The United States Environmental Protection Agency, USEPA, has recognized the need for each public water supply to have adequate managerial, financial and technical resources in order to operate in compliance with State and federal drinking water standards and requirements. These managerial, financial and technical abilities are called "capacity." USEPA refers to the implementation of these three program elements as "capacity development," and to the documentation of these elements as a "capacity development demonstration." Illinois, as a primacy agent for enforcement of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, has implemented a capacity development program.
The primary goal of the Capacity Development program is to ensure that those who drink water in Illinois and across the country receive safe, potable water from each and every public water supply tap. Full Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) participation in the implementation of capacity development will benefit the water consumers of Illinois by providing the direct assistance needed by water supplies to operate in compliance with all drinking water regulations. Consistent vigilance over the entire public water supply operation will ensure that technical equipment and processes are correctly operated, communication between operators and managers facilitated, and information to assist in managerial and financial planning for both emergency operations and future regulations is handled in a timely manner to promote planning. The Capacity Development program emphasizes assistance with a goal of working together toward compliance, versus contact as an outcome of violation response (outside routine evaluations). Education and information for new officials, as well as assistance with changing technologies and regulations, are important deliverables that the Illinois EPA provides to public water supply officials and operators.