Individual and small water systems account for the majority of waterborne disease outbreaks recorded in the United States each year. To address this problem a project was undertaken to develop a comprehensive self-assessment toolbox that could be used by small water system personnel to determine where their system has the greatest potential risks from microbial contamination. The toolbox components consist of: (1) a survey that asks specific questions; (2) a ranking tool that computes numerical scores for water system components based on survey answers; (3) comments and results from the ranking tool; (4) a guidance document to help the user understand why certain conditions may represent a risk; and (5) instructions for using the toolbox. A unique feature of the ranking tool is the ability to input expert opinion in the form of scores for each answer and weighting factors. Weighting factors are derived using ranked, pairwise comparisons, and then used to determine numerical scores for system components. Toolbox administrators are allowed to modify weighting factors used by the ranking tool application, thus allowing input of expert opinion.

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