Follow-Up Guidance on Sampling During COVID-19 Emergency
Due to the current situation with COVID-19 and in response to questions that the Drinking Water Program (DWP) has received from water operators and public water systems, we are providing the following guidance on sampling:
- For larger public water systems:
- If you have routine bacteria sampling sites at nursing homes, schools, or other facilities that you may not have access to during this event, you can choose an alternative site. Your alternative site should be in the vicinity of your current site, and you will have to determine the appropriate recheck locations for that sample site. You will need to provide your DWP Inspector with an update to your plan. However, until further notice using an alternate location does not require pre-approval from DWP.
- For public water systems that are nursing homes, schools, or other facilities that are impacted by this event:
- If your samples are collected by a licensed water operator that is not onsite (e.g., a contract operator), you can have someone onsite collect your sample with the assistance of your licensed water operator by phone or other electronic means.
- If you are a contract operator and are not comfortable visiting one of your water systems or have been asked not to visit, please arrange to remotely review the sampling process with a representative of the system so they can collect and submit the samples properly on their own.
The Maine Drinking Water Program cannot change the federal rule requirements for collecting samples. This is the only way to ensure that your water is safe to drink. If you do not collect a sample in your compliance period, you will receive a failure to monitor violation, and be required to post notice. If you are on quarterly sampling and accrue monitoring violations, this may affect your sampling frequency.
The DWP will consult with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding these questions. As we receive more information and guidance, we will provide additional updates.