Satellite Management Agencies (SMA)

What a Satellite Management Agency is and Why My Water System Needs One

Approved Satellite Management Agencies (SMAs) are entities authorized by the Department of Health to own and/or manage and operate public water systems. Washington drinking water regulations require that all public water systems approved on or after July 23, 1995, be owned or operated by a SMA in perpetuity unless one is not available. This requirement applies to both Group A and Group B water systems. Specific language on this requirement can be found in:

The SMA requirement was established based on the proliferation of small water systems in Washington State and to ensure that small systems have technical, managerial, and financial oversight and are providing safe drinking water.

The goal of the SMA program is to allow all communities to care for their investments through strong, viable utilities that demonstrate long-term capacity.

What a Satellite Management Agency Can Offer My Water System

SMAs are responsible for understanding and abiding by the rules and regulations pertaining to both Group A and B water systems. In addition to ensuring that your water system is in compliance by contracting with a SMA, SMAs can provide the following services:

  • Ensure that your drinking water is safe and reliable.
  • Enhance the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of your water system.
  • Suggest or apply an appropriate level of both short and long-term water system planning.
  • Management and upkeep of owned water systems' finances, investments, and assets.

Where I Can I Find an SMA

SMAs approved by us to provide ownership and/or management and operation services to water systems can be found on our Approved Satellite Management Agency List (PDF). The list identifies SMA names, addresses, phone numbers, service areas, and the type of service the agency provides. The list is typically updated quarterly.


For inquiries regarding SMAs, email the SMA & Training Coordinator.

If you are interested in becoming an approved SMA, contact your regional planner.

More Resources

See all Environmental Public Health licenses and certifications

Satellite System Management Agencies: Chapter 246-295 WAC (PDF)

Small Water System Management Program Guide (Word)