What is a Satellite Management Agency and why does my water system need 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 after January 1, 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:
- RCW 70.119A.060 – Public Water Systems, Conditions for approval or creation of new public water system
- Chapter 246-295 WAC (PDF) – Satellite System Management Agencies
- Chapter 246-290 WAC – Group A Public Water Supplies
- Chapter 246-291 WAC – Group B Public Water Systems
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 can a Satellite Management Agency 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 can I find a SMA?
SMAs approved by DOH 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 updated quarterly.
For inquiries regarding SMAs, email the SMA & Training Coordinator.
If you are interested in becoming an approved SMA, contact your regional planner.