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Public Water Supply Assistance Program

What is the purpose of the Public Water Supply Assistance Program?

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission) recognizes the challenges facing smaller municipal water supply systems to keep abreast of current regulatory requirements. Since incomplete applications to the Commission often cause unnecessary delays in the review process and result in increased costs for the public water supplier, the Commission decided to implement an education and assistance program geared towards smaller public water supply systems.

Through a grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the Commission initiated the Public Water Supply Assistance Program (PWSAP) in 2012 to assist small municipal systems in meeting the Commission’s regulatory requirements. In addition to targeted system-specific assistance, the Commission is also providing general outreach and education on regulatory requirements and training on aquifer testing plan preparation. 

Who is eligible to receive assistance?

PWSAP offers targeted, system-specific assistance at no-cost for small municipal public water suppliers serving up to approximately 10,000 people that currently have approved Commission dockets expiring in the next five to eight years or who are seeking the addition of a new water source.

What types of assistance does the Commission provide?

The Commission assists participating systems in the areas of data collection methods, procedures related to the aquifer testing process, planning for renewal of expiring approvals, or adding new water supply sources. The Commission’s assistance may include:

What is new to the program?

Due to changes to the grant, the Commission is now able to use grant funds to reduce project review fees for eligible public water supply systems. For additional information, please contact the Commission at PWSAP@srbc.net

The Commission is hosting several upcoming workshops to provide guidance to small public water suppliers and their consultants. In the Spring of 2016, the Commission hosted two workshops on developing aquifer testing plans, groundwater withdrawal applications, and the submittal of these plans and applications to the Commission. In the Fall of 2016, the Commission will be hosting Water Resource Management Considerations for Public Water Supply Managers, on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at the Commission’s Conference Center in Harrisburg, PA. For additional information and to register, please visit http://mdw.srbc.net/pwsap/PWSAPRegistration.aspx.

How does a Pre-Drill Well Site Review provide assistance for the addition of new sources?

The Commission uses the pre-drill well site review process to assist in the selection of appropriate well sites. New source locations should be selected to enhance economic growth while affording appropriate protection to the environment and avoiding conflicts with other users. Through the PWSAP, Commission staff reviews potential well sites, providing guidance on groundwater availability, and potential impacts to surface water features and other ecological concerns, such as rare, threatened, or endangered species. The normal project review fee is waived for eligible participants and the Commission provides a discounted aquifer test plan review fee for well sites with a completed pre-drill well site review (see the Commission’s Regulatory Program Fee Schedule at for more information).

What are the limitations of PWSAP?

Through this program, Commission staff cannot complete withdrawal applications or aquifer testing plans for public water supply systems. A knowledgeable, competent consultant will be needed to prepare and submit an aquifer testing plan and an application. This program is not intended to replace or eliminate the need for appropriate consulting services, nor will Commission use the funds to cover consulting or contractor costs. 

For more information on the PWSAP or to be considered for assistance:

Contact SRBC: Brent Bauman, P.G., Hydrogeologist,
(717) 238-0423, ext. 1235.  Web Site: www.srbc.net/programs/pwsap.htm

bbauman@srbc.net