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Drinking Water Rules

Permanent Rules (proposed) to Improve the Certification Process for Water System Operators

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division (OHA) is proposing to permanently amend Oregon Administrative Rules 333-061-0228, 0235, 0245 and 0265 related to the certification of water system operators. The amendments are intended to clarify and correct some rule text and allow OHA greater flexibility accepting qualifying education in place of work experience and charging prorated fees for partial periods of certification.

Specifically, the amendments would repeal the option to pass a written examination to earn small water system certification because only training is required; allow education to be substituted for all the required work experience for Level 1 certification; allow OHA to recognize operators in training when individuals do not meet the experience requirements for Level 1 certification; and allow OHA to prorate initial certification fees.

Specific amendments and proposed rule language are identified in the documents available below, which include:
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing, The Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact and full text of the proposed rules
Full text of the proposed rules formatted to be more accessible
Public Hearing & Comment Period

 If you wish to comment on these proposed rule revisions, you may submit written comments or provide oral testimony as follows:

  • You may submit written comments before 5:00 p.m. on December 28, 2018 to:
    • OHA, Public Health Division
      Brittany Hall, Administrative Rules Coordinator
      800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 930 Portland, OR 97232
    • By email to:, or 
    • By facsimile to (971) 673-1299.
  • You can present oral testimony at the following public hearing: 
    • Portland State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon St, Room, Portland, OR 97232 in Room 1C on December 18 at 10:00 a.m.
If you have any questions or would like to request a paper copy of these documents, please contact Julie Wray at 971-673-0405.

Permanent Rules for Cyanotoxin Monitoring at Public Water Systems

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division is adopting Oregon Administrative Rules OAR 333-061-0510 through 333-061-0580 to require monitoring for cyanotoxins at public water systems where drinking water is derived from susceptible surface water sources. Water suppliers would also be required to issue public notification if concentrations of cyanotoxins exceed advisory levels. These permanent administrative rules replace temporary administrative rules adopted for cyanotoxin monitoring and testing that were effective July 1, 2018 through December 27, 2018.
 List of Susceptible Sources required to monitor for cyanotoxins  - February 12, 2019, subject to change
Proposed Rules:
Public Hearing & Comment Period
  • A public hearing was held on November 27, 2018 and written comments were received until November 30, 2018.  See document above "Response to public comments - hearings officer report" for details.

Reducing Lead in School Drinking Water

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division is adopting Oregon Administrative Rule 333-061-0400 for testing school drinking water taps for eliminating or reducing lead content of faucets and/or plumbing if high levels are found.
Final Rule Language
Response to comments
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing, Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact, and the full text of the proposed rule
Frequently Asked Questions
Proposed Rule Text - formatted to be easier to read

For additional information about lead in school drinking water please visit the Healthy School Facilities page.

Public Hearing and Comment Period

  • A public hearing was held on October 24, 2018 and written comments were received until October 26, 2018.  See document above "Response to comments" for details.

Oregon Revised Statue (ORS) Oregon Drinking Water Quality Act

Enacted in 1981, the statute (periodically amended) includes Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 448.119 to 448.285; 454.235; and 454.255. The purpose of the above act is (in part) to:
  • Ensure that all Oregonians have safe drinking water;
  • Provide a simple and effective regulatory program for drinking water systems; and
  • Provide a means to improve inadequate drinking water systems.

Current Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) for Public Water Systems

ORS 448.131 authorizes Drinking Water Services (DWS) to adopt administrative rules to ensure safe drinking water. OAR Chapter 333 Division 061 is reserved for regulations regarding public water systems and was last amended on January 10, 2018.

A complete set of rules in PDf iconChapter 333, Division 061.

Specific portions of the rules are also available as PDF files below, ordered by section number (some of the files include more than one section of the rules):

OARs for Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention

The cross connection and backflow prevention rules serve to protect public water supplies from backflow hazards. They are provided below as PDF files.

OARs for Water System Operator Certification

The purpose of operator certification is to protect public health and public water systems in Oregon. DWS accomplishes this by reviewing the experience, education and credentials of persons responsible for the production, treatment and distribution of public drinking water and determining their compliance with an established standard of proficiency. The rules include application guidelines, general operator criteria and grade requirements; operator system classifications and fees are also covered. They are provided below as PDF files; some of the files include more than one section of the rules, in which case the content is ordered by section number.

OARs for Domestic Well Testing for Real Estate Transactions

Amended in 2009, ORS 448.271 requires property owners, when selling Oregon real estate that includes a domestic well, to test the water for arsenic, nitrate and total coliform bacteria. Domestic wells are those used for drinking and other household purposes. Test results must be reported within 90 days to the real estate buyer and DWS after the seller receives the test results. Rules are downloadable as PDFs below. Get more information about domestic well testing for real estate transactions.

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