Record keeping is absolutely vital to help you recognize and correct problems in your system before they become threats to human health.
Regular monitoring of your small water system will ensure your drinking water is safe and reliable and that your treatment system is working properly. By familiarizing yourself with your system’s normal operating parameters, you will be able to quickly identify changes in your source water or treated water so that problems can be prevented.
Monitor your system by:
- creating a water system monitoring plan that includes both microbiological sampling and chemical sampling
- record keeping of the data provided by treatment and monitoring equipment, as well as observations, changes, and events involving your system
- regularly checking infrastructure
- sampling and testing water at various points along the system
Your infrastructure and equipment need regular monitoring and this data should be recorded. This infrastructure and equipment would usually include the following:
- source water intake/wellhead
- treatment system (including water supply pressure gauges, inlet and outlet filter pressure gauges, the hypochlorinator pump, ultraviolet lamp, water conditioning equipment to reduce mineral content, etc.)
- master water meter (volume)
- flow meters (velocity)
- water supply pumps
- the remainder of the distribution system
From source-to-tap, you should check your system for vulnerabilities on a regular basis. At a minimum, you should include the following infrastructure-related items in your monitoring plan:
- New Construction Records: wells, pumps, boosters, storage tanks, water mains, disinfection equipment – recorded on an as-built drawing
- Well Records: well drillers’ report, well log, pump suppliers’ equipment sheet, construction details of pump base, motor specifications, pump controls wiring diagrams, parts lists, etc.
- Equipment Records: manufacturers’ specifications, operating instructions, warranty documentation
- Repairs and Modifications: include a drawing of the work done
Monthly Operational Record
You should have a monthly operational record at each facility in your system. Each time you visit the facility, fill out your record to indicate:
- the purpose of the visit (e.g., routine service)
- equipment measurements (e.g., meter readings, air level in pressure tank, water level in well before and after pumping, etc.)
- actions taken (e.g., lube oil added).
Sample log sheets are available at Appendix C in the Small Water System Guidebook (BC Ministry of Health).
Water suppliers in British Columbia are currently required by the Drinking Water Protection Act and Drinking Water Protection Regulation to publish an annual report that contains the results of all the water system monitoring they did that year. This annual report must be prepared and made public by June 30th of the following year (within 6 months from the end of the calendar year). This includes any bacteriological or chemical/physical sampling required in the regulation or as a condition on the water supplier's operating permit.
Water users can use the annual report to find information about their water system and the quality of their drinking water. This is an important part of maintaining communication between the water supplier and the water users. The annual report can be posted in a public location (bulletin board, etc), published on a website, or delivered to individual users.
In addition to the annual report, the following documents must be made available to the water supplier’s operations staff, the drinking water officer and the water supplier’s water users.
- Your emergency response and contingency plan (only a summary is provided to the water users/public and it must not include any information that may reasonably pose a risk to the water supply system)
- the current water source and system assessment, if applicable
- the current assessment response plan, if applicable
- other information required to be made public by the regulation, operating permit or the drinking water officer
Emergency Response and Contingency Planning for Small Water Systems, Province of BC, Ministry of Health - A step-by-step guide to creating an Emergency Response and Contingency Plan for your small water system.
Small Water System Guidebook, Province of BC, Ministry of Health - This guidebook is intended to be the first step in helping owners and operators find solutions to the challenges of operating a small water system, so you can provide the best possible drinking water to your customer.