State Small Water Systems

State Small Water System (SSWS) means a system for the provision of piped water to the public for human consumption that serves at least five, but no more than 14, service connections and does not regularly serve drinking water to more than an average of 25 individuals daily for more than 60 days out of the year.

Per the California Safe Drinking Water Act, every resident of California has the right to pure and safe drinking water. The State Small Water System program is established to prevent waterborne disease in water wells and surface water through permitting, inspection and regulation of state small water systems and to ensure that only potable water is provided to water system users.

The purpose of this program is to protect public health and prevent disease by assuring that SSWSs provide safe potable water by verifying compliance with applicable State laws, codes, regulations and local ordinances. 

State Small Water Systems located within Sierra County are required to obtain a permit to operate from Environmental Health pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code §116275 and California Code of Regulations Titles 17 & 22.

To obtain a SSWS permit, please submit the following:

  1. Application
  2. Emergency Notification Plan
  3. Bacteriological and chemical quality monitoring (source water) as specified in the table below
  4. Annual Fee

All documentation will be reviewed and a field inspection of the system will be conducted by our office. Upon final approval a permit to operate will be issued.

Water System Fees

Service Service Charge & Fee
State Small Water System Annual Permit Fee (5-14 connections) $ 140.00
Water System Sanitary Survey, Inspection, or Plan Review (as needed) $ 91.00/hr

Operating Under Permit

Each SSWS shall provide the following notice to the consumer served by the system:

"The domestic water supply for this area is provided by a state small water system. State regulatory requirements for operation of a state small water system are less extensive than requirements for larger public water systems. If you have questions concerning your water supply, you should contact [insert: (1) name of water system, (2) name of responsible person, and (3) telephone number] or your local health department."

This notice shall be by direct mail delivery on an annual basis or by continuous posting at a central location within the area served by the SSWS.

Bacteriological and Chemical Quality Monitoring

Each SSWS shall sample water according to the following table:

Test RequiredSampling LocationFrequency Required
IronEach SourceOne Time
ManganeseEach SourceOne Time
ChlorideEach SourceOne Time
Total Dissolved SolidsEach SourceOne Time
Inorganic Chemicals*Each SourceOne Time
Bacteriological (Total Coliform)Distribution SystemQuarterly** 

*Inorganic Chemicals must include: Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Asbestos, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cyanide, Fluoride, Hexavalent chromium, Mercury, Nickel, Nitrate (as N03), Nitrate + Nitrate (sum as nitrogen), Nitrite (as nitrogen), Perchlorate, Selenium and Thallium.

**Quarterly testing requirement may be reduced to monthly if system indicates more than one total Coliform positive sample during the most recent 24 months.

If any routine bacteriological sample is positive, repeat sampling is required within 48 hours from the time the repeat sample results are received. If repeat sample is also total Coliform positive, the sample shall also be analyzed for the presence of fecal coliforms or Escherichia coli (E.coli). The water supplier shall notify the local health officer within 48 hours from the time the results are received and shall take corrective actions, as directed by the health officer, to eliminate the cause of the positive samples.

All water samples must be analyzed by a laboratory certified by the Sate of California Department of Health Services for the type of analysis being performed. The results of the analysis shall be reported to the local health officer no later than the 10th day of the month following the receipt of the results by the SSWS.

The SSWS shall comply with any corrective action ordered by the local health officer for any contaminant which exceeds the maximum contaminant level as identified in the California Health and Safety Code. The SSWS shall comply with all regulations within the California Health and Safety Code related to State Small Water Systems. 

Codes for SSWS