For the past couple days there have been rumors encompassing the capitol city.  It turns out they may have had some credence.  The following excerpt is from an email summarizing comments from the commissioner of DHHS in a staff meeting yesterday afternoon:

As part of the Governor’s change package which will be presented to the Legislature within the next week or two, the Drinking Water Program (including Subsurface Wastewater), Radiation Control Program and all the Boards and Commissions associated with them, will be transferred to the DEP.  The purpose of the change is to “create efficiencies, help consumers and share the values of public health”. If approved by the Legislature, the changes would take effect at the end of June or the beginning of July.


Currently, we do not expect that this will translate to any significant changes in the structure of our program.  If the proposal passes, we will remain for the time being in the same structure we’re in now, and at the same physical location (286 Water Street).  There are no anticipated elimination of jobs.  However, it is unknown at this time how the program would ultimately be integrated into the DEP’s structure.  We are asking Commissioner Aho to schedule a meeting with us to discuss her long term plans.

What does this mean for us?  I don’t have any reason to believe at this time much of anything will change.  We will still be governed by the same plumbing code, and supported by the fine staff of the DEH.  The DEH will now fall under the DEP instead of the DHHS.  I will keep you all informed as more information is available.

Tim Wade, LSE
President, MASE Board
Update: 4/15/15
The MASE Board collectively crafted a letter of opinion regarding this subject and delivered it to DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho.  This letter can be found here.  Ms. Aho’s response can be found here.
2 Responses to Important News! Subsurface Wastewater Unit eyes move with Drinking Water Program to DEP.
  1. Good reference Tim.
    This merger came up at the North Country Convention in Presque Isle for Wastewater Professionals.
    Comments noted the different missions of the two agencies;
    DEP – to protect the Environment
    DHHS – to protect Human Health.

    Would this not create a conflict between the two missions?
    What about the organizational chart and how this will play out in applied, day-to-day operations?
    Would the SSWWD application fees collected by the municipality that is currently transferred to DEP be modified?

    What do you think?
    Inquiring minds want to know.
    my best, Dave

  2. Dave,
    Check the update in the original post above for additional fodder.

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