Drinking Water: What you need to know

Public drinking water systems are federally regulated by the EPA. States and tribes, provide drinking water to 90 percent of all Americans. These public drinking water systems, which may be publicly- or privately-owned, serve at least 25 people or 15 service connections for at least 60 days per year. Through the Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) program, EPA implements and enforces drinking water standards to protect public health. The EPA does not regulate drinking water wells that supply water to fewer than 25 people.

Drinking Water Standards
The Environmental Protection Agency sets standards that, when combined with protecting ground water and surface water, are a critical to ensuring safe drinking water. The EPA works with its regional offices, states, tribes and its many partners to protect public health through implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Information and Guidance
The Capacity Development Program is designed to help improve the technical, financial and managerial capacity of small systems. The EPA has developed a range of tools to help small water systems operators and owners understand the Safe Drinking Water Act regulatory requirements and capacity-building concepts. EPA has also developed various guidance documents for states to use in implementing capacity development programs.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm

What are Small Systems?
There are approximately 170,000 public water systems in the United States. EPA classifies these water systems according to the number of people they serve, the source of their water, and whether they serve the same customers year-round or on an occasional basis. The EPA generally considers small systems as those serving fewer than 3,300 persons.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm

What is Capacity Development?
Capacity development is a State effort to help drinking water systems improve their finances, management, infrastructure, and operations so they can provide safe drinking water consistently, reliably, and cost-effectively. More specifically, the capacity development provisions provide an exceptionally flexible framework within which States and water systems can work together to ensure that systems acquire and maintain the technical, financial, and capacity to consistently achieve the health objectives of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/capdev.htm