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Regulation of Municipal Tap Water PDF Print E-mail

Tap Water Regulation in the US


Few people are fortunate to have access to free flowing spring water, especially customers of community water systems.  EPA regulations are pushing public spring water systems to drill wells if evidence of small amounts of microbial contamination are found.  Homeowners who rely on spring water are more likely to be intimately involved with their water source to assure reliability.


Community water systems that rely on groundwater require fewer chemicals, and sometimes do not require any disinfection.  In Nov. 2006, EPA issued the Ground Water Rule “to provide additional protection from disease-causing microorganisms.  Water systems that have ground water sources may be susceptible to fecal contamination.  The rule also applies to any system that mixes surface and ground water if the ground water is added directly to the distribution system and provided to consumers without treatment.”  The rule requires increased monitoring and corrective action such as disinfection, source protection, or finding an alternate source.*


EPA regulates arsenic, lead and copper, radon, MTBE, and radionuclides in municipal water.  The Microbials & Disinfection Byproducts Rules present major challenges for water suppliers as they attempt to balance the risks from microbial pathogens and disinfection byproducts while complying with much more stringent regulations called Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule.

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