Millions of Americans Are Drinking Contaminated Water-and Don't Even Know It

Millions of Americans drink water that doesn't meet federal standards

Millions of Americans drink water that doesn't meet federal standards

Almost 77 million people were served by water systems with at least one violation of the drinking water rules in 2015, according to analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data conducted by the National Resources Defense Council. But just 58 are considered "health-based" violations, such as exceeding maximum contaminant levels and failure to comply with treatment techniques.

About 19.5 million Americans get sick each year from pathogens found in contaminated public drinking water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Overall, the EPA has established primary drinking water regulations for about 100 of the many thousands of known or anticipated contaminants that appear in tap water", said the report.

He said his research team, which played a major role working on the Flint, Michigan water crisis, was inundated with calls from people in rural America looking for help.

Strengthen all drinking water enforcement mechanisms.

But the department argues with the report's methodology of determining how many residents are affected by water system issues. This news comes as the Trump administration eyes deep budget cuts to programs safeguarding drinking water and public health.

Olson said that even among the health violations, eight in 10 faced no formal enforcement action and few water systems faced penalties.

Suez, which provides drinking water to much of Bergen and Hudson counties, had 23 violations of federal safe drinking water rules in 2015, largely for failing to adequately monitor for an array of contaminants one month.

A new Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report names Washington as the state with the second highest number of people served by health-violating water systems in the country.

The agency's analysis found that 18,000 municipal water systems across the United States were cited for at least one violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.

Health-based violations were most frequently triggered by chemical byproducts of disinfection treatments that are linked to cancer, or the failure to properly treat surface and groundwater to remove risky pathogens.

Although the SDWA allows the EPA to identify drinking-water contaminants and set new rules that establish their maximum acceptable levels, two decades have passed since the EPA set a new standard or reviewed the old ones. Jamie Consuegra, an NRDC legislative director, said that would only further weaken the agency's ability to ensure that safe drinking water regulations are followed by water systems.

A new threat to the nation's water supplies comes in the form of dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2018 budget-including programs created to safeguard our nation's drinking water-despite President Trump's recognition that "crystal clear water" is vitally important to the country. "There's no cop on the beat - no one's enforcing the law", he said.

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