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Community Drinking Water Protect Yourself and Family

Arsenic

If your water comes from a municipal or privately-owned water company that meets the definition of a community water system, they are already testing for arsenic in your water.

Disinfection By-products

If your public water system has notified you of a disinfection by-product (DBP) violation, it does not mean that the people who consume the system's water will become sick. Also, because of the tighter regulations on DBPs that are beginning to go into effect, it does not necessarily mean that your exposure to DBPs has increased.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that water systems use treatment methods to reduce the formation of DBPs and to protect people from waterborne disease and the potential harmful effects of DBPs.

Lead

Children at risk of exposure to lead should be tested. Your doctor or local health center can perform a simple blood test to determine your child’s blood-lead level.

If you want to know if your home’s drinking water contains unsafe levels of lead, have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent.

Use cold water for drinking or cooking. Never cook or mix infant formula using hot water from the tap. Boiling your water will not get rid of lead.

Do not consume water that has sat in your home’s plumbing for more than six hours. First, make sure to run the water until you feel the temperature change before cooking, drinking, or brushing your teeth, unless otherwise instructed by your water utility.

Some faucet and pitcher filters can remove lead from drinking water. If you use a filter, be sure you get one that is certified to remove lead by the NSF International.

Nitrates

Nitrate is monitored once a year during the quarter that previously had the highest nitrate result. If a water system’s samples are less than 0.5 mg/L nitrite, the state specifies the frequency of additional monitoring. Initially, a water system samples quarterly for at least a year.

If the levels of nitrates/nitrites exceed their Maximum Contaminant Levels, the system must notify the public via newspapers, radio, TV, and other means. Additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.

Data and information for this site are still being developed and added.  We welcome your comments and feedback.

This effort is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000619-02. The contents of this Website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.