Ensuring Safe Drinking Water During Home Remodel Projects in the US

The United States has one of the safest and most reliable drinking water systems in the world. Every year, millions of people living in the US get their tap water from a public community water system. The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from a surface or underground water source. Surface water accumulates in streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs, while groundwater is found below the ground, where it accumulates in pores and spaces within rocks and in underground aquifers.

We obtain groundwater by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.Owners of private wells and other individual water systems are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants. All public water systems in the US are required to follow the rules and regulations established by the EPA. However, EPA regulations that protect public water systems do not apply to privately owned wells or other individual water systems. Private well owners are responsible for ensuring that the water in their wells is safe from contaminants.Contaminants in our water can cause health problems, such as gastrointestinal diseases, reproductive problems and neurological disorders.

Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may be at greater risk of getting sick after drinking contaminated water. For example, high levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.The EPA is responsible for ensuring that public water supplies in the US are safe. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect the country's public drinking water supply by giving the EPA the authority to establish drinking water quality standards and to oversee states, localities and water providers that implement those standards. In 1986 and 1996, the law was amended to protect drinking water and its sources.The EPA regulates many contaminants that pose known risks to human health.

Different water filters have different functions; some can make water taste better, while others can kill harmful chemicals or germs. Visit the CDC filter page for more information on home water filters.When water quality standards are not met, your public water system must alert and notify customers if there is a risk to their health. Your Annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is another way to learn about water quality in your area and find information on contaminants, potential health effects, and the source of the water.Every community water provider must provide an annual report to their customers known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides information on the quality of local drinking water, including the source of the water, the contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can participate in the protection of drinking water.The frequency of drinking water tests depends on the number of people served, the type of water source and the types of contaminants.

Certain contaminants are tested more frequently than others as set out in the Safe Drinking Water Act. Information on the levels of regulated contaminants in treated water during the previous calendar year can be found in your Annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).The EPA establishes standards and regulations for more than 90 different contaminants in public drinking water, including species of E. coli, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium. Visit the list of drinking water contaminants and EPA's regulatory determination website for more information.A change in taste, color or smell of your drinking water isn't necessarily a health problem; however sometimes it can be a sign of problems.

If you notice a change in your water supply, call your public water system company. If you want to test your own well or other individual system for contaminants you should contact your local health department or a state-certified laboratory.If there is a boil-water notice or other warning issued by your local public health department you should follow their instructions for disinfecting your drinking water. To find out more about boil-water notices visit your local CCR or contact your local health department.Main types of groundwater wells include dug wells, drilled wells and driven wells. As a private well owner you are responsible for testing your well to ensure that it is drinkable.

The EPA is responsible for ensuring that public drinking supplies meet certain standards so you can be sure that there are no high levels of contaminants present in your tap-water.

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