Drinking water: Sanitary surveys

Prepare for the survey
We’ll review these records
  • Monitoring plan.
  • Monitoring records, such as nitrate results.
  • Cross-Connection Program documentation, such as backflow testing results.
  • Operations and maintenance manual, including line flushing, hydrant flushing procedures (recommended).
  • Emergency response plan, including line break procedures (recommended).
  • We may ask for other records.
We’ll conduct a field review
  • We’ll look at the integrity of facilities to see, for example, that there are no broken electrical conduits or holes in facility walls and that the 24-mesh screen is intact.
  • Our field review may be more extensive.
After the inspection
  • About 30 days after the inspection, we’ll send you a letter detailing the sanitary survey findings. Regulation 11 states the system has:
    • 45 days from the sanitary survey letter to respond in writing to any deficiencies/violations. 
    • 120 days from the letter to address any deficiencies/violations, unless we've approved the public water system’s corrective action plan.
Definitions found in letters
  • Significant Deficiencies and Violations:
    • The inspector who performed the sanitary survey will follow up on these items. The written response to this letter must include all these items.
  • Observations/Recommendations:
    • We won't directly follow up on these items but we strongly recommend the water system address them.

Inspection frequency

Regulation 11 requires routine sanitary surveys for:
  • Community water systems:
    • Every three years.
  • Non-transient, non-community water systems:
    • Every five years.
  • Transient, non-community water systems:
    • Every five years.
We have the authority to conduct more frequent sanitary surveys based on water quality concerns or to follow up on previous sanitary surveys. We also can conduct sanitary surveys without advance notice.