatment plant 3 hours per day 5 days per week There is a class I operator onsite at the water treatment plant 4 hours per day 5 days per week Not applicable Not applicable

Table B: Reductions in minimum operator of record staffing based on level of automation or continuous monitoring

   Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 5 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 10 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 15 hours per week if: Operator of record staffing may be reduced by 20 hours per week if:
Automation or continuous monitoring at class II, III or IV plants The water treatment plant has supervisory control and data acquisition ("SCADA") for MCL and treatment technique monitoring ( turbidity, pH, flow, temperature, and chlorine residual, if applicable) The water treatment plant is automated with continuous monitoring The water treatment plant is automated with continuous monitoring; The water treatment plant must also have personnel onsite at the water treatment plant or an electronic notification system that notifies the operator of record when there are problems with the water treatment plant The water treatment plant is automated with continuous monitoring and an electronic notification system or certified operators on each shift that will notify the operator of record when there are problems with the water treatment plant; The water treatment plant must also have the ability to be operated remotely or have a certified operator respond within 30 minutes

(ii) Any change in the circumstances under which the reduction was approved will require that the system immediately return to compliance with the minimum staffing requirements in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule. This provision shall not preclude a public water system from submitting a modified operating plan.

(iii) For a system operating plan to receive director's approval under table B of this rule, continuous monitors shall be calibrated in accordance with manufacturer standards or applicable regulations, whichever is more stringent. Calibration verification shall be conducted at least once per week or in accordance with applicable regulations, whichever is more stringent. Records of the calibrations and verifications shall be maintained for three years.

(d) The operator of record of a class II, III, or IV public water system or class II water distribution system may be replaced by a backup operator with a certificate one classification lower than the public water system's classification for a period of up to thirty consecutive days. The use of this provision does not require notification to the agency. This provision may not be used to routinely circumvent minimum staffing requirements.

(e) Upon proper justification, such as military leave or long term illness, the director may authorize the replacement of the operator of record for a class II, III, or IV public water system or class II water distribution system by a backup operator with a certificate one classification lower than the facility for a period of greater than thirty consecutive days. Such requests shall be made in writing to the district office in which the system is located.

(f) If the designated operator of record is unable to meet the minimum staffing requirements at a class A or class I treatment works, then an operator with a certificate equal to or higher than the public water system may serve as the operator of record until such time as the designated operator of record is available. The provisions of paragraphs (C)(2)(d) and (C)(2)(e) of this rule shall apply to this backup operator.

(D) Additional staffing requirements.

(1) The operator of record of the public water system or backup operator authorized under paragraphs (C)(2)(d) , (C)(2)(e) and (C)(2)(f) of this rule shall be available during all periods of public water system operation.

(2) Daily visits to all public water systems classified in accordance with this rule shall be performed by the owner, supplier, or their representative or agent seven days per week and noted in the operational and maintenance records required by rule 3745-7-09 of the Administrative Code. Daily visits shall not be necessary when the public water system is not in operation.

(3) A limited class A operator holds a facility-specific certificate and may not operate any other facilities or transfer the certificate to a different facility.

(E) The classification of an operator of record, and the numbers of days per week and hours per week for staffing requirements specified in paragraph (C) of this rule are minimum requirements. In order to protect public health and welfare and based on specific circumstances at a public water system, the director may require a public water system to be operated by an operator of record with a higher classification than the minimum requirement, or may require one or more operator of record to visit a public water system or water treatment plant and distribution system within a public water system more frequently and for more hours per week than the minimums required by this rule.

Effective: 02/23/2012
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 11/30/2011 and 11/30/2016
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 6109.04
Rule Amplifies: 6109.04
Prior Effective Dates: 2/1/64, 4/17/86, 1/1/99, 2/12/01, 12/21/06