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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems


State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships

Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 

State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships


Pennsylvania utilities may participate in state-wide Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (PaWARN), in order to promote statewide mutual aid in the event of natural and human-caused events. Participating utilities sign a mutual aid agreement which allows swift exchange of staff, resources or equipment after a disaster, and improves the resiliency of water and wastewater services statewide. Participating in PaWARN is voluntary.


The state also aims to encourage the restructuring of existing non-viable small systems. The PUC provides acquisition incentives, , and facilitates the rate process to aid in the provision of financial assistance from PENNVEST to projects that involve a viable system acquiring a small, non-viable system. Acquisition incentives include additional rate of return basis points, the inclusion of reasonable excess acquisition costs in the rate base of the acquiring entity and amortization over 10 years, and a phased-in rate recovery for improvement costs. Additional surcharges are allowed to offset various operating costs (state tax adjustment, distribution system improvement, purchase power, and purchase water). 


The Pennsylvania Capability Enhancement Program provides on-site assistance with consolidation and regionalization planning. In addition, the Capability Enhancement Program utilizes DWSRF set-asides to contract with private consultants to provide engineering expertise and legal assistance to small water systems in the state and to facilitate regionalization and consolidation.


The Capability Enhancement program uses TMF assessments to rank systems in terms of system capability. Approximately thirty high-priority water systems are selected to receive direct assistance to increase system TMF capacity, including through consolidation with another system. This program’s overall goal is to eliminate non-viable PWSs and decrease the number of high priority water systems.

Helpful Links to State Resources