The Safe Drinking Water Act Essay

The Safe Drinking Water Act Essay

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The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans ' drinking water. SDWA was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation 's public drinking water supply. The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. SDWA authorizes the United States environmental protection agency to set a health based standard for drinking water to protect from naturally occurring and manmade contaminants in the drinking water. both, US EPA, states, and water systems work together to meet this standards. There are a number of threats to drinking water such as chemical disposal, animal wastes, pesticides, human threats and naturally-occurring substances can all contaminate drinking water.

US EPA sets primary water standards through 3 steps. First, US EPA identifies contaminants that may adversely affect public health and occur in drinking water with a frequency and at levels that pose a threat to public health. US EPA identifies these contaminants for further study, and determines contaminants to potentially regulate. Second, US EPA determines a maximum contaminant level goal for contaminants it decides to regulate. This goal is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. These goals allow for a margin of safety . Third, US EPA specifies a maximum contaminant level, the maximum permissible level of a contaminant in drinking water which is delivered to any user of a public water system. These levels are enforceable standards,




and are set as close to the goals as feasible. SDWA defines feasib...


... middle of paper ...


... on a case by- case basis, alternate water treatments that are less expensive, but still protective of public health. SDWA recognizes that since everyone drinks water, everyone has the right to know what’s in it and
where it comes from. All water suppliers must notify consumers quickly when there is a
serious problem with water quality. Water systems serving the same people year-round must provide annual consumer confidence reports on the source and quality of their tap water. States and US EPA must prepare annual summary reports of water system compliance with drinking water safety standards and make these reports available to the public. The public must have a chance to be involved in developing source water assessment
programs, state plans to use drinking water state revolving loan funds, state capacity development plans, and state operator certification programs.

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