EPA names November and December "drinking water protection" months

Nov. 6, 2002
As part of the Year of Clean Water, EPA is observing "drinking water protection" months in November and December.

Nov. 6, 2002 -- As part of the Year of Clean Water, EPA is observing "drinking water protection" months in November and December.

The US has the safest drinking water in the world: 91 percent of people served by public water systems now drink water meeting all federal health based standards - up from 79 percent in 1993. Even so, there is a lot we need to do to make sure water is safe for everybody.

No matter where we live, our drinking water originates in a watershed, a land area that drains to a single body of water that may be surface water or ground water. These watersheds are constantly under siege from multiple threats.

As rain washes over roofs, pavement, farms, and grassy areas, and as snow melts and soaks into the ground, it picks up pollution and deposits it into surface water and ground water.

As our population expands, our need for food, shelter, clothing, electricity and recreation places more demands on our water supply. As the number of households and businesses increase, so does the amount of natural resources we consume and the amount of waste we produce. These are just a few of the activities that create pollution that can enter our drinking water sources:

* Over-application and abuse of pesticides and fertilizers -- 67 million pounds of pesticides annually;
* Overburdened land fills - 230 million tons annually; 5 pounds per person per day;
* Huge volumes of animal waste - half a million animal factory farms produce 130 times the amount of waste of the human population; and
* Careless or ignorant activities at home, work, and play - 12 million recreational and house boats and 10,000 boat marinas release solvents, gasoline, detergents, and raw sewage directly into waterways.

This pollution is caused by humans, but choices we make in our communities and as individuals can help eliminate it and greatly reduce threats to our drinking water. Four basic protective barriers help keep water safe to drink:

Prevention: Keep contaminants out of the drinking water source to protect the environment and reduce the need for costly treatment.

Risk management: Support your local utilities. Your public water system makes sure pollution that has entered source water is removed before it is distributed to the community. Water utilities treat nearly 34 billion gallon of water daily. The total miles of water pipeline and aqueducts equal approximately one million miles - enough to circle the globe 40 times.

Risk and compliance monitoring: Learn about your drinking water quality. Our communities constantly monitor water quality - at the source, at the treatment plant, in the distribution system which delivers water to our homes, and, in some cases, at the tap. Your local water system can provide you with this information. If you receive water from a private well, make sure it is tested annually.

Individual action: The actions we take as individuals really do add up when it comes to protecting our water.

* Be informed! Read the annual Consumer Confidence Report provided by your water system.
* Be involved! Speak up at public hearings on land use and permitting.
* Be observant! Report any suspicious activities in or around your water supply to local authorities or call 911 immediately. Look for announcements in the local media for activities that could pollute your source water.
* Don't contaminate! Reduce or eliminate pesticide application. Reduce the amount of trash you create. Recycle used oil. Reduce paved areas. Keep pollutants away from boat marinas and waterways.

In celebration of the Year of Clean Water, November/December is source water protection month. For more ideas and resource materials on protecting drinking water, see http://www.epa.gov/safewater or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 (800) 426- 4791.

Also visit EPA's Year of Clean Water web site at http://www.epa.gov/water/yearofcleanwater/ .

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity