• Jason Ferguson

What's a transient non-community system?

Transient non-community systems. If you're a business owner with a venue located outside of the city limits serviced by a well, chances are you meet the TCEQ's definition of a Public Water System, and unless you are a factory, school or RV park with long-term residents, you're probably a transient non-community system. The kind of system you are classified as, makes a big difference in how you are regulated and that can have a significant impact on cost of operations.

PWS Background. First a quick refresher on the 25/60/15 rule. If a water system serves 25 or more people, at least 60 days out of the year, or if it has 15 or more connections, then it meets the definition of a public water system. The Environmental Protection Agency, via the Safe Water Drinking Act, has ultimate regulatory authority, however individual states are tasked with enforcement and can adopt more stringent rules and interpretations. In Texas, the TCEQ is the state agency that handles this.

CWS, NTNC and TNC. Systems fall into one of three different categories, community systems (CWS), non-transient non-community systems (NTNC) and transient non-community systems (TNC). Though there are all sorts of nuances, generally speaking, a community system supplies water to residential connections all year round. A non-transient, non-community system regularly serves at least 25 of the same people at least six months out of the year (think factories or schools). Finally, a transient, non-community system consists of just about everything where different people come and go, like gas stations, wineries, hotels, parks and the like.


TNC Requirements. Transient non-community systems are off the hook for several monitoring and testing requirements that their cousin systems aren't. For instance, as long as the population served by your TNC utilizing groundwater is under 750 people per day (or less than 250 connections), you only have to monitor your chlorine residuals once per week, versus once per day like community systems. You also usually don't have to conduct expensive quarterly synthetic organic contaminants (SOC's) or volatile organic contaminants (VOC's) and you don't have to hire a licensed water operator to run your system. All of this translates into big, long term savings in terms of operational costs over time.


Hiring the right firm. All systems have to have licensed professional engineer submit plans and specs for initial authorization or subsequent significant system modifications. Hiring the right engineering firm for that job is vitally important. Over the years, we've seen some real horror stories, like small systems consisting of a wine tasting room, and a couple of bathrooms, designed using chlorine gas as a disinfectant by firms who took no interest in the scale of small TNC systems, instead opting to use the same technology and "cookie-cutter" approach they apply to systems designed for municipalities. If you're a small business owner, in need of a design that takes into account your own unique situation, call Searchers today and talk to our experienced team of water professionals in the engineering department, we're the experts.

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