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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau
Public Water System Permit to Operate

The Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau implements the New Hampshire Safe Drinking Water Act, which provides a comprehensive drinking water protection program for the state. To accomplish this goal, the Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau is required to monitor water quality at public water systems, provide technical assistance, review design proposals, periodically conduct inspections of PWSs, require PWS to comply with all relevant federal and state regulations, apprise the public of drinking water issues, and approve bottled water sources.

Purpose
The Permit to Operate is based on a fee system established in recognition of many services provided to PWSs. All fees paid are deposited into a restricted account and are used to pay the salaries, benefits and expenses of some Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau staff.

Applicability
Applies to privately-owned and federally-owned community water systems, and privately-owned and federally-owned non-transient non-community water systems, which are required to annually update certain general system information and obtain a permit to operate.

Statute and Administrative Rules
RSA 485 New Hampshire Safe Drinking Water Act/Public Water Supply Protection Program
(see sections RSA 485:3-a and RSA 485:41, VIII)
Env-Dw 501 Permit to Operate

Application
Applications are prepared and made available in May of each year on the DES OneStop website under Public Water Systems Search. Use the Public Water System query to view and verify application information. The signed application declaring that application information is complete and accurate and the appropriate fee must be returned to DES by June 30 of each year.

Fee
The annual fee for community systems is $10 per household or household equivalent, to a maximum of $300. The annual fee for non-transient and non-community systems is $150.

Processing Time
The Permit to Operate is typically issued within five business days after the Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau receives the signed application and fee payment.

Term/Renewal
The Permit to Operate is valid for the state fiscal year which runs from July 1 to June 30.

Modification/Amendments
Modifications to Permit to Operate information are made by contacting the Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau at dwgbinfo@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-3544.

Transferability
A Permit to Operate is transferable. If a water system changes ownership and the permit fee for the current year has not been paid, the new owner is required to pay the entire permit fee for the current year; however, nothing prevents the new owner from seeking reimbursement of the fee, on a prorated basis or otherwise, from the previous owner. The current Permit to Operate remains onsite with other PWS records when ownership changes. The former owner and new owner are both responsible to notify the Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau of ownership and personnel changes within ten days of such changes.

Appeals
Not applicable. The Permit to Operate is based on payment of a fee.

Status of Current Applications
Application status may be viewed on the DES OneStop website under Public Water Systems Search.
One search method is based on entering the EPA ID and clicking on Submit Query button at the bottom of the screen, then clicking on the report paper icon for the system Permit to Operate application and current permit.

More Information
The Permit to Operate fee must be paid separately from other fees owed to DES. Payment must accompany the signed application. The owner shall display the permit in a clearly visible location on the water system premises.

Contact Us
Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau or (603) 271-3544.




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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