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Laws & Regulations

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): 42 U.S.C. §300f et seq.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is a federal law first enacted in 1974 to protect the quality of drinking water in the U.S. The Act authorizes EPA to establish minimum standards to protect tap water and requires all owners or operators of public water systems to comply with these primary (health-related) standards. The 1996 amendments to SDWA require that EPA consider a detailed risk and cost assessment, and best available peer-reviewed science, when developing these standards.

Significant SDWA Rules

State governments, such as Virginia, are approved to implement these rules and drinking water standards for EPA through the Waterworks Regulations. Virginia has established secondary standards (nuisance-related) for drinking water in the Waterworks Regulations also.


  • A Construction Permit is required if you are planning to construct or change the water source withdrawal treatment, storage or distribution system of a proposed or existing waterworks. It is valid for 5 years.
  • An Operation Permit is required of all waterworks in Virginia. It is typically issued after satisfactory completion of all facility construction, and approval of monitoring, reporting and operation plans.
  • A General Permit for Construction of Distribution Mains may be issued to a waterworks owner (or their representative) granting authority to review and approve plans for distribution mains.  The General Permit is valid for 5 years and is renewable. 

Complete the Waterworks Permit Application form to get started on securing a Construction Permit.  Contact the ODW Field Office in your region for further assistance with any of these permits.


Last Updated: 02-21-2014

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