Drinking Water Exposure to Chemical and Pathogenic Contaminants: Privately Owned Wells
Although the drinking water for millions of Americans comes from their own private wells little is known about the quality of that water on a national scale. The Safe Drinking Water Act established a regulatory and policy role for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health associated with public drinking water supplies. Therefore drinking water standards and the associated compliance monitoring infrastructure for municipal wells currently exist on a national scale. Privately owned wells, however, are not monitored for drinking water standard compliance on a national scale because the SDWA did not include these wells. Consequently there are no national programs in place to create the databases necessary to assess and track the water quality of privately owned wells.
The U.S. Geological Survey has recently released a series of reports on the quality of privately owned well water. The data used for these assessments came from various local studies as well as national programs of the USGS. These databases and associated information are among the first to explore the issue of privately owned water quality on a national scale.