Drinking Water Regulations

The OGWDW (which stands for Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water), with its many partners, ensure that americans all over the land have safe drinking water and protected ground water.

OGWDW, along with the EPA’s 10 regional drinking water programs, oversees and ensures implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America.

These days, drinking water suppliers provide consumer confidence reports that describe where the drinking water comes from, and what contaminants may be found it the water. You can read the water quality report online, or you may contact the water supplier to get a copy.

By July First of each year, consumers should receive a consumer confidence report, or drinking water quality report from the local water supplier.


The EPA does regulate public water systems, but it does not regulate private drinking water wells. 15% of Americans (approximately) rely on private drinking water supplies, and these are not subject to EPA standards, although there are some state and local governments who have set rules to protect well users too.

Public drinking water systems serve many people, but private wells are for little use only. Therefore the state and local governments don’t have inspectors checking the well water’s source on a regular basis. People relying on private water supplies, need to take special precautions to ensure the maintenance and protection of their drinking water supplies.

Keep distances from water to contamination sources To keep well water safe, it must be ensured that sources of contamination are not close by. Experts suggest distances as a minimum for protection, and the farther the better.

The EPA maintains Regional Office web sites for private drinking water wells information.

Seems practical. All safe. huh?

NOT REALLY.

According to a notice released on June 12, 2007, from the ATSDR, for nearly Thirty years, a family housing area of the Marine Base Lejeune, in North Carolina, had it’s drinking water contaminated with a dry-cleaning solvent known as tetrachloroethylene (PCE) or PERC.

ATSDR stands for Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The Tarawa Terrace family housing area at Marine Camp Lejeune NC, had it’s drinking water system contaminated from Nov. ’57 through Feb ’87.

The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) determined that tetrachloroethylene may be a carcinogen. However, the effects of humans exposure to drinking water contaminated with this contaminate are yet to be known.

Accroding to ATSDR, as many as 75,000 residents are estimated to have lived in the camp family housing units. Families lived in base housing an average of about 2 years.

How did the contamination occur?

The solvent leaked into the drinking water system from a dry cleaner. In 1987, when the problem was discovered, the Tarawa Terrace treatment plant was disconnected from the marine base’ drinking water supply system because of the contamination.

PCE is in a class of chemicals known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds. These are associated with anencephaly, cleft lip, spina bifida, cleft palate, leukemia & non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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