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ENGINEERING PLAN REVIEW OVERVIEW

The purpose of engineering plan review of a public water system is to verify the proposed system meets minimum engineering standards, associated State and Federal requirements, and will be able to operate within required drinking water quality regulations. The plan review process for a public water system consists of 2 major stages:

  • Construction Approval
  • Operation Approval

A plan review takes approximately 30 days but can vary greatly depending on office work load and completeness of the submittal. The following can help us provide the most efficient review possible for your project:

  • Contact us early in the process, and ask questions. It is harder to make design corrections for a project as it nears the end of the design process. Submit plans as far in advance as possible from the time you wish to start construction.
  • Use the submittal checklists and ensure the submittal is complete.
  • Identify, check, and verify all required separation distances (See 18 AAC 80.020) . This is the most common reason why projects are delayed. If a separation distance will affect your project, you need to verify it. If a separation distance waiver is needed it is most efficient to address it during the construction approval process to avoid project delays.
  • Maintain good communication between the engineer and the water system owner. The owner of the water system is ultimately responsible for making sure plans are submitted, assuring Department approvals are received, and keeping track of key project tasks and requirements; however, engineer consultants typically submit the information.
  • Obtain needed approvals prior to construction. It is much harder, and sometimes impossible, to address issues after a system is constructed.

Constructing or modifying a public water system without DEC approval violates state statutes and regulations, can result in enforcement action against the owner of a system, can result in an increased risk to public health, and can significantly delay a project.

Submittals are sent to the engineering supervisor/coordinator at the office covering the area served by the public water system. The Department encourages engineers and system owners and operators to contact local DEC engineering program techs (EPT) with plan review questions.

An approval must be obtained from the Department prior to constructing, modifying, and operating a public water system. A submittal for an approval to construct request includes engineering construction plans, project specifications, and design calculations. New community and non-transient non-community water systems must also show capacity to operate in compliance with state regulations. The DEC engineers use checklists to help evaluate the completeness of submitted plans. As necessary, the owner and their engineer will be contacted with a request for any additional information needed. After the Department’s review is complete, a letter issuing the construction approval and a copy of a construction and operation certificate with the Approval to Construct section signed is sent to the owner and their engineer.

Once a project is substantially constructed, interim approval to operate is requested by the registered engineer in responsible charge of construction to allow the system to operate on a temporary basis. This may allow time for the engineer to prepare all plan review items required for final approval to operate. After the Department’s review of the request is complete, a letter granting the approval and a copy of the Construction and Operation Certificate, with the Interim Approval to Operate section signed, will be sent to the owner and engineer. Typically, the following must be provided with the request:

  • Letter requesting interim approval to operate
  • Verification construction has been substantially completed as approved
  • Documentation that conditions of approval to construct were met
  • Results of any required tests (e.g. pressure or bacteriological tests)

Final approval to operate will be issued after the Department receives and reviews satisfactory documentation that all requirements and conditions specified in the approval to construct or interim approval to operate letter have been met. A third party sanitary survey or System Inventory Form completed by the registered design engineer and an Emergency Preparedness Compliance Certification will be required as part of the approval to operate for all new public water systems. After the Department’s review is complete, a letter granting the approval and a copy of the Construction and Operation Certificate, with the Final Approval to Operate section signed, will be sent to the owner. Typically, the following must be provided in the request if not previously submitted:

  • Letter requesting final approval to operate
  • Verification construction has been completed as approved
  • Justification for any construction changes to approved design
  • Documentation that conditions of approval to construct were met
  • Results of any required tests (e.g. pressure or bacteriological tests)
  • Set of as-built or record drawings

See Checklist Instructions for further plan review details.