130A-315. Drinking water rules; exceptions; limitation on implied warranties.

(a) The Commission shall adopt and the Secretary shall enforce drinking water rules to regulate public water systems. The rules may distinguish between community water systems and noncommunity water systems.

(b) The rules shall:

(1) Specify contaminants which may have an adverse effect on the public health;

(2) Specify for each contaminant either:

a. A maximum contaminant level which is acceptable in water for human consumption, if it is feasible to establish the level of the contaminant in water in public water systems; or

b. One or more treatment techniques which lead to a reduction in the level of contaminants sufficient to protect the public health, if it is not feasible to establish the level of the contaminants in water in a public water system; and

(3) Establish criteria and procedures to assure a supply of drinking water which dependably complies with maximum contaminant levels and treatment techniques as determined in paragraph (2) of this subsection. These rules may provide for:

a. The minimum quality of raw water which may be taken into a public water system;

b. A program of laboratory certification;

c. Monitoring and analysis;

d. Record-keeping and reporting;

e. Notice of noncompliance, failure to perform monitoring, variances and exemptions;

f. Inspection of public water systems; inspection of records required to be kept; and the taking of samples;

g. Criteria for design and construction of new or modified public water systems;

h. Review and approval of design and construction of new or modified public water systems;

i. Siting of new public water system facilities;

j. Variances and exemptions from the drinking water rules; and

k. Additional criteria and procedures as may be required to carry out the purpose of this Article.

(b1) The rules may also establish criteria and procedures to insure an adequate supply of drinking water. The rules may:

(1) Provide for record keeping and reporting.

(2) Provide for inspection of public water systems and required records.

(3) Establish criteria for the design and construction of new public water systems and for the modification of existing public water systems.

(4) Establish procedures for review and approval of the design and construction of new public water systems and for the modification of existing public water systems.

(4a) Limit the number of service connections to a public water system based on the quantity of water available to the public water system, provided that the number of service connections shall not be limited for a public water system operating in accordance with a local water supply plan that meets the requirements of G.S. 143-355(l).

(5) Establish criteria and procedures for siting new public water systems.

(6) Provide for variances and exemptions from the rules.

(7) Provide for notice of noncompliance in accordance with G.S. 130A-324.

(b2) Two or more water systems that are adjacent, that are owned or operated by the same supplier of water, that individually serve less than 15 service connections or less than 25 persons but that in combination serve 15 or more service connections or 25 or more persons, and that individually are not public water systems shall meet the standards applicable to public water systems for the following contaminants: coliform bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, lead, copper, and other inorganic chemicals for which testing and monitoring is required for public water systems on 1 July 1994. The standards applicable to these contaminants shall be enforced by the Commission as though the water systems to which this subsection applies were public water systems.

(b3) The Department shall not certify or renew a certification of a laboratory under rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (3)b. of subsection (b) of this section unless the laboratory offers to perform composite testing of samples taken from a single public water supply system for those contaminants that the laboratory is seeking certification or renewal of certification to the extent allowed by regulations adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

(c) The drinking water rules may be amended as necessary in accordance with required federal regulations.

(d) When a person that receives water from a public water system is authorized by the Utilities Commission, pursuant to G.S. 62-110(g), to charge for the costs of providing water or sewer service, that person shall not be subject to regulation under this Article solely as a result of submetering and billing for water service. The supplying water system shall perform the same level of monitoring, analysis, and record keeping that the supplying system would perform if the providing water system had not been authorized to charge for the costs of providing water or sewer service pursuant to G.S. 62-110(g).

(e) When a public water system supplies water through a master meter to a water system not regulated by this Article, the supplying water system is not responsible for operation, maintenance, or repair of the providing water system. The supplying water system shall not be responsible for contamination that is confined to the providing water system if the supplying water system meets applicable requirements for water quality, treatment, and system operation for that contaminant. The supplying water system may monitor the water within the providing water system for contamination pursuant to rules adopted under this Article. The supplying water system and the Department shall have access to the providing water system to investigate water quality problems and to determine whether any contamination is confined to the providing water system and whether the quality of the water supplied by the supplying water system is contributing contamination to the providing water system.

(f) If water in the providing water system exceeds the maximum contaminant levels established pursuant to this Article and the Department determines that the supplying water system is not responsible, the supplying water system must notify the providing water system owner in writing within one day of determining that the contamination is confined solely to the providing water system for bacteria, nitrate, and nitrite, and within 30 days for all other contaminants.

(g) A supplier of water regulated under this Article shall not be deemed to provide any warranty under Article 2 of Chapter 25 of the General Statutes, including an implied warranty of merchantability or an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. (1979, c. 788, s. 1; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 1985, c. 417, ss. 1, 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 826, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 776, s. 15; 1995, c. 25, s. 1; 2000-172, s. 1.1; 2001-502, s. 6; 2004-143, s. 8; 2008-140, s. 1.)