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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 590. Waterworks Regulations
6/24/2024

12VAC5-590-461. Classification of waterworks, operator requirements, and operator attendance.

A. Classification of waterworks. All community and NTNC waterworks, including consecutive waterworks, fitting the classification protocol in this subsection shall be designated as classified waterworks. The department retains the discretion to assign the classification of the waterworks or treatment facility either higher or lower. Those community and NTNC waterworks failing to fall within one of the classifications listed in this subsection shall be designated an unclassified waterworks unless specified otherwise by the department. Normally, a TNC waterworks shall not be classified and shall not be required to have an operator unless the department determines that it is necessary to ensure satisfactory operation of the installed treatment. If a waterworks consists of multiple treatment facilities, then these facilities may be individually classified for the purpose of determining the operator requirements.

1. Class 1 means:

a. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving 50,000 or more persons, or having a water treatment plant capacity of 5.0 MGD or more and employing conventional filtration or chemical coagulation in combination with membrane filtration; or

b. A waterworks designated by the department to be a Class 1 waterworks.

2. Class 2 means:

a. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving 5,000 or more persons but fewer than 50,000 persons or having a water treatment plant capacity of 0.5 MGD or more but less than 5.0 MGD, whichever range applies, and employing rapid rate conventional filtration (see 12VAC5-590-874) or chemical coagulation in combination with membrane filtration;

b. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving fewer than 50,000 persons or having a water treatment plant capacity of less than 5.0 MGD and employing high rate conventional filtration (see 12VAC5-590-874); or

c. A waterworks designated by the department to be a Class 2 waterworks.

3. Class 3 means:

a. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving fewer than 5,000 persons or having a water treatment plant capacity less than 0.5 MGD, whichever is greater, and employing conventional filtration or chemical coagulation in combination with membrane filtration;

b. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving 5,000 or more persons or having a water treatment plant capacity of 0.5 MGD or more, whichever is greater, and employing one or more of the following: disinfection other than with hypochlorination, caustic soda feed, iron and manganese removal, ion exchange, slow sand filtration, aeration, rechlorination other than with hypochlorination, activated carbon contactors, membrane or other filtration technologies without chemical coagulation, and fluoridation with a saturator or acid feed;

c. A waterworks or a water treatment plant employing fluoridation with other than a saturator not considered a Class 1 or Class 2 waterworks; or

d. A waterworks designated by the department to be a Class 3 waterworks.

4. Class 4 means:

a. A waterworks or a water treatment plant serving fewer than 5,000 persons or having a water treatment plant capacity of less than 0.5 MGD and employing one or more of the following: disinfection other than with hypochlorination, caustic soda feed, iron and manganese removal, ion exchange, slow sand filtration, aeration, rechlorination other than with hypochlorination, activated carbon contactors, membrane or other filtration technologies without chemical coagulation, and fluoridation with a saturator; or

b. A waterworks designated by the department to be a Class 4 waterworks.

5. Class 5 means:

a. A waterworks serving 400 or more persons that:

(1) Provides no treatment; or

(2) Employs one or more of the following treatment processes:

(a) Hypochlorination for disinfection;

(b) Corrosion control with calcite or magnesium oxide contactors or solution feed except with caustic soda; or

(c) Sequestration by solution feed.

b. A waterworks designated by the department to be a Class 5 waterworks.

6. Class 6 means:

a. A waterworks serving fewer than 400 persons that:

(1) Provides no treatment; or

(2) Employs one or more of the following treatment processes:

(a) Hypochlorination for disinfection;

(b) Corrosion control with calcite or magnesium oxide contactors or solution feed except with caustic soda; or

(c) Sequestration by solution feed.

b. A waterworks is designated by the department to be a Class 6 waterworks.

B. Operator requirements. The operation of all waterworks must rest in the hands of qualified staff. The number and qualifications of persons constituting the operating staff at a waterworks depend principally upon the capacity of the waterworks, the number of persons served by the waterworks, and the complexity of the treatment process or processes. If a classified waterworks or water treatment plant is without a required operator, then the owner shall notify the department as soon as practical but no later than 24 hours of such an occurrence.

1. The operator attendance requirements specified in subsection C of this section are a minimum to protect the health of the consumer and safety of the operating staff. The department may increase the required operating attendance when appropriate to protect human health.

2. A classified waterworks shall be operated by an operator having a valid license issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia (18VAC160-30-90) with a classification equal to or higher than the classification of the waterworks or water treatment plant being operated. (See definition of operator in 12VAC5-590-10).

3. Operators are not required at unclassified waterworks.

C. Minimum operator attendance at classified waterworks. For the purpose of this section and 12VAC5-590-570, all classified waterworks or individual water treatment plants shall maintain the minimum operator attendance as follows:

1. Class 1. The waterworks shall have a minimum of two operating staff in attendance whenever the water treatment plant is in operation; at least one of the operating staff must be an operator.

2. Class 2. The waterworks shall have a minimum of one operator in attendance whenever the water treatment plant is in operation.

3. Class 3. The waterworks employing conventional filtration or chemical coagulation in combination with membrane filtration shall have a minimum of one operator in attendance whenever the water treatment plant is in operation. All other treatment facilities may have operator attendance similar to a Class 4 waterworks.

4. Class 4. The waterworks shall be attended by an operator at least three days per week, except that water treatment plants employing membrane filters treating surface water sources or GUDI sources shall be attended by an operator daily. The attendance shall be for sufficient time to perform the necessary operations, monitoring, and maintenance.

5. Class 5 and Class 6.

a. Where no treatment is provided, the waterworks shall be attended by an operator at least twice a month.

b. When treatment is provided, the waterworks shall be attended by an operator at least once per week.

c. The attendance shall be for sufficient time to perform the necessary operations, monitoring, and maintenance.

D. Operator attendance alternatives.

1. Increased staffing attendance may be required by the department on a case-by-case basis to protect public health.

2. Reduced operator attendance for Class 3 through Class 6 waterworks may be considered by the department on a case-by-case basis.

3. When requiring increased operator attendance or considering reduced operator attendance the department will consider the following criteria, including:

a. Operational history;

b. Type of treatment;

c. Facility capacity and hours of operation;

d. Population served;

e. Type and reliability of remote monitoring controls, alarms, and communications;

f. Reliable staff communications; and

g. Emergency response plans and procedures.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-170 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 20, eff. June 23, 2021.

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