Frequently Asked Questions About Source Water

How does the Safe Drinking Water Act address source water protection?

The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act provide a new approach for EPA and states. In addition to relying on standards and regulations that address water safety at the tap, measures are in place to ensure the quality of drinking water by protecting it from the source to the tap.

Every state now has an approved source water assessment program and has completed source water assessments for most public water systems. Each assessment identifies the area of land that most directly contributes the raw water used for drinking water and evaluates the risk of contamination of the water system.

Drinking water suppliers now provide reports, called consumer confidence reports, that explain where your drinking water comes from and what contaminants might be in it. EPA provides funding to states through the drinking water state revolving fund for assessment and protection activities.

Drinking water protection approaches must be tailored to each unique local situation. Although most source water protection efforts are primarily utility, state, or locally led, a variety of federal tools can be used, such as those available through the Clean Water Act, Underground Injection Control Program, and various agricultural programs.

This information is adapted from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Source Water Protection Web site found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/.