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DEP Seeks Feedback on Fee Package to Improve Safe Drinking Water

2017-09-05 08:43:12

DEP Implements Plan to Improve Drinking Water Quality Inspections
DEP requests public feedback on fee package as new Safe Drinking Water staff are hired
 
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced plans to expedite the filling of vacancies and the training of new staff to bolster program resources for the Safe Drinking Water (SDW) program.
 
“Ensuring that Pennsylvania’s drinking water is clean and safe to drink is one of the most important roles that DEP has,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP is using the resources we have at hand as well as the agency’s regulatory authority to address the shortfall in inspectors for the Safe Drinking Water program.”
 
DEP has already hired 2 new staff, with 4 additional vacancies currently in the process of being filled. DEP will also open a 30-day comment period on August 26, 2017 to solicit public feedback on a fee package for public water systems that would provide additional resources for the program.
 
“I’m pleased we are able to take a two-pronged approach at addressing these needs,” said McDonnell.
 
DEP proposed the fee package to the Environmental Quality Board in May 2017.  Through the fee package, new annual fees would be instituted for all public water systems based on the number of people they serve. In addition, the one-time permit fees for new water systems or modifications to existing systems would also be increased. The proceeds of the fees, once implemented, are expected to be approximately $7.5 million per year, and would go to the Safe Drinking Water Program. This would supplement the $7.7 million from the general fund and $12 million in funds from the EPA.
 
The comment period will close on September 25, 2017. Comments may be submitted using DEP’s eComment system, accessible at http://ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment. Written comments may also be submitted by email at eComment@pa.gov or mailed to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments submitted by fax will not be accepted.