Facility Inspections

The Facility Inspections conducts on-site inspections for water and wastewater facilities to ensure proper operation and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.


Facility Inspections are also call Sanitary Surveys. The purpose of a sanitary survey is:
Every primacy agency is required to have a sanitary survey program that meets the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 142.16 describes specific requirements for the sanitary survey program and its authorities. Every primacy agency must create a standard measurement system for evaluating each of the eight essential elements to ensure consistency in conducting sanitary surveys. The purpose of a sanitary survey is to determine if sanitary deficiencies are present in a water system and to verify the system’s compliance with SDWA regulations. This information serves as a benchmark with which to gauge the effectiveness of a water system and is valuable in addressing the system’s present and future needs.

In the Division of Municipal Facilities, inspectors are required to inspect water and wastewater systems. Water systems are categorized as community water systems and non-community systems. Municipal Facilities inspectors conduct sanitary surveys at all community water systems and some non-community water systems. In some cases the local District Health Unit may inspect non-community water systems. While conducting a Sanitary Survey, the inspector will typically do an inspection of the wastewater collection and treatment facilities.

What is a Sanitary Survey

Components of a Sanitary Survey

There are eight parts to a Sanitary Survey.

  1. Source
    • Evaluate water supply sources to ensure proper source water protection (groundwater, surface water)
  2. Treatment Facilities
    • Evaluate treatment processes (e.g., disinfection, chemical addition, filtration)
  3. Distribution System
    • Evaluate the adequacy, reliability, and safety of the system’s interconnected series of pipes, storage facilities and components that convey drinking water
  4. Finished Water Storage
    • Evaluate the adequacy, reliability, and safety of finished water storage facilities such as elevated, ground level and underground storage tanks or reservoirs
  5. Pumps and Pump Facilities
    • Evaluate the proper operation and maintenance of water system pumps and facilities (e.g. high surface pumps, booster stations and pumps in the water treatment plant)
  6. Monitoring, Reporting, and Data Verification
    • Review paperwork and plans to demonstrate that the system is in compliance with the safe drinking water act
  7. System Management and Operation
    • Review paperwork and plans to demonstrate that the system has the financial, technical and managerial capability to operate a public water system and maintain compliance
  8. Operator Compliance
    • Review operator status to ensure the operator’s certification is current and at the appropriate level for the type of system

Sanitary Survey Frequency

  • At a minimum Public Water Systems (PWS) are inspected every one to five years.
  • Community Water Systems that treat surface water – Inspected Every Year
  • Community Water Systems (CWS) – Every Three Years
  • Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems (NTNC) – Every Five Years
  • Transient Non-Community Water Systems (TNC) – Every Five Years
  • Community Wastewater Systems that are not a Public Water System – Every Five Years
  • State Public Water Systems– Every Five Years

Sanitary Survey Goals

  • Ensure that the public water system is in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Identify significant deficiencies and minor deficiencies (report)
  • Provide assistance to the water system operator
  • Establish working relationships between the systems and the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality

Before, During, and After a Sanitary Survey

Click to see information about the Before, During, and After of a Sanitary Survey

Preparing for a Sanitary Survey.

Once notified by an inspector of the date and time of the inspection the operator should:

  • Review water and/or wastewater facility records (e.g. previous inspection reports, distribution system plans and maps, routine operation and maintenance records, coliform monitoring history and sample plan, chlorine records, disinfection byproduct records, wastewater permit and discharge monitoring reports).
  • Check to see that defects found during a previous inspection were corrected
  • Inspect wells, reservoirs, water treatment plant, pumping facilities, lift stations and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Arrange for water/wastewater system personnel most knowledgeable about the system operation and management to be available during the survey.
  • The operator should make sure that all facilities can be accessed (keys made available)
  • Proper safety equipment should be available (e.g., gloves, boots, eye, head, and ear protection).

During the Sanitary Survey

  • The operator should have a notepad to take notes of issues found during the inspection.
  • Ensure that all safety procedures are followed during the inspection. The operator will need to notify the inspector of any potential safety issues (e.g., no exposed wiring, no uncovered pits).
  • Be honest and forthright with your answers. If you do not know the answer to a question, let the inspector know you will try to find an answer.

Sanitary Survey Follow-up

  • The operator will receive an inspection report within 30 to 45 days from the date of the inspection.
  • Defects listed in the inspection report should be corrected within the timelines listed in the report.
  • You must notify the department as outlined in the report when you complete the necessary corrections. If unable to make the corrections by the due date, you must contact the inspector You may need to submit a corrective action plan with a timeline indicating when items will be corrected.

Map of Inspection Regions

Click to see a map of the inspection regions.

Map of Inspection Regions


Jacob Schafer
P: 701-328-6375
E: jrschafer@nd.gov


Vance Wingerter
P: 701-328-5175
E: vance.wingerter@nd.gov


Bryce Peters
P: 701-328-5209
E: bpeters@nd.gov

South Central

Marlon Bell
P: 701-328-5221
E: mobell@nd.gov