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Water Quality

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Who is responsible for drinking water quality?

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the responsibility for setting national drinking water standards that protect the health of the 250 million people who get their water from public water systems.  Other people get their water from private wells which are not subject to Federal Regulations.  Since 1974, EPA has set national safety standards for over 80 contaminants that may occur in drinking water.

While EPA and state governments set and enforce standards, local governments and private water suppliers have direct responsibility for the quality of the water that flows to your tap.   Water systems test and treat their water, maintain the distribution systems that deliver water to consumers, and report on their water quality to the state.  States and EPA provide technical assistance to water suppliers and can take legal action against systems that fail to provide water that meets state and EPA standards. 

For more information

What is a violation of a drinking water standard?

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the responsibility for setting national drinking water standards that protect the health of the 250 million people who get their water from public water systems.  Other people get their water from private wells which are not subject to Federal Regulations.  Since 1974, EPA has set national safety standards for over 80 contaminants that may occur in drinking water.

While EPA and state governments set and enforce standards, local governments and private water suppliers have direct responsibility for the quality of the water that flows to your tap.   Water systems test and treat their water, maintain the distribution systems that deliver water to consumers, and report on their water quality to the state.  States and EPA provide technical assistance to water suppliers and can take legal action against systems that fail to provide water that meets state and EPA standards. 

For more information

How can I help protect drinking water?

Using the new information that is now available about drinking water, citizens can both be aware of the challenges of keeping drinking water safe and take an active role in protecting drinking water.  There are lots of ways that individuals can get involved.  Some people will help clean up the watershed that is the source of their community's water.  Other people might get involved in wellhead protection activities to prevent the contamination of the ground water source that provides water to their community.  These people will be able to make use of the information that states and water systems are gathering as they assess their sources of water. 

Other people will want to attend public meetings to ensure that the community's need for safe drinking water is considered in making decisions about land use.  You may wish to participate as your state and water system make funding decisions.  And all consumers can do their part to conserve water and to dispose properly of household chemicals. 

For more information:

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