Regulations for Clean and Safe Water
With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, Americans thought their public water systems would provide clean water. While these laws have helped to set standards that ensure we have access to safe drinking water, recent news headlines have shown us that isn’t always the case.
Although life-threatening diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, have been almost eradicated with the implementation of water sanitation, there are still concerns when it comes to the safety of public water. Despite regulations that are in place to ensure that Americans have clean water, many public water systems are still facing issues with contaminants such as lead, pesticides, and bacteria.
Setting standards for evaluating drinking water quality is addressed in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to establish a set of minimum standards to ensure clean water and requires all public water companies to comply with these standards. The EPA approves state governments to implement their water safety rules. The Act also requires the EPA to enforce minimum standards for states to protect their underground drinking water sources.
The Ten Worst States for Clean Water
Clean water quality is determined by the number of Safe Drinking Water Act violation points per 1,000 residents served. According to a list from US News, Alaska was the state with the worst drinking water quality based on 27 violations per 1,000 residents served. That’s 300 times the number of violations than what was reported in the best water quality state. The ten worst states were reported to be:
The Ten Best States for Clean Water
It’s not all bad news though. There are some states that take their water quality very seriously. Hawaii holds the honor of the number one state for clean water with only 0.09 violations per 1,000 people. Hawaii was joined in the top ten for clean water by these states:
Learn More About the Quality of Your Local Water
If your water comes from a public source, the water company is required to provide you with an annual report, known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides details about your local drinking water quality. It will also list details about the water’s source as well as levels of any contaminants found in the water.
Not everyone may receive a CCR. Typically they are sent to the person who pays the water bill. This means that if you live in an apartment, a condominium, or a rental house, you most likely will not receive an annual CCR. In these cases, you can request one from your landlord, property manager, or homeowner’s association. You may also have access to local CCR reports that are posted online by the water company.
People who get their water from private sources such as ground water wells do not receive CCRs. The EPA does not regulate private wells, so there are no testing requirements for a CCR. The well’s owner is responsible for testing and maintaining the quality of the water. If your water comes from a private well, you can test the safety of your water quickly and easily with a well water testing kit from TestAsssured.
Understanding the Contaminants in Your Water
If you do get a CCR, it is important to know that some of the contaminants listed can be harmful to your health, while others may actually be good for you. For example, the report lists the amount of disinfectant in the water. This is the chlorine or chloramine that is added to the water to kill germs and harmful bacteria. These chemicals are listed as contaminants because they are not naturally found in water, but they have been added to protect your health.
Test Your Water
If you want to know what’s in your water on a more regular basis, you can test your water yourself. Many of the contaminants that are cause for concern can easily go undetected. They are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Understanding and knowing which contaminants to test for is the first step to making sure your family’s drinking water is safe. TestAssured sells a variety of economic testing kits that let you test your water at home as often as you’d like. You can even compare your testing results to what was reported in your CCR. If you have concerns about your test results, your CCR, or your water quality in general, check out the EPA’s water quality resource page.