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Drinking Water FAQ from the CDC
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where does my drinking water come from?
- The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from either surface water or ground water. Surface water collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Ground water is water located below the ground where it collects in pores and spaces within rocks and in underground aquifers. We obtain ground water by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.Public water systems provide water from surface and ground water for public use. Water treatment systems are either government or privately-held facilities. Surface water systems withdraw water from the source, treat it, and deliver it to our homes. Ground water systems also withdraw and deliver water, but they do not always treat it. For more information on public water systems, visit CDC’s Public Water Systems page. For more information on how public water systems treat water, visit CDC’s Water Treatment page.
A private well uses ground water as its water source. Owners of private wells and other individual water systems are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants. For more information on private wells and individual water systems, visit CDC’s Private Wells page.
Public Water Systems
- What type of health issues can be related to water quality?
- The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons may be especially at risk for becoming ill after drinking contaminated water. For example, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Federal law requires that systems reduce certain contaminants to set levels, in order to protect human health.
- How do I know that the water in my home is safe to drink?
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for making sure that public water supplies within the United States are safe. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law sought to protect the nation’s public drinking water supply by giving EPA authority to set the standards for drinking water quality and oversee the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards. In 1986 and 1996, the law was amended to protect drinking water and its sources, which include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells.
- How do contaminants (germs and chemicals) get into my drinking water?
- There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants:
- Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
- Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
- Manufacturing processes
- Sewer overflows
- Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)
- Many contaminants that pose known human health risks are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA makes sure that water meets certain standards, so you can be sure that high levels of contaminants are not in your water.
- Who do I need to contact to find out more information about water quality in my area?
- Every community water supplier must provide an annual report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report, or “CCR,” to its customers. The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water.
- How often does our public water system test our drinking water?
- Frequency of drinking water testing depends on the number of people served, the type of water source, and types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested for more frequently than others, as set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act. You can find out about levels of regulated contaminants in your treated water for the preceding calendar year in your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).Learn more about your CCR and water quality in your area.
- What common contaminants are included in this testing?
- The EPA sets standards and regulations for the presence and amount of over 90 different contaminants in public drinking water, including E.coli, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium species. More information regarding the specific contaminants and maximum contaminant levels can be found on the EPA’s website (Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List and Regulatory Determinations).
- The complete CDC FAQ page.
- RainSoft water conditioning and drinking water systems are designed to meet a variety of water quality challenges, providing you with effective, affordable water conditioning solutions for achieving the best possible water quality for your home.Our water conditioning systems incorporate our proprietary EC4 technology, a system that learns how your family uses water and adjusts for water consumption and salt usage, allowing your family to save money.
Our drinking water systems provide bottled water quality straight from the faucet. Ultrefiner RO drinking water systems are our premier reverse osmosis systems that utilize advanced technology for better tasting, cleaner water. Hydrefiner drinking water systems are installed under your kitchen sink and use a compressed carbon block filter to better treat and filter bad tastes and odors from your drinking water.