Every year, we receive many questions from our members about the Small Water Systems Management Program (SWSMP) that the State requires (Washington Administrative Code 246-290-105) of all Group A systems. Indeed, when you pull up the official Guide for preparing the SWSMP on your computer it does seem overwhelming (82 pages !!!! for Heaven’s sake) and that induces the urge to put off working on it for another day.

Meanwhile, water keeps flowing out to our neighbors and problems of ownership and operations keep coming up – and even the most dedicated and competent water boards struggle to understand and meet their responsibilities. Well, the number ONE responsibility of the Whidbey Island Water Systems Association is to be the focal point for information on water system operations and maintenance … and the number TWO responsibility is to inform our members about government laws and rules. So, our Board of Directors decided to use the rest of the meeting time that we will have with our members this year (3 quarterly meetings) to help them to draft their SWSMP’s.

The State’s Guide (DOH Document #331-134) divides the SWSMP into three chapters: Managerial, Technical and Financial. We will use the time available at our next three quarterly members’ meetings to concentrate on each of these chapters in turn – beginning with presentations on every element of the Managerial Chapter at our meeting at the Coupeville Library, 5:00 to 7:00 pm on June 13th. By the end of this year, we hope that the loose-leaf binders that we will provide, filled with the detailed information that we will help you to develop, will satisfy the State’s requirements. How about that for a sensible goal?
By the way, you have often heard me say that the safest thing for a Group B system to do is “to act like a Group A system.” These meetings on the SWSMP will provide everything that is important to know to run a Group B system in the most responsible way!

Warm regards, Jim Patton