Small System Contaminants
The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world. However, national statistics don't tell you specifically about the quality and safety of the water coming out of your tap. That's because drinking water quality varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives.
More than 94 percent of the nation’s 156,000 public water systems serve fewer than 3,300 persons. Given their small customer base, many small water systems cannot develop or access the technical, managerial and financial resources needed to comply with the increasing number of national regulations and rising customer expectations.
In nature, all water contains some impurities. As water flows in streams, sits in lakes, and filters through layers of soil and rock in the ground, it dissolves or absorbs the substances that it touches. Some of these substances are harmless. However, at certain levels minerals, just like man-made chemicals, are considered contaminants that can make water unpalatable or even unsafe. Some contaminants come from erosion of natural rock formations. Other contaminants are substances discharged from factories, applied to farmlands, or used by consumers in their homes and yards. Sources of contaminants might be in your neighborhood or might be many miles away.
Small systems deal with the following contaminants:
- Candidate Contaminant List
- Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- Giardia (PDF) (5 pp, 77 Kb) | Health Advisory Information (PDF) (42 pp, 744 Kb)
- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)
- Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products