Public Water Systems Emergency Preparedness Requirements

As of August 20, 2012 most Public Water Systems are now required to have one of two types of emergency plan in place. Which plan your water system must have will depend upon the size and type of population it serves. See the table below for the planning requirements.

Quick Reference Guide [PDF]

Requirements for Community Water Systems and Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems.

If serving a population of 1,000 or more persons:
  • Complete a Vulnerability Assessment (VA)
  • Complete an Emergency Response Plan
  • Update ERP Biennially
If serving a population of 999 or fewer persons:
  • Complete a Priority Measures Plan (PMP)
  • Update PMP Biennially

Requirements for Transient Non-Community Water Systems

If serving a population of 1,000 or more persons:
  • Complete a Priority Measures Plan (PMP)
  • Update PMP Biennially
If serving a population of 999 or fewer persons:
  • No Requirements


What do I need to turn in for my water system to comply with the rule?
System owners can download the certification form on this page. Make certain each required section of the plan is addressed, then sign the form and return to the Drinking Water Program.


What if I already have a written Emergency Response Plan for my water system?
If the plan addresses each required section, has been recently updated, and is available for review by a sanitary survey inspector, the system owner can certify it to the Drinking Water Program.

What if my system's population has grown to serve 1,000 people or more?
If a water system finds that their population served has grown to 1,000 or more, a VA/ERP must be certified by the due date of the biennial update.

What if the community has an emergency plan that includes the water system?
If each of the provisions that are required in the regulation according to the system's classification and population size, it has been recently updated, and it is familiar to staff, their plan can be certified using the proper certification form.

If an owner, operator or administrator oversees more than one system, can they certify multiple systems covered in one plan?
Emergency plans are site-specific so having the same plan for different systems in different locations is not recommended, although we recognize elements of the plan may be the same from one system to the next. Each system must be certified on its own certification form to be kept on file. There may be exceptions to this policy, and may be left to the discretion of the system's assigned EPS, security specialist, and supervisors.

When does a new system (first beginning operation after August 20, 2012) need to complete and certify their PMP or VA/ERP to the state?
A water system owner must submit a certification form, certifying that either the VA/ERP or PMP has been completed, no later than 60 days after receiving Interim or Final Approval to Operate, whichever comes first.

How can I find out what kind of system I have and what kind of plan I have to do?
Drinking Water Watch has system type and population information for every Public Water System in Alaska. Click here for Drinking Water Watch. You can also contact the Drinking Water Program directly at (907) 269-7656.

How much will this cost?
Since we encourage system owners to conduct their own VA and make an ERP or PMP, the only cost is time to do them. The Drinking Water Program has free templates to assist you.