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POU/POE- Draft ordinance

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Published on June 26, 2018. Last modified on June 12, 2019

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The Board Report with all attachments for June 18 are available to be downloaded here!

Per the Board direction the Environmental Health Bureau is to treat the ordinance as a pilot program, staff is proposing to return to the Board after eighteen (18) months for evaluation of the ordinance. At that time, staff would seek Board’s direction to: continue implementation of the ordinance as is, repeal the provisions of the ordinance, or modify provisions of the ordinance.

Public meetings, which were also open to the working group, were held on May 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th , and emails from stakeholders and constituents were received May 14th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 27th. Concerns regarding the ordinance are summarized into six categories: difference in regulations for individual homes vs. water systems, bottled water, pilot program, permit requirement, compliance options and easier templates.

Following are responses from EHB:

Difference in regulations for Individual Homes vs. Water Systems

With respect to individual owners of lots not in water systems, the ordinance codifies current practice of requiring recorded deed restrictions to address water quality issues as a prerequisite to construction of new or additional dwellings. POU/POE deed restriction language is for new dwellings or additions, not for water system compliance purposes.

If an owner within an impacted water system chooses to install POU/POE treatment on his or her own lot, the owner is not excused from the water system POU/POE requirements if the water system chooses to utilize POU/POE water treatment for system compliance. 100% participation is a basic requirement for the entire water system to be considered "Compliant Utilizing Treatment," as there is no allowance for partial compliance. The Environmental Health Bureau does not practice taking enforcement against water systems that are trying to gain compliance.

Notwithstanding sections 15.06.060 A.1 to A.5 of the proposed ordinance, if a property owner served by an impacted water system installs POU or POE treatment on their own lot as a prerequisite of obtaining a construction permit for new development, the owner would still also be subject to the water system requirements (sections 15.05.050 and 15.06.080 to 15.06.140) if the water system they are served by chooses to implement a POU or POE treatment program at any point in time. Regardless of implementation of a POU or POE treatment program by owners for their own lots, the water system will remain non-compliant until it is deemed to have returned to compliance.

Bottled Water

In situations where a local small or state small water system has drinking water that does not meet primary drinking water standards, many individuals have resorted to bottled water as an alternative safe source of drinking water. Bottled water use may be appropriate as a temporary safe source of drinking water in response to emergency situations such as water system failures, fires, floods and earthquakes or as a bridge to remedying the water quality issues. However, bottled water is not appropriate as a source of water for local small and state small water systems under Monterey County Code Chapter 15.04 because of the cost, lack of reliability, and environmental impacts of bottled water. Bottled water is more expensive than installation of a POE/POU system. A recent survey conducted by the Environmental Health Bureau found that the yearly costs for purchasing 30 gallons of bottled water per month is approximately $400 to $800 per year. This may not be an affordable long term option for tenants or property owners (please see Attachment 3, Water Survey, of the staff report). By comparison, the yearly maintenance costs associated with a purchased POU / POE water treatment system is $50 to $60 for filters, with basic POU systems ranging in cost from $155 to $160. POE/POU treatment is also more reliable because it utilizes the water system infrastructure, versus being dependent on continued individual purchasing decisions (please see Attachment 3, Water Survey). Purchasing bottled water also involves physical lifting of containers that may contain five gallons of water, which may also present a challenge for the elderly and unaccompanied. Additionally, bottled water when stored and transported in plastic containers increases the presence of plastic in the environment. Plastics are non-biodegradable and have been found to persist as a pollutant in our land and the ocean.

Pilot Program

Staff will return in eighteen months to review the ordinance and receive direction from the Board to continue implementation of the ordinance as is, repeal the provisions of the ordinance, or modify provisions of the ordinance. This is a voluntary program; first year testing and application fees will be waived.

Permit Requirement

Installation of a POU/POE treatment by an existing water system will not require a separate permit, only a permit amendment to the current water system permit. The amendment renewal process has been condensed and can coincide with the regular annual permit renewal to make amendment renewal more simplified.

Compliance Options

POU or POE treatment may not be the right solution for a water system. The water system must choose what best fits their situation. Water systems should work towards compliance, and the ordinance is intended to make available one more method to achieve compliance. In practice, Environmental Health does not pursue enforcement against water systems that are making a good faith effort to gain compliance.

Easier Templates

The online template forms that are currently on the EHB website such as guidelines, water agreement, construction plan, operations and maintenance plan, and other templates are for water systems under existing regulations. EHB intends to develop user-friendly templates for the POU/POE treatment program if the ordinance is adopted.

A review of the concerns and responses resulted in no change of the POU/POE ordinance. Stakeholder input and participation into the development of our templates and implementation process will continue if the ordinance passes. We are still on track to return to the Board on June 18.


Hello everyone,

Please continue to send your input regarding the POU/POE ordinance to me via email at encarnacionr@co.monterey.ca.us or voicemail at (831) 755-4542.
To meet with me in person please know that I will also be available here at 1270 Natividad Rd. every night starting May 14 up to May 17, from 6 pm to 8 pm. I will either have the Shasta or Whitney rooms open, just follow the signs that I will post in the lobby.

If you would like for me to come to any of your group or community meetings before May 23, please call me at my number below to schedule. After May 23, my availability to meet in person will be limited, however your input can still be sent to me by email, mail or phone.

For your reference I have attached the Board Order issued on April 30 that provided direction from the Board of Supervisors, including returning to the Board on June 18.

  Please share this message with others who may be interested in providing input to me.

  Thank you,


  Ric Encarnacion, REHS, MPH

Assistant Director, Environmental Health Bureau

County of Monterey


The Point-of Use (POU) and Point of Entry (POE) draft ordinance has been updated.

Click here to see the current draft.

Current draft schedule:

  • Present at the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 30, 2019

  • Board Adoption on May 14, 2019

The current draft of the Point-of Use (POU) and Point of Entry (POE) ordinance was developed after meeting with a stakeholder workgroup and reviewing public comments submitted previously.

All input was considered in developing this draft and then EHB incorporated the ideas it was able to support.

Key Points of the Voluntary POU/POE Drinking Water Program Compliance with Monterey County Code (MCC), Chapter 15.06

The purpose of this document is to provide information on the components of the proposed ordinance related to Point-of-Use (POU) / Point-of Entry (POE) drinking water program. Chapter 15.06 of the MCC was developed to provide a fourth more affordable option for a water system working towards compliance with Chapter 15.04 of the MCC. Participation is voluntary for water systems that are striving to comply with Chapter 15.04 to become a compliant water system.

  • Compliant and non-compliant water systems are not required to install POU or POE water treatment devices.
    • Compliant water systems do not need POU or POE since their water already meets water quality standards.
    • Non-compliant water systems will not be required to install POU or POE water treatment devices, as these devices will be an option for each water system to attain compliance with the Monterey County Code and to provide safe drinking water within each residence.
  • To participate in the POU/POE program, water systems must be current (all outstanding fees paid) with their Health Department Permit. EHB will continue to require water analysis on all water system well heads and will continue to conduct well head inspections regardless of the water system’s participation in the POU/POE program.
  • A permit amendment will be required, however there is no fee that will be assessed for the permit amendment for installation of POU/POE treatment systems for one year after the ordinance implementation date.
  • The County (EHB) will provide no-cost water analysis required under the ordinance for pilot testing of POU/POE systems for one year after the ordinance implementation date.
  • The following are no longer required to participate in the POU/POE program:
    • Financial feasibility study (has been deleted)
    • Voting among property owners (has been deleted)
  • Home construction is now allowed with installation of a POU/POE system and the recording of a deed restriction for single-family homes on legal lots of record served by a private well not meeting primary water quality standards. The construction of homes on existing lots of record that are served by existing domestic water systems whose primary water quality standards have degraded over time is also allowed with the installation of a POU/POE system and the recording of a deed restriction. There is no longer a requirement for the remaining members of the water system to have POU/POE water treatment devices installed to allow construction.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) construction is allowed with installation of a POU/POE system serving all inhabited structures on the same parcel as well as the recording of a deed restriction for all inhabited structures on the same parcel. Please note that an ADU is also required to meet water quantity and wastewater capacity requirements.
  • The POU/POE program identifies three drinking water quality status levels of a small water system:
    1. Fully Compliant – a water system with no water quality issues.
    2. Compliant Water System Utilizing Treatment – an impacted water system where all residents are participating together in a POU/POE program or centralized treatment.
    3. Non-Compliant - an impacted water system not in compliance with MCC chapter 15.04.
  • Domestic water systems that are Fully Compliant Utilizing Treatment will amend their health permit to reflect their efforts towards safe drinking water and will be able to renew annually to maintain their status.
  • EHB will provide, at no charge, consultative services to individual homeowners of domestic water systems who wish to learn how to develop a POU/POE program for their own family/household/tennants or for their neighbors on the same small water system. Our hope is to foster individual successes to encourage more to participate in the POU/POE program.

For questions regarding this ordinance please contact:
Ric Encarnacion at encarnacionr@co.monterey.ca.us  or (831) 755-4542
Cheryl Sandoval at sandovalcl@co.monterey.ca.us or  (831) 755-4552

Additional Links

NEW: POU/POE Ordinance FAQs

Letter sent to Water System contacts-April 18, 2019 (English / Español / Postcard/tarjeta postal)

Click here for printable version of Key Points of the Voluntary POU/POE Drinking Water Program Compliance with Monterey County Code (MCC), Chapter 15.06

Click here for a List of state certified devices

Click here for the State POU/POE regulations for public water systems

List of Small Water Systems Out of Compliance

List of Service Connections (Service Area) for Small Water Systems
Map of Monterey County Water System Quality

Frequently Asked Questions

The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from either surface water or ground water. Surface water collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Ground water is water located below the ground where it collects in pores and spaces within rocks and in underground aquifers. We obtain ground water by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.

Public water systems provide treated water from surface and ground water for public use. Water treatment systems are either government or privately-held facilities that withdraw water from the source, treat it, and deliver it to our homes.

A private well uses ground water as its water source. Owners of private wells and other individual water systems are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants. (Information from CDC)

A. The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons may be especially at risk for becoming ill after drinking contaminated water. For example, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Federal law requires that systems reduce certain contaminants to set levels, in order to protect human health. However, the presence of contaminants when tested does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. (Information from CDC)

A. There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)


A. The United States has one of the safest public water supplies in the world. However, if you are concerned about contaminants in your home’s water system, contact your state drinking water certification officer to obtain a list of certified laboratories in your state. Depending on how many contaminants you wish to test for, a water test can cost from $15 to hundreds of dollars. The Safe Drinking Water can give you information on testing methods.

A. A change in your water's taste, color, or smell is not necessarily a health concern. However, a change could be a sign of serious contamination problems. If you notice a change in your water, call you public water system company. If you want to test your water, your local health department should assist in explaining any tests that you need for various contaminants. If your local health department is not able to help you can contact a state certified laboratory to perform the test. To find a state certified laboratory in your area call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

A. In order to disinfect your drinking water during a boil water advisory, you should boil your water at a rolling boil for at least one minute (at altitudes greater than 6,562 feet (> 2000 meters), boil water for 3 minutes). Boiling your water for at least one minute at a rolling boil will inactivate all harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses from drinking water.

Although chemicals (for example, bleach) are sometimes used for disinfecting small volumes of drinking water for household use, chemical disinfection is generally not recommended for commercial establishments because of the lack of on-site equipment for testing chemical residuals. Furthermore, the parasite, Cryptosporidium is poorly inactivated by chlorine or iodine disinfection. Cryptosporidium can be removed from water by filtering through a reverse osmosis filter, an "absolute one micron" filter, or a filter certified to remove Cryptosporidium under NSF International Standard #53 for either "cyst removal" or "cyst reduction." See "A Guide to Water Filters." However, unlike boiling or distilling, filtering as just described will not eliminate other potential disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Ultraviolet light treatment of water is not effective against Cryptosporidium at normally-used levels.