Protecting drinking water means focusing not only what comes out of the tap, but on protecting our drinking water sources in the first place. Today we got some good news on that front. Actions by Members of Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today are a timely reminder of the connection between stopping pollution and safe drinking water.
Led by Rep. Pallone of NJ, House Energy and Commerce Committee members introduced a bill to update the Safe Drinking Water Act that would increase oversight, investment and innovation to improve drinking water quality. Despite high-profile drinking water disruptions including the crisis in Flint, Michigan, the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia and increasing toxic algal blooms like the one in Toldeo, Ohio in 2014 we still don’t always put drinking water first.
Drinking water may come from surface water or ground water. Water that is open to the atmosphere, such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, is known as surface water. Surface water typically undergoes a series of treatment processes before being piped through distribution systems to homes, schools, and businesses.
Water pumped from wells drilled into underground aquifers (geologic formations containing water) is called ground water. Over a third of people in the United States rely on ground water from public water systems or private wells.