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Risk Management Drinking Water Research

Only 1 percent of the earth’s water is available for drinking water

Only 1% of the earth’s water is available for drinking water. Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect the public’s health by ensuring safe drinking water. Under this law, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and assists the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards. EPA, states, and water utilities work together to make sure these standards are met.

Arsenic  Arsenic is an element found naturally in soil, in the bedrock that underlies the soil, in ground water, and in ocean water. Human activities can release arsenic into the environment. Research has shown that arsenic can accumulate in solids found in drinking water distribution systems.

Contaminants  Today, our nation's drinking water supply is one of the cleanest in the world. Even so, microbes, chemicals, and pathogens are still a concern. EPA has set standards for about 90 contaminants that can affect drinking water.

Corrosion  Corrosion is the degradation of metal. In water distribution systems, it can lower our drinking water quality. EPA’s research helps control corrosion and reduces the release of metals into our drinking water distribution systems.

Distribution Systems Research  Throughout the world, millions of miles of water distribution pipeline provide drinking water for individual and industry use. Some of these water distribution systems have been in service for more than 100 years. Our water delivery systems need attention. EPA's research supports clean drinking water solutions in some of the most interesting areas of study.

Small Systems  Water distribution systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people are small systems. Small systems face unique challenges when it comes to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and protecting human health.

Treatment Technologies  The technologies used to treat water so that it’s safe for human consumption is an important area of research for EPA. Scientists develop treatment technologies to address the formation and removal of disinfection by-products, contamination, and innovative technologies for treatment of wastewater and reclaimed water.

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