Consumer's Guide To The Nation's Drinking Water
Safe Is My Drinking Water?
Does My Drinking Water Come From And How Is It Treated?
Do We Use Drinking Water In Our Homes?
Being Done To Improve Water Security?
Can I Do If There Is A Problem With My Drinking Water?
Safe Is The Drinking Water In My Household Well?
You Can Do To Protect Your Drinking Water
Primary Drinking Water Standards as of 10/03 (.pdf)
of Additional Information
What You Can Do To Protect Your Drinking Water
Drinking water protection
is a shared responsibility. Many actions are underway to protect our nation's
drinking water, and there are many opportunities for citizens to become
EPA activities to
protect drinking water include setting drinking water standards and overseeing
the work of states that enforce federal standards-or stricter ones set
by the individual state. EPA holds many public meetings on issues ranging
from proposed drinking water standards to the development of databases.
You can also comment on proposed drafts of other upcoming EPA documents.
A list of public meetings and regulations open for comment can be found
- Read the annual
Consumer Confidence Report provided by your water supplier. Some Consumer
Confidence Reports are available at www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo.htm.
- Use information
from your state's Source Water Assessment to learn about potential threats
to your water source.
- If you are one of
the 15 percent of Americans who uses a private source of drinking water-such
as a well, cistern, or spring-find out what activities are taking place
in your watershed
that may impact your drinking water; talk to local experts/ test your
water periodically; and maintain your well properly.
- Find out if the
Clean Water Act standards for your drinking water source are intended
to protect water for drinking, in addition to fishing and swimming.
- Look around your
watershed and look for announcements in the local media about activities
that may pollute your drinking water.
- Form and
operate a citizens watch network within your community to communicate
regularly with law enforcement, your public water supplier and wastewater
operator. Communication is key to a safer community!
- Be alert.
Get to know your water/wastewater utilities, their vehicles, routines
and their personnel.
- Become aware
of your surroundings. This will help you to recognize suspicious
activity as opposed to normal daily activities.
- If you see any suspicious
activities in or around your water supply, please notify local authorities
or call 9-1-1 immediately to report the incident.
Ways To Get Involved
- Attend public
hearings on new construction, storm water permitting, and town
- Keep your
public officials accountable by asking to see their environmental
- Ask questions
about any issue that may affect your water source.
with your government and your water system as they make funding
or help recruit volunteers to participate in your community's
contaminant monitoring activities.
- Help ensure
that local utilities that protect your water have adequate resources
to do their job.
threatens our sources of drinking water. As this water washes over
roofs, pavement, farms and grassy areas, it picks up fertilizers,
pesticides and litter, and deposits them in surface water and ground
water. Here are some other threats to our drinking water:
- We apply
67 million pounds of pesticides that contain toxic and harmful
chemicals to our lawns.
- We produce
more than 230 million tons of municipal solid water-approximately
five pounds of trash or garbage per person per day-that contain
bacteria, nitrates, viruses, synthetic detergents, and household
- Our more
than 12 million recreational and houseboats and 10,000 boat marinas
release solvents, gasoline, detergents, and raw sewage directly
into our rivers, lakes and streams.
- Reduce paved areas:
use permeable surfaces that allow rain to soak through, not run off.
- Reduce or eliminate
pesticide application: test your soil before applying chemicals, and
use plants that require little or no water, pesticides, or fertilizers.
- Reduce the amount
of trash you create: reuse and recycle.
- Recycle used oil:
1 quart of oil can contaminate 2 million gallons of drinking water-take
your used oil and antifreeze to a service station or recycling center.
- Take the bus instead
of your car one day a week: you could prevent 33 pounds of carbon dioxide
emissions each day.
- Keep pollutants
away from boat marinas and waterways: keep boat motors well-tuned to
prevent leaks, select nontoxic cleaning products and use a drop cloth,
and clean and maintain boats away from the water.
For more information
on how you can help protect your local drinking water source, call the
Drinking Water Hotline, or check www.epa.gov/safewater/publicoutreach.
Additional resources are listed in Appendix