What do you know about H-2-O?

The Schuylkill River, one of Philadelphia’s drinking water sources.

The Schuylkill River, one of Philadelphia’s drinking water sources.

by Patti Kay Wisniewski

Do you ever wonder about the quality of your drinking water? Perhaps the recent train derailments and other chemical spills have piqued your interest. Where does your drinking water comes from? How is it treated? What is being done to protect it?

For over fifteen years, EPA has required water suppliers to provide their customers with an annual water quality report (also known as a Consumer Confidence Report). This report includes information such as the source of the drinking water, recent monitoring results, violations, and how to obtain more information from your water company.

Recently, water systems have been able to share this information electronically. If you are living in an apartment and do not receive a water bill, many water companies are now allowing consumers to receive these reports through email. Customers that receive a water bill should look for either a paper copy of this important report, or where it is available online. Your water company’s website may also highlight the report, or you can contact your water company and ask for a copy.

Drinking Water Week (May 3-9 this year) is a great time to check out the many EPA webpages devoted to the operation of water systems and consumers learning more about how to protect their drinking water. You can learn the basics of drinking water, take a virtual tour of a water treatment plant, and find out how to prepare an emergency kit that includes enough drinking water for you and your family.


About the author: Patti Kay Wisniewski has worked in the drinking water program for close to 30 years covering such topics as emergency preparedness, consumer confidence reports, and the new electronic delivery option.


Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.