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Water On Tap What You Need To Know

FCIC: Water On Tap: What You Need To Know

Water On Tap
what you need to know

Office of Water (4601)
EPA 816-K-03-007
October 2003

Cover of Water On Tap

Table of Contents

1. A Consumer's Guide To The Nation's Drinking Water

2. How Safe Is My Drinking Water?

3. Where Does My Drinking Water Come From And How Is It Treated?

4. How Do We Use Drinking Water In Our Homes?

5. What's Being Done To Improve Water Security?

6. What Can I Do If There Is A Problem With My Drinking Water?

7. How Safe Is The Drinking Water In My Household Well?

8. What You Can Do To Protect Your Drinking Water

Appendix A: National Primary Drinking Water Standards as of 10/03 (.pdf)

Appendix B: References

Appendix C: Sources of Additional Information

Appendix D: Glossary

.pdf version

1. A Consumer's Guide To The Nation's Drinking Water
(.pdf version)

The United States enjoys one of the best supplies of drinking water in the world. Nevertheless, many of us who once gave little or no thought to the water that comes from our taps are now asking the question: "Is my water safe to drink?" While tap water that meets federal and state standards is generally safe to drink, threats to drinking water are increasing. Short-term disease outbreaks and water restrictions during droughts have demonstrated that we can no longer take our drinking water for granted.

Consumers have many questions about their drinking water. How safe is my drinking water? What is being done to improve security of public water systems? Where does my drinking water come from, and how is it treated? Do private wells receive the same protection as public water systems? What can I do to help protect my drinking water?

This booklet provides the answers to these and other frequently asked questions.

This booklet also directs you to more detailed sources of information. Often, you will be directed to a page on the EPA website. Additionally, the Safe Drinking Water Hotline is available to answer your questions. Please also see Appendix C for more resources. Refer to the Glossary (Appendix D) for definitions of words in bold font.

What you need to know to protect your family

Sensitive Subpopulations

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. People undergoing chemotherapy or living with HIV/AIDS, transplant patients, children and infants, the frail elderly, and pregnant women and their fetuses can be particularly at risk for infections.

If you have special health care needs, consider taking additional precautions with your drinking water, and seek advice from your health care provider. For more information, see

You will find information on bottled water and home water treatment units in this booklet. You may also contact NSF International, Underwriter's Laboratory, or the Water Quality Association. Contact information is located in Appendix C.

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