What is a Group B Water System?
Group B public water systems serve fewer than 15 connections and fewer than 25 people per day. The Office of Drinking Water and local health jurisdictions regulate Group B systems in our state.
Group B systems are regulated under chapter 246-291 of the Washington Administrative Code. A new Group B rule was adopted by the State Board of Health in October 2012 and went into effect January 1, 2014. Our Drinking Water Rules webpage has the new Group B rule (PDF), and a Summary of Final Rule Changes (PDF)
New Rule Effective January 2014
All Group B systems are subject to the new rule beginning in 2014. In general, the rule:
- Requires more stringent design standards for new and expanding systems.
- Eliminates all requirements for most one connection and two connection Group B systems.
- Doesn't require routine ongoing monitoring.
If your complete design application is received after January 1, 2014, refer to the New Group B rule 331-071 (PDF) and the Group B Water System Design Guidelines 331-467 (PDF) and Group B Design workbook 331-468 (Word).
Who Regulates Group B Systems?
The Group B rule allows local health jurisdictions (LHJs) to adopt their own regulations, as long as the locally adopted requirements are not less stringent than the state rule. Many LHJs will adopt rules for Group B systems that include additional requirements. For example, some local regulations may include requirements for Group B systems with one or two connections, and others include routine ongoing water quality monitoring and reporting.
This map shows local health involvement with the Group B program (PDF). LHJs can adopt a local ordinance, have delegated responsibility through a Joint Plan of Responsibility (JPR), or have no involvement with Group B water systems.
If you are planning to create a new Group B system or expand your existing Group B system, visit our Group B Design webpage that describes system requirements. The webpage also has links to design guidelines, forms, templates, and includes other helpful information you will need to be successful in your project.
If you are an owner or operator of an existing Group B system, visit our Operations and Maintenance webpage. This page links to technical assistance and forms you may need.
For consumers who receive water from a Group B system, go to our general information about small water systems webpage, with links to information about steps you can take to keep yourself and your household healthy.
For a list of certified labs, visit the state Department of Ecology. Under "Location," select your state, city, and county. Scroll down and click on "Show results." Click on the name of a lab to see the tests it performs. Call the lab to make sure it's accredited to analyze for the drinking water parameter you want analyzed.
For a list of additional resources for Group B water system, visit our resources webpage.
- Group B Construction Completion Form 331-121-Fb (Word)
- Guidance for Local Government: Physical and Potable Water Availability 331-597 (PDF)
- Group B Drinking Water Program 331-555 (PDF)
- Group B Water System Design Guidelines 331-467 (PDF)
- Group B Design Workbook 331-468 (Word)
- Designing a New or Expanding Group B System webpage
- Operating Your Group B System webpage
- Information for Consumers, Operators, and Owners webpage
- Additional Resources for Group B Systems webpage
- Group B Rule
- Local Health Involvement State Map (PDF)
- Local Health Jurisdictions (interactive map with contact information).
- Free Online Private Well Program: Step-by-step education program to help well owners understand groundwater basics, well care best practices, and how to find assistance.
- Join the Group B email list.