In the United States, most people receive drinking water from federally regulated systems. These systems are equipped with advanced technologies to ensure clean water standards are met under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to monitor all public water systems and set health standards regarding the contaminants in drinking water. Environmental health professionals are trained to identify issues that impact water systems. They ensure that each community’s water source is evaluated and maintained. If the water supply becomes contaminated, the supplier has 24 hours to inform customers of any violation.

Discussion Points:
• What are the potential causes of water pollution in your work area?
• Why is it necessary to perform a water analysis?
• Who should pollution incidents be reported to?
• What are the two basic sources of drinking water?
• This organization has provided guidance on drinking-water quality for more than 50 years?

Water suppliers are responsible for the quality and safety of water production. This is accomplished through good operating practices, quality control, and preventive maintenance. It involves the implementation of safeguards in the production and distribution and routine testing of drinking-water quality to ensure compliance with national standards and institutional targets. There are two basic sources of drinking water: groundwater and surface waters, which include rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Groundwater requires little or no treatment, whereas surface waters often require extensive treatment. A risk management strategy requires an understanding of the hazards that may impact the quality of drinking water. A Water Safety Plan is developed by water suppliers for the control of water production, treatment, and delivery of drinking water, up to the point of consumption.

The World Health Organization produced guidance on the management of drinking-water quality in 1958 when it published the International Standards for Drinking Water. The standards were revised in 1963 and 1971 and replaced in 1984 by the Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality (GDWQ). Subsequent editions of the GDWQ were published in 1993, 2004, 2011, and 2017 and the addenda were published in 2021 and 2022. The Guidelines are updated through a rolling revision process to ensure that the GDWQ presents the latest scientific evidence and maintains relevance, quality, and integrity.

As always, be safe out there!