Private Water Systems
Hamilton County residents who are not connected to the public water supply may utilize a private water system (PWS) to provide potable water to their property. Staff collect water samples as part of the inspection process.
Hamilton County residents who are not connected to the public water supply may utilize a private water system (PWS) to provide potable water to their property.
Source water for a private water system may come from:
- Hauled Water Storage Tanks
A private water system is defined as having fewer than fifteen (15) service connections and does not regularly serve an average of at least twenty-five (25) individuals daily at least sixty (60) days of each year. Private water systems can service:
- 1, 2, and 3 family dwellings.
- Multiple dwellings on the same or adjacent properties.
- A private water system also includes any auxiliary water supply to supplement toilet flushing or laundry.
- Buildings including barns, small businesses, churches, etc.
- Small manufactured home parks and campgrounds
Construction and Location
- Private Water Systems using a well must be equipped with a down-turned sampling faucet, not less than eight inches above the floor/ground, in the water system prior to any treatment or disinfection.
- Private Water Systems requiring continuous disinfection must be equipped with a down-turned sampling faucet, not less than eight inches above the floor/ground, before and after retention tank or UV light system.
- All pipes must meet ANSI/NSF standard 61 or equivalent.
- Private Water Systems must be at least 10 feet from a property line and easement and five feet from a private driveway.
Chlorination, iodination, ultraviolet (UV) light, and ozonation systems can be used for disinfection. Disinfectants shall be applied prior to the water storage tank or retention tank to obtain the contact time required for the specific disinfectant used.
Installations and Alterations
All PWS must be installed or altered in compliance with the requirements set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3701-28. Installations and alterations to private water systems in Hamilton County Public Health’s jurisdiction (except Cincinnati, Norwood and Springdale) must be permitted by Hamilton County Public Health to ensure that proper components and techniques are used to provide safe drinking water. Applications for a new or replacement private water system, or for the alteration of a private water system, must be done using the statewide form and by submitting/completing the requirements below:
- Site Plan: The applicant will need to submit a completed site plan of the property on the Statewide Site Plan Form (page 3 of the Statewide Application/Permit Form). On the site plan the applicant will need to clearly mark:
- The location of all proposed and existing private water systems.
- The location all possible sources of contamination found on the site plan form, including but not limited to the house, the sewage system and the driveway.
- North Direction, property lines roads and road intersections.
- Site Plan Addendum: The applicant will be required to submit detailed PWS plans if the PWS:
- Serves a building or greater than a three family dwelling; or
- Source water is from a pond, cistern, spring; or
- Is located in an area of known flowing well conditions.
- The submitted detailed PWS plans must:
- Include relevant information as to the number of individuals to be served when the application is for a multi-family dwelling or building;
- Be legible and accurately drawn with a north directional arrow;
- Include relevant elevations for ponds and springs;
- Show the locations, layout, and type of all water system equipment, including but not limited to disinfection and filtration equipment;
- Include a listing of all materials to be used in construction, installation, or alteration of the water system;
- Show the layout of the water distribution piping from the source to the service connections; and
- Include any other information required for proper determination.
- Registered Contractor: When you make the application for your private water system you will need to provide the name of the contractor that you have chosen to do the work. Please be sure that the contractor is registered and bonded as a Private Water System contractor with the Ohio Department of Health. Visit this ODH site for more info.
- Marking at the PWS Site: The Location of the proposed private water system must be clearly marked at the site so the Health District staff can evaluate the system for meeting the minimum setback requirements and compliance with the code.
- Start Up and Operation: The person who constructs, develops, installs, alters, or repairs a Private Water System must disinfect the system immediately following completion of work performed by that individual. Disinfection must follow procedures outlined in ODH’s Disinfecting Water Wells Fact Sheet.
- Water Haulers: Water Haulers are any person or business that hauls and delivers water to hauled water storage tanks used as private water systems. Water Haulers are required to register and have their trucks inspected once per year by the local health district in which their primary business is located. Landlords hauling water to tenants are also required to register and have their trucks inspected by Hamilton County Public Health. Click here to see a list of approved water haulers.
Sealing or Abandoning a Private Water System
All private water systems that are not providing the primary source of water shall either be sealed in accordance with Ohio Administrative Code 3701-28 or maintained in strict compliance with all applicable requirements of Ohio Administrative Code 3701-28. A sealing or abandonment permit is required when demolishing a home with a private water system, and is required when connecting to a public water supply unless a backflow device is installed to prevent any possibility of a cross contamination of the public water supply. Click here for the application to seal a private water system. Click here for a fact sheet on the requirements for sealing abandoned private wells or keeping a private well after connecting to public water or drilling a new well.
Water samples are collected as part of the inspection process with a new or altered Private Water System. Total Coliform samples are collected from the point of discharge of the system and shall not be collected from hoses, spigots, or yard hydrants. Nitrate pre-screening is also conducted. HCPH also offers a sampling service to anyone wishing to check the current water quality of their existing private water system. Click here for the sampling form. Click here to view a Well Water Interpretation Tool.
- Forms, applications and documents
- Cistern Disinfection Fact Sheet
- Contractor Well Inspection Report For Pump, Pitless Adapter, Distribution
- Components, and Continuous Disinfection
- Ohio Department of Health – Private Water Systems
- Private Water System Rules – OAC 3701-28 Variance Application
- Testing Private Water Systems Fact Sheet
- Well Disinfection Fact Sheet
- Well Water Interpretation Tool