Just Add Water

A two year profile of drinking water quality in the US

Wednesday, May 1, 1996

Just Add Water

A two year profile of drinking water quality in the US

More than 45 million Americans in thousands of communities were served drinking water during 1994-1995 that was polluted with fecal matter, parasites, disease causing microbes, radiation, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and lead at levels that violated health standards established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. More than 18,500 public water supplies reported at least one violation of a federal drinking water health standard during this two year period. Tap water contaminated at levels above federal health standards is deemed unsafe by federal health authorities and represents a serious health threat to the affected community. All health standard violations reported in Just Add Water represent situations where people may have been made ill by drinking water that contained excessive levels of bacteria or biological contaminants, or situations where people have been drinking tap water that contains high amounts of toxic chemicals that cause cancer and other adverse health effects. The contaminants most commonly found in excess of federal health standards during 1994-1995 (Table A), were:

  • Fecal Coliform (E. Coli) and other disease-causing fecal matter. Violations of federal fecal coliform standards were reported by 2,726 systems serving 11.9 million people.
  • Chronic Coliform Bacteria, a measure of overall contamination of treated tap water with microbes, parasites, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Violations of federal chronic coliform bacteria standards were reported by 12,246 systems serving more than 24 million people.
  • Lead, which can cause permanent loss of mental capacity in young children exposed at levels over the federal health standard. Violations of federal lead standards were reported by 3,641 systems serving more than 5 million people.
  • Toxic Chemicals and Radiation, which among other adverse effects, can cause cancer, interfere with the endocrine (hormone) system, disrupt the reproductive process, and cause sometimes fatal oxygen deprivation (methemoglobinemia) in infants. Violations of federal toxic chemical and radiation standards were reported by 1,050 systems serving 2.3 million people.
  • Inadequate Disinfection and Failure to Filter. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires water systems that rely on rivers or reservoirs to adequately filter and disinfect the water. Failure to meet this standard can result in serious disease outbreaks. Violations of EPA standards for filtration and disinfection were reported by 1,478 systems serving more than 20 million people.

Table A: In 1994-1995, over 45 million Americans were supplied with tap water that failed to meet basic health standards*.

Health Standard Number of
Systems Reporting
a Violation
Population
Affected
Chronic Coliform Bacteria 12,246 24,719,235
Lead 3,641 5,039,219
Fecal Bacteria 2,726 11,915,103
Inadaquate Filtration or Disinfection 1,478 20,564,028
Nitrate 588 471,736
Industrial Chemicals and Pesticides 325 935,203
Radioactivity 88 279,543
Trihalomethanes 42 632,644
Any Violation or Exceedance 18,542 45,692,403

* Tabulated violations may be incomplete due to the government shutdown on 1994-1995 and the late filing of violations or exceedances of health standards.

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Schools, Daycare Centers, and Medical Facilities

Many schools, medical facilities, and daycare centers have their own water supplies. These systems provide tap water to infants, children and hospitalized people, who are generally at higher risk from exposure to toxic chemicals and biological contaminants than healthy adults. During 1994-1995:

  • Violations of federal tap water health standards were reported by 1,583 schools, medical facilities and daycare centers with their own water systems. These facilities provide water to over 700,000 people.
  • The most common violations of EPA health standards at these facilities were for lead - with 857 systems serving 317,000 people exceeding the lead action level; chronic coliform - with violations in 678 systems serving 340,000 people; and fecal bacteria - with acute violations at 164 systems serving 63,000 people.

Just Add Water

To produce Just Add Water, the Environmental Working Group analyzed more than 16 million records submitted by public water supplies to state water agencies and the EPA. These records are maintained by the EPA in a computerized system known as the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Just Add Water analyzed only health standard violations, not monitoring or paperwork violations. This means that people drinking water from the systems cited in Just Add Water were exposed to chemical, radiation, or biological contamination at levels that federal health authorities consider unsafe.

In addition to the national summary report, the Environmental Working Group produced 50 state analyses of drinking water health standard violations reported to the EPA by public water suppliers. Just Add Water underrepresents the actual number of violations of federal health standards in the United States because many states either fail to report violations to SDWIS, or do not report these violations on time (quarterly, as required). All violations of SDWA standards for the year 1995 should have been reported to the EPA by March 31, 1996. It appears that a significant number were not. Late reporting and entry into the EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) was exacerbated this year by several federal government shutdowns. As a result, it is impossible to determine accurately whether the affected population has increased as compared to estimates of the number of people affected by health violations in the previous two year period. A full accounting of all violations for 1995 will not be possible for several months to a year. Based on this partial record of health violations it appears that basic bacterial contamination problems - represented by violations of the fecal and chronic coliform standards, and violations for inadequate filtration or failure to filter - increased in 1994-1995, compared to results from the 1993-1994 reporting period. Compared with violations calculated one year ago, the number of people served water that violated the chronic coliform standard increased by 700,000, from 22.7 million people in 1993-1994 to 23.4 million people in 1994-1995. The population served water that was inadequately filtered or disinfected rose by almost 4 million, from 16.4 million people in 1993-1994, to 20.3 million in 1994-1995. The population affected by fecal coliform violations remained the same at approximately 11.6 million people served; however, the number of communities reporting violations increased by ten percent. Compared to data from the previous two year period, the number of individuals affected by the chemical contaminant violations decreased slightly, but the number of systems reporting chemical increased substantially. In 1994-1995, 325 drinking water systems reported health standard violations for forty different chemical contaminants. The number of people served water that violated the federal health standard for cancer-causing trihalomethanes (THMs) remained the same in 1994-1995 compared to 1993-1994 (about 640,000). The number of people served water that violated other chemical contaminant standards during that time (excluding nitrate) decreased slightly from 1 million to about 890,000, at the samt time. The number of systems reporting chemical contaminant violations increased by more than 50 percent from 122 systems in 1993-1994, to 197 systems in 1994-1995. Nitrate violations were not calculated last year so no comparisons can be made. The EPA testing requirements for lead, complicate comparisons between 1994-1995, and 1993-1994. For large water systems, monitoring requirements for lead went into effect in 1992 and 1993. During these two years, thousands of water systems serving more than 10 million people identified unsafe levels of lead in their water systems that had previously gone undetected. Once these problems were identified, many water utilities started to fix them, taking measures like the addition of calcium carbonate to prevent lead leaching in pipes. Because they are in the process of solving lead problems, most of these systems are no longer reported in violation of the standards. It will take years, however, to be certain that lead problems have been remedied. Even so, it is important to note the good news, that lead exposure from drinking water, which accounts for 20 percent of all lead exposure in the U.S., appears to be dropping thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Just Add Water underestimates the extent and severity of drinking water contamination in the United States, because the SDWIS data base contains information only on violations of federal health standards. SDWIS does not contain information on contamination at levels below federal health standards, or for contaminants that are not yet regulated. Many common contaminants remain unregulated, including the fecal borne parasite Cryptosporidium, pesticides like cyanazine and acetochlor, which contaminate the drinking water of 10 million people, and radon, which is found in the drinking water of about 80 million people.

Water to Watch

Just Add Water provides a two year profile of drinking water quality in the United States. Although some of the problems identified here have been addressed, many are recurring and a represent the serious and persistent deterioration of drinking water quality that is occurring throughout the nation. In order to inform the public about some of the most serious contamination problems in large drinking water systems in the United States, we created a list of communities with Water to Watch. All drinking water systems listed on the Water to Watch list were either characterized by the EPA as significant non-compliers, or reported violations of federal health standards for at least two different contaminants during the past two years. The 74 water systems (Table B) (Table C) on the 1996 Water to Watch list fall into three categories:

  1. Water suppliers with newly identified serious contamination problems. Thirty four (34) water systems including Jersey City, New Jersey, and Modesto, California, made the Water to Watch list due to multiple violations reported in 1995.
  2. Water systems on the last year's Water to Watch list due to violations in 1993-1994, that reported multiple or severe violations again in 1995. Seventeen (17) water systems met this criterion including Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Camden, New Jersey.
  3. Water systems listed on last year's Water to Watch list based on 1994 violations, with no new violations in 1995. These are the potential success stories of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and some of these systems have in fact begun to seriously address the source of their drinking water contamination. Weakening health standards and monitoring requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act will jeopardize the public health in these and other communities with contaminated drinking water.

Table B: Drinking water systems with multiple health standard violations in 1994-1995, including systems classified by the EPA as "significant non compliers".

Water System State Population
Served
Reason(s) for being on the Water to Watch list in 1995 Most Recent
Violation
Department Of Water, Jersey City NJ 228,537 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Oct-95
Modesto, City Of CA 180,320 Chronic Coliform, Excess Nitrate Jul-95
Fort Bragg NC 65,000 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Ridgewood Water Dept NJ 60,100 Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene Jan-95
Camden City Water Dept NJ 54,100 Lead, 1,2-Dichloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene Jan-95
Malden Water Dept. (MWRA) MA 53,884 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Oct-95
Mansfield, City Of OH 51,000 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
Bristol County Water Authority RI 50,000 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jun-95
Perth Amboy NJ 42,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead Jun-95
Moore OK 40,300 Chronic Coliform Nov-95
Hillsboro,Forest Grove,Beaver OR 38,722 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jul-95
Shenango Valley Water Company PA 37,260 Fluoride, Cadmium Jan-95
Royal Lakes Water Treatment Plant FL 32,188 Chronic Coliform Jan-95
O Fallon IL 30,500 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead Nov-95
Miami International Airport FL 26,800 Chronic Coliform, Lead Aug-95
Lancaster County Water SC 25,704 Lead, Trihalomethanes Jun-95
Chelsea Water Dept. (MWRA) MA 25,015 Chronic Coliform, Lead Oct-95
Norco, City Of CA 24,704 Nitrate, Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Myrtle Beach City Of SC 23,448 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jul-95
Alexander City Water Department AL 22,254 Trihalomethanes Apr-95
Altus OK 21,910 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Sep-95
City Of Dodge City KS 21,294 Excess Nitrate Jan-95
Collingswood Water Department NJ 21,000 Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene Jan-95
Bellwood IL 20,241 Lead, Combined Radium (-226 & -228) Mar-95
Bartlett IL 19,373 Chronic Coliform, Lead Jul-95
Monroe Township MUA NJ 19,165 Chronic Coliform Nov-95
East Wenatchee Water District WA 19,150 Chronic Coliform Sep-95
Bridgeton Water Dept NJ 18,750 Trichloroethylene, Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene Jan-95
Defiance, City Of OH 17,000 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
Belvidere IL 17,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Okmulgee OK 17,000 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes Jun-95
Sand Springs OK 17,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Trihalomethanes Nov-95
Lake Zurich IL 15,940 Barium, Combined Radium (-226 & -228) Jul-95
Madison Water Dept NJ 15,850 Chronic Coliform, Tetrachloroethylene Aug-95
Elizabeth City Water System NC 14,500 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Miami Springs, City Of FL 14,000 Chronic Coliform, Lead Mar-95
Canton IL 13,600 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes May-95
Firgrove Mutual Inc WA 13,400 Chronic Coliform Jul-95
Tangipahoa Wwks Dist #2 LA 13,120 Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Kewanee IL 12,969 Chronic Coliform, Gross Alpha (Excl. Radon & U) Jul-95
Williamsburg Water Plant KY 12,761 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Ironton, City Of OH 12,643 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Nov-95
Sterling, City Of CO 12,500 Nitrate Jan-95
Bella Vista POA AR 11,904 Chronic Coliform, Unhealthy Level of Trihalomethanes Oct-95
La Grande, City Of OR 11,720 Chronic Coliform May-95
Haledon Water Dept NJ 11,400 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead, Inadequate Filtration Nov-95
Urbana Water Department OH 11,353 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Nitrate Nov-95
Van Wert, City Of OH 11,000 Inadequate Filtration,Trihalomethanes May-95
Celina, City Of OH 10,800 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
New Shoreham, Town Of RI 10,000 Lead, Trihalomethanes Apr-95
Beale Air Force Base CA 10,000 Chronic Coliform, Lead Jul-95

The 17 drinking water systems in bold were listed on the Water to Watch list in 1993-1994.

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

 

Table C. Systems on the previous "Water to Watch" list, reporting no new or continuing problems, 1994-1995.

Water System State Population
Served
Reason(s) for being on the Water to Watch list in 1994 Most Recent
Violation
         
New York City - Aqueduct System NY 6,552,718 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Nov-94
Elizabeth Water Department NJ 110,002 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
North Penn Water Authority PA 69,072 Fecal Bacteria, Tetrachloroethylene Apr-94
Parsippany-Troy Hills Water NJ 48,478 Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride), Trichloroethylene Jan-94
Belleville Water Dept NJ 35,129 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
Vineland Water & Sewer Utility NJ 33,500 Trichloroethylene Jan-94
Southwest Regional Water District OH 31,500 Fecal Bacteria Aug-94
Kearney, City Of NE 24,396 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Sep-94
Steubenville, City Of OH 22,125 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Aug-94
Gaffney BPW SC 21,746 Trihalomethanes Oct-94
South Fort Polk Water System LA 21,500 Chronic Coliform Apr-94
Lake Wales, City Of FL 19,690 Chronic Coliform Apr-94
McAlester PWA OK 18,000 Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Sep-94
Chambersburg Boro Water System PA 17,500 Trihalomethanes Oct-94
Thibodaux Waterworks LA 15,810 Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Oct-94
Chester Metro SC 15,128 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Mitchell SD 13,798 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Lancaster City Of SC 13,755 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Williston City Of ND 13,131 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes Jan-94
Stucker Fork Water Utility IN 11,110 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Clanton Water Department AL 10,800 Trihalomethanes Apr-94
Whitehall Township Authority PA 10,800 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
MD-American Water Co. MD 10,200 Fluoride Oct-94

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Proposals to Weaken the Safe Drinking Water Act

A rewrite of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the law that ensures that America's tap water is safe to drink, is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives in May, 1996. Draft legislation released by Thomas Billy (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, proposes major rollbacks in the levels of health protection and information provided to the public under current law. The draft bill - which has been the subject of intense lobbying by the pesticide and chlorine industries - would:

  • Weaken basic public health standards in current law, allowing more toxins in tap water.
  • Undercut and delay EPA efforts to control cancer causing byproducts of chlorination.
  • Deny the public's Right to Know.
  • Handcuff efforts at the state and local level to prevent pollution of drinking water supplies.
  • Weaken or delay standards for arsenic and radon, known human carcinogens
  • Allow up to 50 million people in small communities to drink water with higher levels of chemical and microbial contaminants than people in large cities.

Recommendations

Tens of millions of people drink water each year that is considered unsafe by federal health authorities. While some of the violations of health standards identified in this report have been remediated, many represent contamination problems that recur intermitently. Indeed, not quite a year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency issued a guidance document advising anyone with a compromised immune system to consult their physician before drinking ordinary tap water (CDC 1995). The American Water Works Association took this warning one step further, advising all HIV infected individuals in the Unites States to boil their tap water before drinking it (AWWA 1995). That fact that a water system is not listed in this or any one of the state reports does not mean that the drinking water in that community is safe. Conversely, that fact that a system was listed in Just Add Water, does not mean that drinking water is contaminated in violation of federal health standards today. Just Add Water shows that the United States has a serious drinking water contamination problem. Without question, strong federal drinking water monitoring and health standards are necessary to ensure a minimum level of health protection for all Americans. Many basic improvements, however, are needed. In order to adequately protect public health, Congress must strengthen, not weaken the Safe Drinking Water Act. Any revisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act must:

  • Ensure strong standards that protect the public health and explicitly provide increased protection for infants, children, the elderly, the sick, and other sensitive subpopulations.
  • Guarantee the public right to know about all contaminants in tap water, including those that are not yet regulated and those that are present at levels that do not yet violate health standards.
  • Require enforcable health standards for commonly found contaminants that are currently unregulated, including Cryptosporidium, many pesticides, and radon.
  • Give states and local governments adequate and unencumbered powers to prevent pollution of drinking water, and to make polluters pay to clean up their contamination whey they foul public drinking water sources.

Foreward

This just in: The U.S. House of Representatives is getting ready to overhaul the federal law that protects the safety of America's tap water.

If they pass their bill, pass me the Perrier.

In fact, you can bank on a boom in bottled water if the House adopts legislation even remotely resembling the draft bill circulated by Rep. Thomas J. Bliley of Virginia, the former funeral home director who now chairs the committee with jurisdiction over drinking water safety.

Consistent with the very worst environmental measures rushed through the House thus far during the 104th Congress - and they've passed some real losers - Mr. Bliley's draft would weaken basic public health standards, allowing more toxins in tap water. Among other disturbing features, Mr. Bliley's plan would undercut and delay EPA efforts to control the cancer-causing byproducts of chlorination, and make it very hard for citizens to find out if their drinking water is contaminated. Communities of all sizes would be hit hard, small and medium-sized towns and cities especially so.

Now is hardly the time to weaken drinking water safeguards or keep consumers in the dark about contamination. In an unprecedented warning issued less than a year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that if your immune system is weak as a result of chemotherapy, a severe infection, or an illness such as cancer or AIDS, you should consult your doctor before you drink a glass of tap water in the United States of America, because it could kill you. But what are doctors supposed to do, test their patients' tap water like they test their blood?

Blunter advice came a month earlier from the main trade association of drinking water utilities, the American Water Works Association. Referring to tap water contamination by the parasite Cryptosporidium - the bug that killed over 100 people in Milwaukee in 1993 and made tens of thousands ill - the AWWA flatly stated that "HIV-infected people should always boil water, regardless of whether an outbreak has been detected." [emphasis added]. Mind you, this is not a precaution for Americans traveling to a developing country. It is a warning to Americans on a trip to their kitchen tap.

Even as the water utility industry has given up on delivering safe water to people with weakened immune systems, it has been pressing hard for a relaxation of federal safeguards that cost water suppliers profits if they're privately owned, and cause political headaches if they're public. The loudest complaint is that federal mandates require utilities to conduct expensive tests for too many contaminants that the water suppliers claim seldom or never taint their water. But it turns out that in 41 states EPA has approved a formal program by which utilities can waive monitoring requirements if initial testing, proximity to pollution sources, and other factors indicate that specific contaminants are not a threat. Another 4 states have an informal program in place to do the same thing.

Pesticide companies also have good reason to see the drinking water law weakened. Pesticides, notably weed killers, contaminate the tap water of millions of Americans. EPA is scheduled to issue new drinking water standards for 25 contaminants under current law. Based on the agency's ongoing review, as many as 14 of those contaminants could be pesticides. That may partly explain the millions of dollars in PAC contributions the pesticide industry has provided to Congress this year.

But no one has taken tap water politics as low as the dirty trick artists at the Chlorine Chemistry Council, who saw in the warnings to HIV-infected people a chance to advance their agenda. The council, an arm of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, is fighting an EPA rule to reduce chlorination byproducts in drinking water. EPA is worried about the cancer risks; the Chlorine Council is worried about profits.

So the council began a covert phone call campaign aimed at AIDS groups across the country, implying that EPA's proposed chlorine rule threatened AIDS patients with more outbreaks of Cryptosporidium, according to a recent investigation by the Associated Press.1 In many cases the council used financial supporters of the AIDs groups to make the calls, concealing the industry's connection. "AIDS groups were incensed," according to the AP, "particularly because the appeal implied that reducing chlorine use would multiply the risk from Cryptosporidium. Scientists say chlorine alone has virtually no effect on the microbe." The AP stated that "the groups said AIDS patients actually would be harmed by the industry-backed changes because they would delay and weaken the new rule, which contains the first protections against Cryptosporidium." Mr. Bliley's draft "safe" drinking water bill, by the way, would solve the Chlorine Council's problem.

Clearly, what's in or not in that glass of water you draw from the tap is a high stakes matter for chemical companies, pesticide manufacturers and water utilities alike. Just Add Water is a series of reports - a national summary and 50 individual reports, one for each state - that documents violations of federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards during 1994 and 1995 for every water system in the nation. That includes schools, hospitals and daycare centers, over 1,500 of which reported violations of drinking water health standards in 1994-1995. The studies are based on an Environmental Working Group analysis of 16 million government computer records of drinking water monitoring results, enforcement actions, and violations of health standards. Just Add Water was prepared by EWG staff members Brian Cohen, Richard Wiles and Chris Campbell, and by Erik Olson, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who is one of the nation's leading authorities on drinking water policy. Public interest groups across the nation, including Environmental Information Center, Clean Water Action, state PIRGs, Citizen Action, and a number of grass roots organizations will be releasing the state-level studies. No doubt their demands will seem extreme in some circles. After all, they want pure, clean, affordable water, right from the tap. If it's contaminated, they believe Americans have a right to know. And they think the public interest, not just special interests, should be at the table when Congress sets national policy on tap water safety.

I'll drink to that.

Kenneth A. Cook
President

Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act

According to experts from the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one million people get sick each year from drinking water, and almost one thousand of these people die (Bennet 1987). Indeed, not quite a year ago, the Centers and the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a guidance document advising anyone with a compromised immune system to consult their physician before drinking ordinary tap water. The American Water Works Association took this warning one step further, advising HIV infected individuals in the United States to boil their tap water before drinking it (AWWA 1994).

At the same time, toxic by-products of chlorine disinfection, the so-called trihalomethanes, are linked to more than 10,000 cases of urinary bladder and rectal cancer each year, according to an analysis of more than a dozen peer-reviewed, published, epidemiological studies (Morris, et. al. 1992). Other contaminants in America's tap water including pesticides, radioactivity, Giardia, E. Coli, and lead, take a certain but less easily quantified toll on the health of millions more Americans.

During 1994-1995, the most recent two-year period for which federal data are available, more than 45 million people drank water from public water supplies that failed to meet at least one, and often several, federal health standards. Not surprisingly, major outbreaks of waterborne disease continue long after Cryptosporidium in the drinking water of Milwaukee killed more than 100 people and made 400,000 seriously ill in 1993. More recently, outbreaks of waterborne disease have occurred elsewhere in the U.S., including a little publicized major outbreak in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1994. The most likely culprit, again, is Cryptosporidium. But because the fecal-borne parasite is not regulated and is thus not routinely tested for by the local water utility or public health officials, it has been difficult to identify the specific water contaminant responsible for the outbreak.

Drinking water standards have many other shortcomings beyond their failure to regulate common drinking water contaminants such as radon, Cryptosporidium, and pesticides like cyanazine. One of the most serious is the fact that most current federal drinking water standards do not make any specific accommodation for the special risks and heavy consumption of water by infants and young children.

One-year-olds drink more than twice as much water relative to their size as adults. Measured in terms of total fluid intake, an adult would have to drink 35 cans of soda per day to match the drinking habits of the average one-year-old. Because of this, infants and young children are exposed to more water-borne contaminants, relative to their size, than adults. This higher exposure combined with the increased vulnerability of infants to many chemical and microbiological contaminants, means infants and young children face increased risks from virtually all contaminants in drinking water, and that current standards almost always do not provide adequate protections for this vulnerable portion of the population.

In October of 1995, the EPA announced a new policy to protect infants and children from exposure to toxic substances. At that time, EPA Administrator Carol Browner noted that the policy:

"...will, for the first time, ensure that we consistently and explicitly evaluate environmental health risks of infants and children in all risk assessments, risk characterizations, and environmental and public health standards that we set for the nation." (emphasis added) (EPA 1995)

In justifying the need for this new policy the EPA cited two National Academy of Sciences studies (NRC 1993, NRC 1994) that called for major policy changes at the EPA to integrate explicit protections for children when evaluating health risks from environmental contaminants.

To date, just two (lead and nitrate) of the more than eighty drinking water standards have been set explicitly to protect infants and children from immediate or long term health risk. No standards have been modified since the EPA policy was announced.

Similarly, drinking water standards do not account for multiple contaminants in a single glass of water. Instead, they are set as though people are exposed to one contaminant at a time, which very often is not the case.

The Public Right-to-Know

People have the right to know what is in their tap water. More importantly, individuals at high risk, such as people with compromised immune systems, need this information so they can protect their health and the health of their families, and intelligently participate in the local debate over what to do about the contamination.

Under current law, the public must be notified only when an enforceable drinking water contaminant standard is violated. Consumers do not have a practical right to know if their tap water contains common contaminants which are not regulated (such as Cryptosporidium, the pesticide cyanazine, or radon), or even if it contains contaminants that are regulated, when levels fall below federal health standards.

Technically, under current law utilities must provide the public with test results for regulated contaminants (but not things like Cryptosporidum or radon) upon request. In practice, most utilities do not maintain even this limited information in a way that is understandable to the public, and most citizens probably are not aware that this information is available. When asked, utilities often demand payment for staff time and other costs to generate the information. As a result, it is not unusual for a request for information on drinking water contamination to cost the average citizen $100 or more. Typically the information is presented in technical tables and terms not readily understandable to non-experts.

In many cases, tap water contamination that does not violate an enforceable health standard poses a significant health risk to infants, young children, the elderly, and immune compromised people such as organ transplant patients and individuals undergoing cancer chemotherapy.1 This is particularly true with unregulated contaminants such as Cryptosporidium or the pesticide cyanazine. It is also true for contaminants where standards are inadequate to protect the public health, such as for arsenic (which has a weak, 53-year old stantard set before arsenic was known to cause cancer) and the cancer-causing by-products of chlorination, collectively known as disinfection by-products (which are linked to about 10,000 cases of rectal and urinary bladder cancer each year) (Morris et. al. 1992).

Risks from unregulated Cryptosporidium are so severe that the American Water Works Association recommends that all HIV infected individuals boil their water and that all utilities inform their customers and the medical community of any detection of the parasite even though Cryptosporidium is not regulated and notification is not required by federal law (AWWA 1995). Such notification is rare, however, in spite of the unprecedented recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June, 1995, that due to concern about Cryptosporidium, seriously immune compromised individuals should always consult with their physician about the safety of their water supply and may want to consider boiling their water (CDC 1995).

California law currently requires all water systems in the state to issue an annual report in plain language to their customers about contaminants found in their drinking water at levels that may pose a health risk. These reports cost customers about a dime per household per year.

The National Drinking Water Advisory Council, a Congressionally-chartered group of experts from the water industry, state and local officials, and public health advocates, unanimously recommended in May 1995 that the federal law be amended to require California-like annual reports nationwide.

A bill introduced by Henry Waxman (D-CA), would implement the California right to know standard nationwide. Under the Waxman amendment, states could waive the requirement for utilities serving less than 3,300 people, as long as the utility notified customers that the information would be available upon request.

Making Polluters Pay

Another improvement to current law is a "polluter pays" amendment sponsored by Reps. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). This change in current law would require polluters who substantially contribute to contamination of drinking water, rather than rate payers (the public), to pay for drinking water treatment and testing to remedy the contamination they have caused.

Currently individuals or corporations who pollute drinking water bear none of the costs of making the water drinkable downstream. Agricultural pollution provides an excellent example.

Pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste from farms and feedlots cause substantial pollution of drinking water, particularly in the midwestern states. In fact, runoff of fertilizer and pesticides from farm fields is the most significant source of so-called "non-point" water pollution, accounting for half of this type of pollution and 25 percent of all water pollution nationwide. Runoff from farm fields, however, is not regulated under the Clean Water Act, and existing educational programs to help farmers prevent pollution have been extraordinally inadaquate. Consequently, farmers bear no responsibility, and have little incentive to reduce runoff from their farms. Instead, the drinkers of the water bear both the health risks of this contamination and the cost of cleanup.

The polluter pays amendment described above would give water utilities the clear authority to sue significant upstream polluters to recover the costs of all testing and treatment needed to bring the water into compliance with SDWA standards.

Ongoing Efforts to Weaken the Law

Despite continuing health threats posed by contaminated drinking water, and many notable successes of the Safe Drinking Water Act in improving the quality of tap water in some communities, chemical and water industry lobbyists and key members of the House of Representatives are pushing for major rollbacks of the health protections in current law.

Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-VA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, has circulated a draft drinking water "reform" bill that would substantially weaken the level of health protection and information provided to the public under current law. The full House of Representatives is slated to take up drinking water "reform" legislation in May 1996. Many of the changes in the Safe Drinking Water Act that have been advocated by the chemical and pesticide industries are contained in the Bliley draft.

As this report goes to press, the most egregious provisions in the Bliley bill would:

  • Weaken the basic public health standard in current law. Under current law, contaminant standards must protect the public health to the greatest extent feasible. The Bliley bill subverts this clear priority to protect the public health, by adding new cost benefit provisions that would explicitly allow a certain number of illness and even deaths to occur, depending on the cost of treating the contaminant in question. If enacted, polluters and water utilities could use these cost benefit provisions to force the EPA, when setting standards, to balance the costs of making the water drinkable against the economic value of the human illness and even death that may result from a certain level of drinking water contamination. The bill also adds complex, new evidentiary and procedural hurdles that the EPA must clear before setting a health standard, and creates new opportunities for industry to challenge these health standards in court.
  • Allow more arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic contaminates the drinking water of more than 50 million Americans. The Bliley bill delays a court ordered update of the safety standard for arsenic and applies the weakened standard setting provisions when the arsenic standard is finally set. The current arsenic standard was established during World War II (1942), when scientists knew nothing about arsenic's now well documented ability to cause cancer in humans.
  • Allow high levels of radon in drinking water. Radon, a "known human carcinogen," contaminates the drinking water of 80 million Americans. The Bliley bill would mandate a standard (3,000 picocuries of radon per liter of water) 10 times less protective than the standard proposed by EPA in 1992.
  • Allow up to 50 million people in small communities to drink water with higher levels of chemical and microbial contaminants than people in large cities. The Bliley bill requires waivers ("variances") of health standards for both microbial and chemical contaminants to be issued upon petition by the nation's smaller water systems (those serving fewer than 10,000 people each) if they meet certain newly broadened criteria. About 90 percent of the water systems in the country would be eligible for these variances. The Bliley bill deletes the Senate's requirement for EPA guidance on variances, and eliminates the Senate's citizen objection and EPA oversight provisions. Exemptions would not need to include schedules of compliance for additional control measures.
  • Deny the Public's Right to Know. The Bliley bill weakens monitoring requirements for contaminants in drinking water so utilities and their customers will know even less about contaminant levels. The bill then delays the start of an EPA database on drinking water contaminants that would help inform the public and assist the EPA in setting priorities for health protection. And when repeated violations occur, the Bliley bill severely limits a citizen's right to sue a water utility to enforce the law to clean up tap water. Finally, the bill denies the public the right to know what their utility found in their drinking water.
  • Maintains current unsafe levels of known carcinogens in tap water. The Bliley bill would delay and likely weaken standards for cancer-causing chlorination by-products. These standards were formally agreed to by the EPA, the water utilities, and the consumer and environmental community. Chlorination by-products contaminate the drinking water of about 150 million people and are linked to 10,000 cases of urinary bladder and rectal cancer each year.
  • Weakening protection of source water. Preventing pollution of drinking water sources in the first place is by far the most cost effective way for cities and towns to supply safe drinking water. The Bliley bill hamstrings communities and states, giving them few powers to prevent contamination of drinking water supplies.

Methodology and Contents

Just Add Water focuses solely on health standard violations (not monitoring violations or "paperwork" violations), meaning that water drinkers in all of the communities reported in Just Add Water were exposed to chemical, radiation, or biological contamination at levels that federal health authorities consider unsafe, or to drinking water that was not adequately treated to reduce health threats. Also listed in these tables are water systems that have been deemed "Significant Non-Compliers" with EPA's health standards. EPA places systems on the Significant Non-Compliers list if they have repeated or severe violations of health standards.

All information presented in this report is from data contained in the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) database. The Environmental Working Group obtained the SDWIS database, which contains more than 16 million records of information on drinking water monitoring, enforcement actions, and violations of health standards.

EPA maintains the SDWIS database as a computerized repository of information on compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. States are responsible for entering all violations information into the database, and correcting any data errors. All information on the name, city, and population served by the water system are also provided by the states to the EPA.

The EPA data presented here significantly underestimate the number of systems out of compliance with the Act's health standards. First, many water utilities are not performing required testing, and thus are almost certainly not detecting and reporting the full range of drinking water problems. In 1993-94, 52 million people, 20 percent of the nation's population, were served water by a utility that violated a SDWA monitoring requirement. Second, many states are failing to report drinking water systems that are in violation of federal health standards. A 1990 GAO investigation found numerous instances where violations of the SDWA known to states were not reported as violations to EPA (GAO 1990). A 1988 investigation by EPA's Inspector General reported similar findings (EPA Inspector General 1988). Simply put, the fact that the EPA is unaware of any violations does not necessarily mean that a given drinking water system has not exceeded EPA health standards.


Notes

1 For a summary of some of the contaminants found in tap water about which customers rarely are told, see, Natural Resources Defense Council, You Are What You Drink (June, 1995) (documenting that many water systems have found Cryptosporidium and NRDC, CWA, and U.S. PIRG, Trouble on Tap (October, 1995) (documenting similar findings of widespread contamination with arsenic, radon, and trihalomethanes.

2 U.S. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Guidance for People With Severely Weakened Immune Systems June, 1995).

Just Add Water

During 1994-1995, 18,542 of the nation's drinking water systems, serving a population of over 45 million people, reported violations of health standards for chemical, radiological or microbial contaminants, or filtration and disinfection and water treatment requirements. These 18,542 water utilities represent more than 10% of the nation's 173,000 public drinking water supplies.

These figures derived from EWG analysis of more than 16 million computer records submitted by state agencies significantly underestimate the scope of the problem because many states either fail to report violations, or do not report these violations on time (quarterly, as required by EPA). All violations of SDWA standards for the year 1995 should have been reported to the EPA by March 31, 1996.

Late reporting and entry into the EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) apparently has been exacerbated this year by several federal government shutdowns. As a result, it is impossible at this time to determine whether the affected population has increased as compared to estimates of the number of people affected by health violations in the previous two year period. A full accounting of all violations for 1995 will not be possible for several months to a year.

Even so, this partial record of health violations indicates that basic bacterial contamination problems - represented by violations of the fecal and chronic coliform standards, and violations for inadequate filtration or failure to filter - increased in 1994-1995 compared to the 1993-1994 reporting period. Total violations for chemical contaminant health standards (excluding lead and radiation) decreased slightly during 1994-1995, while the number of systems reporting chemical contaminant violations increased substantially.

Compared with violations calculated one year ago, the population served water that violated the chronic coliform standard, increased by 700,000, from 22. 7 million people in 1993-1994 to 23.4 million people in 1994-1995. The population served water that was inadequately filtered or disinfected rose by almost 4 million, from 16.4 million people in 1993-1994, to 20.3 million in 1994-1995. Comparable fecal coliform violations remained the same at 11.6 million people served, while the number of communities reporting violations increased by ten percent.

In 1994-1995, 325 drinking water systems reported health standard violations for forty different chemical contaminants. The number of people served water that violated the federal health standard for cancer causing by-products of chlorination (total trihalomethanes or TTHMS) remained that same at about 640,000 people. The number of people served water that violated chemical contaminant standards (excluding nitrate and TTHMs), decreased from 1 million to about 890,000, but the number of systems reporting chemical contaminant standard violations increased by 50 percent from 122 systems in 1993-1994, to 197 systems in 1994-1995.

The EPA testing requirements for lead complicate comparisons between 1994-1995, and 1993-1994. Monitoring requirements for radiation went into effect in 1992 and 1993. During these two years, thousands of water systems serving millions of people identified unsafe levels of lead in their water systems that had previously gone undetected. Once these problems were identified, many water utilities have started to fix them, and thus are no longer reported in violation of the EPA lead action level and related requirements - even though it will take years to be certain that lead and radiation problems have been fully fixed.

In general, this process represents a success for the Safe Drinking Water Act and shows why the law must be must strengthened, not weakened. After all, it was only through a strong drinking water law that water suppliers found and fixed these lead and radioactivity problems in the first place. Yet just as the Safe Drinking Water Act appears to be working, efforts are afoot to weaken the Act's health protections. In the case of lead, a roll back of monitoring and health standards under federal law could mean that millions of people would still be drinking unsafe levels of these contaminants in their tap water.

All violations discussed in this report are violations of health or water treatment standards, meaning that any system that was reported served water that had unsafe levels of hazardous microorganisms, or chemicals that cause acute or chronic health effects that include cancer, birth defects, and disruption of the hormone (endocrine) systems.

Basic bacterial contamination of tap water was the most common problem. In 1994-1995, 11,915,000 individuals were served by 2,726 water systems with contamination by potentially disease-causing fecal matter (Table 1). An even larger population, 24,719,000, were served by 12,246 water systems with chronic coliform bacterial contamination. And many water systems fail to adequately treat their water to remove these hazardous microbes. In the two year period, over 20 million Americans were served water from 1,478 water systems that failed to filter or adequately disinfect their tap water.

Table 1: In 1994-1995, over 45 million Americans were supplied with tap water that failed to meet basic health standards*.

Health Standard Number of
Systems Reporting
a Violation
Population
Affected
Chronic Coliform Bacteria 12,246 24,719,235
Lead 3,641 5,039,219
Fecal Bacteria 2,726 11,915,103
Inadaquate Filtration or Disinfection 1,478 20,564,028
Nitrate 588 471,736
Industrial Chemicals and Pesticides 325 935,203
Radioactivity 88 279,543
Trihalomethanes 42 632,644
Any Violation or Exceedance 18,542 45,692,403

Chemical contamination also poses serious risks in tap water. In 1994-1995, more than five million American's drank tap water from 3,641 water suppliers that exceeded EPA's Lead Action Level or otherwise violated EPA's Lead and Copper Rule. And 2.3 million people received tap water from over 1,000 water suppliers that violated an EPA standard for toxic chemicals or pesticides. This includes 471,000 people served water that violated the EPA nitrate standard (nitrate causes an acute illness known as blue baby syndrome in infants), 632,000 people served water that violated EPA standards for cancer-causing byproducts of chlorination known as trihalomethanes, and 279,000 people served water contaminated with unsafe levels of radiation.

Delaware was the state with the highest percentage of systems with violations of health standards in this two year period, followed by South Dakota, Arizona, and Idaho (Table 2).

Table 2: In eight states, one person out of four was served by a public drinking water supply that violated at least one health standard over the past two years.

State All Drinking Water Systems School, Daycare, and Medical Facility Water Systems
Systems Reporting Health Violations or Exceedances of EPA Standards Percentage of Systems with Health Violations or Exceedances of EPA Health Standards Systems Reporting Health Violations or Exceedances of EPA Standards Percentage of Systems with Health Violations or Exceedances of EPA Health Standards
Systems Population Systems Population Systems Population Systems Population
 
U.S. Total 18,542 45,692,403 8% 17% 1,583 704,338 14% 15%
 
Alabama 106 459,966 13% 10% 7 1,321 28% 26%
Alaska 236 139,348 14% 24% 18 2,510 16% 10%
Arizona 396 1,227,091 22% 29% 19 24,004 20% 38%
Arkansas 172 342,686 6% 14% 0 0 0% 0%
California 570 4,382,520 6% 12% 43 68,790 6% 18%
Colorado 193 234,932 7% 6% 3 302 6% 3%
Connecticut 277 271,585 6% 8% 47 24,188 18% 30%
Delaware 134 70,224 25% 11% 11 4,531 33% 52%
Florida 957 1,844,025 12% 12% 96 36,603 23% 20%
Georgia 416 384,151 16% 6% 26 7,221 20% 15%
Hawaii 27 87,420 18% 7% 3 6,060 43% 35%
Idaho 465 267,113 22% 25% 13 3,841 14% 13%
Illinois 759 1,979,750 4% 10% 60 18,175 6% 8%
Indiana 260 410,437 6% 8% 51 20,061 13% 19%
Iowa 296 298,039 15% 12% 15 4,411 28% 19%
Kansas 238 253,127 21% 11% 14 2,713 27% 6%
Kentucky 57 1,084,986 8% 29% 1 25 1% 0%
Louisiana 581 1,120,576 16% 23% 13 8,357 9% 15%
Maine 202 93,272 8% 10% 36 7,209 18% 17%
Maryland 395 178,915 11% 4% 86 34,285 37% 34%
Massachusetts 101 2,116,688 6% 26% 4 4,432 3% 8%
Michigan 795 352,693 3% 3% 0 0 0% 0%
Minnesota 343 45,903 4% 1% 14 1,505 10% 6%
Mississippi 91 210,208 6% 8% 3 598 6% 2%
Missouri 407 289,924 16% 6% 13 2,901 10% 7%
Montana 265 95,450 11% 12% 25 5,033 15% 15%
Nebraska 270 225,831 17% 18% 11 441 9% 5%
Nevada 50 27,050 7% 2% 3 735 13% 10%
New Hampshire 344 188,650 15% 19% 73 18,004 26% 28%
New Jersey 528 1,472,655 5% 14% 91 38,242 11% 13%
New Mexico 136 66,490 10% 4% 8 3,908 11% 14%
New York 456 7,944,489 4% 44% 31 11,928 7% 7%
North Carolina 688 741,584 8% 13% 132 61,118 28% 20%
North Dakota 121 175,013 20% 32% 4 323 24% 15%
Ohio 1,009 2,136,293 14% 20% 140 48,277 22% 22%
Oklahoma 463 1,934,503 14% 53% 10 1,900 11% 14%
Oregon 503 624,636 18% 23% 47 7,824 22% 16%
Pennsylvania 556 1,764,474 5% 15% 80 39,454 12% 6%
Rhode Island 78 245,486 17% 23% 9 2,347 18% 8%
South Carolina 334 1,276,319 20% 43% 57 41,586 40% 71%
South Dakota 194 85,747 24% 13% 5 594 24% 21%
Tennessee 147 359,107 13% 8% 9 1,913 20% 23%
Texas 598 1,658,406 6% 8% 29 33,780 11% 16%
Utah 116 148,989 9% 4% 3 212 25% 1%
Vermont 187 146,558 9% 10% 44 51,511 20% 21%
Virginia 481 580,664 10% 9% 107 48,685 21% 22%
Washington 851 992,351 20% 20% 26 7,836 22% 22%
West Virginia 199 247,886 12% 16% 18 3,966 17% 16%
Wisconsin 1,186 385,524 9% 9% 50 8,014 10% 7%
Wyoming 76 127,175 9% 23% 1 50 5% 2%
U.S. Total 18,542 45,692,403 8% 17% 1,583 704,338 14% 15%
 

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

 While some of these violations have been remedied, this does not mean that the remedies are permanent. Analyses of EPA data indicate that in any given year, thousands of new violations of standards will plague water suppliers throughout the country (NRDC 1994, NRDC 1995, EWG 1995). EPA's SDWIS database provides a two year snapshot of drinking water contamination at unsafe levels with numerous chemicals and biological hazards. Thus, while many of these problems have been fixed, many new ones will undoubtedly occur. This is why all Americans rely on the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to identify problems in their water system, and to protect them from new and emerging problems such as Cryptosporidium. Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act will not make these problems go away. It will, however, make it difficult, if not impossible, for many communities to identify and solve new or persistent tap water contamination problems.

Schools, Hospital, and Daycare Centers With Drinking Water Violations

Thousand of schools, day care centers and hospitals across the country maintain their own water supplies. Nationwide, 1,583 schools, hospitals and daycare centers, providing tap water to over 700,000 schoolchildren or hospitalized individuals, violated EPA health standards in 1994-1995. These non-community systems represent only a small part of the vulnerable population at risk - thousands more schools or hospitals receive their tap water from municipal water suppliers that also suffered from SDWA violations in 1994-1995. These small, generally privately owned water systems are a particular concern because draft legislation from Representative Thomas Bliley would explicitly roll back standards for small water systems, allowing them to serve water that contains more toxic chemicals and hazardous microorganisms than is allowed in large water systems.

These health standard violations represent serious risks. The most common problem among schools, hospitals, and daycare centers was exceeding EPA's Lead Action Level (Table 3). Over 850 of these systems, serving water to 317,000 schoolchildren or hospitalized individuals, had excess amounts of lead in the water - a contaminant that is notorious for retarding children's mental development. Many of these water systems also reported violations of bacterial contaminant standards that can cause acute illness and gastrointestinal distress. More than one hundred and sixty schools, hospitals and daycare centers, serving water to 63,000 individuals violated the EPA standard for fecal matter in tap water. Another 678 of these systems, serving tap water to 339,000 people, violated EPA's standard for chronic coliform bacteria.

Table 3: More than 1,500 schools, hospitals, and daycare centers with private water systems reported violations or exceedances of EPA drinking water standards in 1994-1995.

Health Standard Schools, Hospitals, and Daycare Centers Reporting Violations Population Served
Lead 857 317,482
Chronic Coliform Bacteria 678 339,587
Fecal Bacteria 164 63,007
Nitrate 37 8,965
Other Chemical 36 14,335
Any Violation or Exceedance 1,583 704,338
 

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

 

Ohio, with 140, had the most schools, hospitals and daycare centers reported to EPA for violating a health standard, followed by North Carolina (132), Virginia (107), Florida (96), New Jersey (91) and Maryland (86) (Table 2).

The Nature of the Violations

Fecal Matter. Fecal coliform bacteria (E. Coli) indicate that the water has been contaminated by sewage or animal waste that contains other disease causing microorganisms. These bacteria in drinking water present an immediate acute human health risk. Each violation of this standard represents a period of from a few days up to a month or longer where finished tap water provided to the public contained illegal and acutely unsafe levels of fecal bacteria.

During 1994 and 1995, 11.9 million people served by 2,726 water systems, drank water contaminated with fecal coliform at levels above federal health standards at least once.

New York City was the largest water system to find unsafe levels of fecal coliform in drinking water. This violation, however, occurred in 1994, and since that time the water utility has undertaken a substantial program to fix the problem. The next largest systems with a violation were Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, DC; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Jersey City, New Jersey, and Arlington, Virginia, which collectively account for approximately 15 percent of the population exposed to fecal coliform in violation of federal standards (Table 4). In Louisville the utility claims that fecal coliform violations in 1994 and 1995 were both caused by improper disposal of cleaning wastes in public restrooms.

Table 4: More than 1,500 schools, hospitals, and daycare centers with private water systems reported violations or exceedances of EPA drinking water standards in 1994-1995.

 

Water System City Served State Population Served Number of Fecal Coliform Violations Most Recent Fecal Coliform Violation
New York City - Aqueduct System New York City NY 6,552,718 2 8/1/94 - 8/30/94
Louisville Water Company ** Louisville KY 719,931 2 6/1/95 - 7/1/95
Water And Sewer Utility Adm. Washington DC 595,000 1 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Tulsa A B Jewell WTP Tulsa OK 403,000 1 8/1/95 - 9/1/95
Jersey City Dept. Of Water Jersey City NJ 228,537 1 10/1/95 - 11/1/95
Arlington Co. Water & Sewer Div. Arlington VA 175,000 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Montgomery Co: Water System #1* Dayton OH 150,000 1 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
Montgomery Co: Water System #2* Dayton OH 109,000 1 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
New Bedford Water Department New Bedford MA 105,000 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
North Penn Water Authority Philadelphia PA 69,072 1 1/1/94 - 1/31/94
Butler Co., Sewer Dist #2* Hamilton OH 61,000 1 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
Bloomington Bloomington IL 57,700 1 6/1/95 - 7/1/95
Malden Water Dept. (MWRA) Malden MA 53,884 1 9/1/95 - 9/30/95
Hamilton/South Water Plant Hamilton OH 52,920 1 10/1/94 - 10/31/94
National Airport FAA Washington DC 50,000 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Bremerton, City Of Bremerton WA 49,300 1 3/1/94 - 3/31/94
Winter Haven Water Department Winter Haven FL 48,810 1 7/1/95 - 8/1/95
Paducah Water Works Paducah KY 46,854 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Port Of Seattle/Seatac Airport Seattle WA 46,077 1 5/1/94 - 5/31/94
Mishawaka Utilities Spencer IN 42,635 1 12/1/94 - 12/31/94
Perth Amboy Perth Amboy NJ 42,000 1 10/1/94 - 10/31/94
Muskogee Muskogee OK 37,708 1 8/1/95 - 9/1/95
Billerica Water Department Billerica MA 37,029 1 7/1/95 - 7/31/95
Kearns Improvement District Kearns UT 36,000 1 12/1/94 - 12/31/94
Southington Water Dept Southington CT 35,256 1 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Lancaster Lancaster OH 34,500 1 10/1/95 - 11/1/95
Jackson Jackson MI 34,000 1 11/2/94 - 12/1/94
Fairborn* Fairborn OH 32,000 1 7/1/94 - 7/31/94
Southwest Regional Water District* Hamilton OH 31,500 2 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
O Fallon O Fallon IL 30,500 1 7/1/94 - 7/31/94
 

* Ohio has more stringent regulations for the fecal (or acute) coliform standard than other states. In Ohio, two consecutive detections of coliform bacteria (whether fecal or not) constitute a violation of the standard.

** According to the Louisville Water Utility, each of these violations were coincidental and localized in nature, caused by improper disposal of cleaning wastes in public restrooms.

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Most of these large communities with problems reported a single fecal bacteria violation. Only eight water systems (Table 5) reported multiple violations of fecal coliform standards. Kearney, Nebraska, with three violations, had the most violations of fecal standards among large communities.

Table 5: Drinking water systems serving more than 10,000 people with the most reported fecal coliform violations, 1994-1995.

Water System City Served State Population Number of Fecal Coliform Violations Most Recent Fecal Coliform Violation
Kearney, City Of Kearney NE 24,396 3 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
New York City - Aqueduct System New York City NY 6,552,718 2 8/1/94 - 8/30/94
Louisville Water Company* Louisville KY 719,931 2 6/1/95 - 7/1/95
Southwest Regional Water District** Hamilton OH 31,500 2 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Penn American Water Company Hummelstown PA 27,700 2 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
Dover Water Dept Dover DE 27,500 2 7/1/94 - 9/30/94
Garfield Water Dept Garfield NJ 26,000 2 7/1/95 - 8/1/95
Ironton, City Of Ironton OH 12,643 2 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
 

* According to the Louisville Water Utility, each of these violations were coincidental and localized in nature, caused by improper disposal of cleaning wastes in public restrooms.

** Ohio has more stringent regulations for the fecal (or acute) coliform standard than other states. In Ohio, two consecutive detections of coliform bacteria (whether fecal or not) constitute a violation of the standard.

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Chronic Coliform Bacteria. Violation of the chronic (monthly) coliform bacteria standard indicates pervasive contamination of drinking water with potentially disease causing microorganisms (although the detected coliform are not toxic themselves, they do indicate likely contamination by hazardous microbes). A chronic coliform standard is exceeded only when more than five percent of all samples collected during a month contain coliform bacteria.

A total of 12,246 water systems serving 24.7 million people, violated the monthly coliform standard at least once during the two year period. New York City and Washington, DC were the two largest cities with at least one violation in the two year period, followed by water utilities in Greenville, South Carolina, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Bakersfield and Modesto, California (Table 6).

Table 6: The largest drinking water systems with reported chronic coliform violations, 1994-1995.

Water System City Served State Population Number of Chronic Coliform Violations Most Recent Chronic Coliform Violation
New York City - Aqueduct System New York City NY 6,552,718 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Water And Sewer Utility Adm. Washington DC DC 595,000 2 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Greenville Water System Greenville SC 240,500 1 7/1/94 - 7/31/94
Jersey City Dept Of Water Jersey City NJ 228,537 1 10/1/95 - 11/1/95
California Water Service Bakersfield CA 182,670 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Modesto, City Of Modesto CA 180,320 5 7/1/95 - 7/31/95
HCPUD/South Central Tampa FL 134,741 1 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Desert Water Agency Palm Springs CA 125,000 1 2/1/94 - 2/28/94
Walnut Valley Water District Walnut CA 120,000 1 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
Salem Public Works Salem OR 116,000 1 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Lawton Lawton OK 110,880 1 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
Elizabeth Water Department Elizabeth NJ 110,002 2 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
HCPUD/Northwest Utilities Tampa FL 101,273 2 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Dominguez Water Corp Long Beach CA 100,000 1 10/1/95 - 10/31/95
PCUD-West New Port Richey FL 99,548 2 7/1/94 - 7/31/94
Cambridge Water Department Cambridge MA 95,802 1 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Cal. Water Service Company Hermosa/Redondo CA 90,870 3 8/1/95 - 8/31/95
Plantation, East & Central Plantation FL 75,425 1 3/1/94 - 3/31/94
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Twenty water systems serving 10,000 or more people suffered from four or more violations of the chronic coliform standard in 1994-1995 (Table 7). Among these large systems, the Firgrove Mutual system in Washington had the most monthly coliform violations in the 24 month period, with nine. Moore, Oklahoma and the East Wenatchee Water District in Washington were next with 8 violations in the two year period, followed by the Tangipahoa Waterworks in Louisiana with seven.

Table 7: Drinking water systems serving over 10,000 people with 4 or more reported chronic coliform violations, 1994-1995.

Water System City Served State Population Number of Chronic Coliform Violations Most Recent Chronic Coliform Violation
Firgrove Mutual Inc Puyallup WA 13,400 9 7/1/95 - 8/1/95
Moore Moore OK 40,300 8 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
East Wenatchee Water District East Wenatchee WA 19,150 8 12/1/95 - 1/1/96
Tangipahoa Wwks Dist #2 Natalbany LA 13,120 7 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Modesto, City Of Modesto CA 180,320 5 7/1/95 - 7/31/95
Monroe Twp MUA Monroe NJ 19,165 5 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Whitehall Twp. Authority Whitehall PA 10,800 5 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
California City California City CA 10,000 5 9/1/95 - 9/30/95
Metropolitan Water Company Tucson AZ 36,250 4 10/1/94 - 10/31/94
Madera Madera CA 35,500 4 9/1/95 - 9/30/95
O Fallon O Fallon IL 30,500 4 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Collinsville Collinsville IL 25,752 4 12/1/95 - 1/1/96
Kingsville Kingsville TX 25,200 4 1/1/95 - 1/31/95
Chelsea Water Dept. (MWRA) Chelsea MA 25,015 4 10/1/95 - 10/31/95
Steubenville Steubenville OH 22,125 4 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
Lake City WTP Lake City FL 20,500 4 10/1/95 - 11/1/95
University Of Missouri Columbia Columbia MO 15,000 4 8/1/95 - 9/1/95
Eufaula Water Works Eufaula AL 15,000 4 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
Pendleton Pendleton OR 14,610 4 12/1/95 - 1/1/96
City Of Wasco Wasco CA 13,774 4 1/1/95 - 1/31/95
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

 

Inadequate disinfection/Failure to filter. Violations for inadequate disinfection or outright failure to filter drinking water affected over 20 million individuals served by 1,478 water systems. These water systems all violated EPA's Surface Water Treatment rule (SWTR), which requires that water suppliers that use rivers or reservoirs that are prone to bacterial or parasitic contamination adequately filter their water. SWTR violations represent serious health risks. For example, violations for high turbidity levels (one of the criteria for meeting the SWTR) are a proxy indicator for microbial contamination. The only indication of a problem during the Milwaukee Cryptosporidium outbreak that made 400,000 people sick was an increase in turbidity of the water. Other violations of the SWTR include such problems as inadequate contact time of disinfection material with the water. These violations, which indicate that water treatment is not adequate to disinfect water, can increase risks of illness and disease.

Because most large cities rely on rivers and reservoirs for their tap water, the water suppliers that violated the filtration and disinfection requirement in 1994-1995 were among the largest in the country. The largest communities to suffer from violations of this requirement were New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Tucson, and Fort Worth (Table 8). Persistent violations can indicate more serious health risks. At least 9 communities violated the standard for 12 or more months during the 2 year period (Table 9). Because of Safe Drinking Water Act requirements many of these communities, including Ann Arbor, Michigan have identified problems, and are making necessary improvements to treatment plants.

Table 8: The largest drinking water systems with reported violations for inadequate filtration or disinfection, 1994-1995*.

Water System City Served State Population Number of Filtration Violations Most Recent Filtration Violation
New York City - Aqueduct System New York City NY 6,552,718 2 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
San Francisco Water Department San Francisco CA 750,000 1 3/1/95 - 4/1/95
PA-American Water Company Pittsburgh PA 615,543 1 1/1/94 - 1/31/94
Tucson Municipal Water Dept. Tucson AZ 550,000 2 10/1/94 - 10/31/94
Fort Worth, City Of Fort Worth TX 477,000 2 7/1/95 - 8/1/95
Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Auth. Pittsburgh PA 375,000 1 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Buffalo City Division Of Water Buffalo NY 345,974 1 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
Akron Akron OH 308,000 4 4/1/94 - 4/30/94
OKC Draper Oklahoma City OK 276,000 1 4/1/94 - 4/30/94
Dept Of Water Jersey City Jersey City NJ 228,537 1 2/1/94 - 2/28/94
Tulsa Mohawk Tulsa OK 197,000 1 3/1/94 - 3/31/94
Yonkers City Yonkers NY 188,082 1 1/1/94 - 1/31/94
Zone 7 Water Agency Pleasanton CA 147,000 1 6/1/95 - 7/1/95
New Rochelle Water Company Larchmont NY 137,640 1 1/1/94 - 1/31/94
City Of Sunnyvale Sunnyvale CA 120,000 1 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
Salem Public Works Salem OR 116,000 1 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Chester Water Authority Chester PA 110,000 1 1/1/94 - 1/31/94
Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 109,592 19 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
Wichita Falls City Of Wichita Falls TX 99,000 1 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
City Of Santa Clara Santa Clara CA 94,925 1 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
Decatur Decatur IL 83,885 5 5/1/95 - 6/1/95
Santa Cruz Water Department Santa Cruz CA 80,000 1 10/1/95 - 10/31/95
City Of Redding Redding CA 78,266 1 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
 
* Because of the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, many of these communities have identified, and are in the process of solving problems.
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Table 9: Drinking water systems serving more than 10,000 people with the most reported filtration violations, 1994-1995*.

Water System City Served State Population Number of Filtration Violations Most Recent Filtration Violation
Cambridge Cambridge OH 17,500 24 12/1/95 - 1/1/96
DWS Makawao Kokomo HI 16,375 21 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 109,592 19 9/1/95 - 10/1/95
Wilmington Wilmington OH 11,199 17 5/1/95 - 6/1/95
Bellingham Water Division Bellingham WA 62,000 15 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
Hot Springs Waterworks Hot Springs AR 55,000 15 8/1/95 - 9/1/95
Fremont Fremont OH 20,500 15 4/1/95 - 5/1/95
Norwich City Norwich City NY 12,000 12 12/1/95 - 12/31/95
Van Wert Van Wert OH 11,000 12 5/1/95 - 6/1/95
East Liverpool East Liverpool OH 14,200 8 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
Lebanon Lebanon OR 11,000 8 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
Okmulgee Okmulgee OK 17,000 7 6/1/95 - 7/1/95
Twin City WTR & SWR District Uhrichsville OH 11,000 7 7/1/94 - 7/31/94
Altoona City Authority Altoona PA 62,500 6 9/1/94 - 9/30/94
Elizabethton Water Dept Elizabethton TN 24,402 6 8/1/94 - 8/31/94
City Of Coffeyville Coffeyville KS 12,917 6 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
Marysville Marysville OH 11,500 6 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Decatur Decatur IL 83,885 5 5/1/95 - 6/1/95
Danbury Water Dept Danbury CT 48,000 5 6/1/94 - 6/30/94
Mattoon Mattoon IL 19,787 5 8/1/95 - 9/1/95
Claremore Claremore OK 18,000 5 11/1/94 - 11/30/94
Windham Water Works Windham CT 17,052 5 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
U S Army Fort Dix Fort Dix NJ 16,758 5 3/1/95 - 3/31/95
Akron Akron OH 308,000 4 4/1/94 - 4/30/94
Woonsocket Water Department Woonsocket RI 46,000 4 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Thibodaux Waterworks Thibodaux LA 15,810 4 10/1/94 - 10/31/94
Donna Donna TX 13,806 4 11/1/95 - 12/1/95
Taylor Taylor TX 13,218 4 4/1/95 - 5/1/95
 
* Because of the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, many of these communities have identified, and are in the process of solving problems.
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Lead. Lead is one of the most pervasive contaminants in U.S. drinking water. It is primarily a problem associated with lead pipes and solder used in older water delivery systems. Lead presents serious health risks to infants and children and can cause permanent loss of mental capacity at very low levels of contamination. In fact, no level of lead exposure has been identified that does not cause some measurable decrease in mental acuity in large populations if exposure occurs in childhood. For enforcement purposes, there is no Maximum Contaminant Level for lead. When the lead action level is exceeded, therefore, it is not technically considered a violation of the law. Like an MCL, however, when the lead action level is exceeded it represents a serious human health threat, and utilities are required to remediate the problem.

In 1994-1995, 3,062,000 million people in 2,634 communities drank water from systems that exceeded an EPA lead action level. This translates into hundreds of thousands people drinking water contaminated with lead at levels that can cause permanent loss of mental capacity in exposed children. Another 1,977,000 people in 1,007 communities drank from systems that violated EPA's Lead Rule because they did not take the necessary steps to solve previously identified lead problems, or to notify the public of their existence.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, thousands of water systems began testing for lead in 1992 and 1993 and many exceeded lead action levels. Most of these water systems have notified the public of problems, and have taken steps to begin treat the water to reduce lead contamination. These steps include treating the water to make it less corrosive, so it will leach less lead into drinking water. Although it will take years for these water suppliers to solve problems, most of these water suppliers are no longer listed as exceeding lead standards.

Based on reported data, Charleston, South Carolina was the largest city exceeding the EPA lead action level in 1994-1995 (Table 10). New Bedford and Brockton, MA; Anniston, Alabama, and Camden, New Jersey round out the five largest water systems that have exceeded the lead action level.

Table 10: The largest drinking water systems reported to EPA as exceeding the lead action level, 1994-1995.

Water System City Served State Population Date of Lead
Action Level
Exceedance
Charleston CPW Charleston SC 197,343 6/30/94
New Bedford Water Department New Bedford MA 105,000 6/30/94
Brockton Water Department Brockton MA 105,000 12/31/94
Anniston Water & Sewer Board Anniston AL 59,643 12/31/95
Camden City Water Dept Camden NJ 54,100 6/30/94
Bristol County Water Authority Warren RI 50,000 6/30/95
Conyers Conyers GA 45,355 2/18/94
Summerville Summerville SC 42,502 6/30/95
Perth Amboy Perth Amvoy NJ 42,000 6/30/95
Southern CA Water Co. Cordova CA 41,840 1/31/94
Miramar Miramar FL 41,100 12/31/94
Sayreville Water Dept Sayreville NJ 39,000 6/30/94
Hillsboro, Forest Grove Forest Grove OR 38,722 7/28/95
LaGrange LaGrange GA 36,920 6/30/94
Aiken Aiken SC 35,146 6/30/95
Galesburg Galesburg IL 34,358 3/31/94
Media Water Company Media PA 32,100 12/31/94
Schuylkill Co. Municipal Authority Pottsville PA 31,850 12/31/94
Darlington County W&SA Darlington SC 30,999 6/30/94
O Fallon O Fallon IL 30,500 4/1/94
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Chemical Contaminants In addition to lead, Safe Drinking Water Act regulations govern four main types of chemical contaminants: pesticides and industrial chemicals, nitrate, radioactive contaminants, and trihalomethanes (cancer-causing byproducts of chlorination of drinking water). Violations of these standards indicate that customers were exposed to illegal levels of toxic contaminants that pose acute or chronic risks. Chemicals such as nitrate, which causes potentially fatal blue baby syndrome, pose acute risks, while pesticides or industrial chemicals cause long term effects that include birth cancer, birth defects, and disruption of the endocrine system. In 1994-1995, 2.3 million people were served by 1,050 water systems that reported violating an EPA standard for radiation, nitrate, pesticides, industrial contaminants, or trihalomethanes.

The reported violations also significantly underestimate the true extent of chemical contamination problems. Many toxic chemicals commonly found in drinking water are not even regulated. Cyanazine and acetochlor, two unregulated pesticides, are found in the tap water of more than 10 million people; radon is found in the tap water of more than eighty million people, yet there is no standard. Other standards are weak and out of date. The standard for arsenic, found in the tap water of more than fifty million people, dates from World War II, before arsenic was even known to be a carcinogen.

Nitrate. Exposure to nitrate in drinking water above the current EPA standard of 10 ppm poses an immediate risk to infants of contracting blue baby syndrome (or methemoglobinemia), a potentially deadly condition caused by lack of oxygen in the blood (NRC 1995). Because the current EPA standard contains no safety factor to protect infants from acute illness, violations of this standard are of immediate concern.

In 1994-1995, 471,700 people drank water from 588 water suppliers that violated the EPA nitrate standard. The largest water suppliers to violate a nitrate standard were Modesto and Norco, California, and Dodge City, Kansas (Table 11). The principal cause of nitrate contamination of water supplies is overuse of nitrogen fertilizer, which accounts for approximately 80 percent of the nitrogen added to the environment each year (EWG 1996).

Table 11: The largest drinking water systems with reported violations of standards for toxic chemicals or radiation, 1994-1995.

Water System City Served State Population Chemical Violation(s) Most Recent Chemical Violation
Modesto, City Of Modesto CA 180,320 Nitrate 4/1/95 - 6/30/95
Joliet Joliet IL 78,000 Gross Alpha Radiation 2/22/95 - 2/21/99
North Penn Water Authority Philadelphia PA 69,072 Tetrachloroethylene 4/1/94 - 6/30/94
Fort Bragg Fort Bragg NC 65,000 Trihalomethanes 1/1/95 - 4/1/95
Anderson Water Department Anderson IN 62,148 Trihalomethanes 1/1/94 - 12/31/94
Ridgewood Water Department Ridgewood NJ 60,100 Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Camden City Water Department Camden NJ 54,100 1,2-Dichloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Mansfield, City Of Mansfield OH 51,000 Trihalomethanes 7/1/95 - 10/1/95
Parsippany-Troy Hills Water Parsippany NJ 48,478 Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride), 1/1/94 - 12/31/94
Warminster Municipal Authority Warminster PA 40,000 Tetrachloroethylene 7/1/94 - 9/30/94
Willingboro Municipal Authority Willingboro NJ 39,923 Tetrachloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Shenango Valley Water Company Shanango PA 37,260 Fluoride, Cadmium 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Marion City Water Works Marion IN 35,830 Trihalomethanes 1/1/94 - 12/31/94
De Kalb De Kalb IL 35,000 Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 12/1/94 - 11/30/98
Minot City Of Minot ND 34,544 Trihalomethanes 4/1/94 - 6/30/94
Vineland Water & Sewer Utility Vineland NJ 33,500 Trichloroethylene 1/1/94 - 12/31/94
Lancaster County Water Lancaster SC 25,704 Trihalomethanes 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Winchester Municipal Utilities Winchester KY 25,080 Trihalomethanes 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Norco, City Of Norco CA 24,704 Nitrate 8/1/95 - 10/31/95
Garden City Village Garden City NY 23,000 Trichloroethylene 7/1/95 - 9/30/95
Talladega Water & Sewer Board Talladega AL 22,500 Tetrachloroethylene 4/1/95 - 7/1/95
Alexander City Water Department Alexander AL 22,254 Trihalomethanes 4/1/95 - 7/1/95
Gaffney BPW Gaffney SC 21,746 Trihalomethanes 10/1/94 - 12/31/94
City Of Dodge City Dodge City KS 21,294 Nitrate 1/1/95 - 3/31/95
Collingswood Water Department Collingswood NJ 21,000 Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Bellwood Bellwood IL 20,241 Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 8/1/94 - 7/31/98
Sylacauga Utilities Board Sylacauga AL 19,530 Tetrachloroethylene 10/1/95 - 1/1/96
Bridgeton Water Dept Bridgeton NJ 18,750 Trichloroethylene, Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Marlboro Municipal Authority Marlboro NJ 18,072 1,1,1-Trichloroethane 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Muhlenberg County Water District Greenville KY 17,625 Trihalomethanes 7/1/95 - 10/1/95
Chambersburg Boro. Water System Chambersburg PA 17,500 Trihalomethanes 10/1/94 - 1/1/95
Okmulgee Okmulgee OK 17,000 Trihalomethanes 10/1/94 - 12/31/94
Sand Springs Sand Springs OK 17,000 Trihalomethanes 10/1/94 - 12/31/94
Defiance, City Of Defiance OH 17,000 Trihalomethanes 7/1/95 - 10/1/95
Park Ridge Water Department Park Ridge NJ 16,100 Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride) 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Lake Zurich Lake Zurich IL 15,940 Barium, Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 5/1/95 - 5/1/99
Madison Water Department Madison NJ 15,850 Tetrachloroethylene 1/1/95 - 1/1/96
Chester Metro Chester SC 15,128 Trihalomethanes 7/1/94 - 10/1/94
Ramsey Water Department Ramsey NJ 15,000 Tetrachloroethylene 1/1/94 - 12/31/94
West Chicago Chicago IL 14,796 Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 1/1/95 - 12/31/98
Elizabeth City Water System Eliabeth NC 14,500 Trihalomethanes 1/1/95 - 4/1/95
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

 

These reported nitrate violations significantly underestimate the problem because they do not include hundreds of thousands of water drinkers who are supplied from systems that violate the standard, but receive special waivers from their state contingent upon adequately notifying the public of problems, or the hundreds of water suppliers that have been forced to close wells because of nitrate contamination (EWG 1996).

For example, for several weeks to one month each year, the city of Columbus, Ohio serves water contaminated with nitrate above the EPA's health standard of 10 ppm. This is not considered a violation of the standard because the city notifies the public of the problem.

Radiation. Radiation causes cancer in humans. Because most water exceeding radiation standards is groundwater, violations typically represent permanent, but naturally occurring contamination of groundwater with radioactive elements. Exposure to radioactive drinking water is particularly risky because it translates into daily exposure to a known cancer causing agent at levels deemed unsafe by federal health authorities.

At least 279,500 people were served by 88 water systems with radiation levels that exceed federal standards. The five largest communities affected by violations of standards for radioactive drinking water in 1994-1995 are Joliet, DeKalb, Bellwood, Lake Zurich, and West Chicago, all in Illinois (Table 11).

Chemicals and Pesticides. The nation's drinking water is contaminated with hundreds of industrial chemical pollutants and pesticides. Since 1987, 67 pesticides and pesticide metabolites were found in the surface waters that supply drinking water in the Midwest alone (EWG 1994). Several hundred chemical contaminants have been detected in surface waters that provide drinking water for millions of people.

Forty different pesticides or industrial chemicals were found in 325 water systems at levels exceeding federal health limits over the two year period 1994-1995 (Table 12). These systems serve 935,000 people. For the second consecutive year, atrazine was the pesticide found most frequently above EPA standards, with 58 systems serving 114,500 people reporting violations in 1994-1995. Tetrachloroethylene violated health standards next most often, in 44 systems serving 411,800 people, followed by trichloroethylene at unsafe levels in 30 systems serving 278,100 people.

Table 12: Fourty (40) pesticides or industrial chemicals violated federal health standards in 325 drinking water systems in 1994-1995.

Chemical or Pesticide Number of
Water Systems
Affected
Population
Served
 
Any Chemical or Pesticide Violation 325 935,203
 
Atrazine 58 114,503
Tetrachloroethylene 44 411,824
Trichloroethylene 30 278,141
Copper 26 24,980
Thallium (Total) 22 19,100
Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride) 17 74,463
Lead 17 10,806
Antimony (Total) 16 5,930
1,1-Dichloroethylene 14 4,336
Barium 12 54,808
Fluoride 11 75,057
Benzene 10 41,575
Sodium 9 4,651
Carbon Tetrachloride 8 4,826
bis(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate 8 4,066
Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) 8 3,263
Arsenic 6 9,757
Cyanide 5 14,128
Beryllium (Total) 5 1,755
1,2-Dichloropropane 5 1,124
1,2-Dichloroethane 4 54,687
Cadmium 4 37,656
1,1,1-Trichloroethane 4 18,357
Di(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate 4 3,722
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene 4 863
Vinyl Chloride 4 185
Nickel 4 172
Chloride 3 1,499
Mercury 3 555
trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 3 498
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 3 350
Iron 2 164
Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene) 2 94
2,4-D 1 720
Manganese 1 678
Di(2-Ethylhexyl) Adipate 1 250
Dichlorodifluoromethane 1 100
Ethylbenzene 1 44
o-Xylene 1 44
Xylenes (Total) 1 25
     
Any Chemical or Pesticide Violation 325 935,203
 
Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

The North Pennsylvania Water Authority, with tetrachloroethylene problems, was the largest water system to report a chemical violation, followed by water suppliers in Ridgewood, Camden City and Parsippany-Troy Hills New Jersey (Table 11).

The majority of chemical and pesticide contamination, however, does not exceed federal health standards, and is not reported to the EPA. This is in large part because chemical and pesticide contaminant standards are weak. Special risks faced by infants, children or sensitive subpopulations are ignored. In general, and within broad public health guideposts, the harder it is to remove a chemical contaminant, the more of it people are allowed to drink. Because the standards are so weak, violations typically indicate major problems.

Conversely, contamination at levels below federal health standards does not mean that exposure is safe, or that people will not suffer illness or adverse health affects after long term exposure. Moreover, chemicals and pesticides are set for single contaminants, and do not account for multiple contaminants interacting in the water and the human body. And again, for many commonly occurring chemicals such as cyanazine or radon, there are no enforceable standards.

Trihalomethanes. Chlorination of drinking water provides fundamental health protections for hundreds of millions of people by killing microorganisms present in water that would otherwise cause widespread human disease. Chlorination of water that is high in organic material (animal waste, treated sewage outflow, degraded leaves and soil, etc.), however, can produce toxic cancer causing by-products known as trihalomethanes (THMs).

Over 630,000 people served by 42 systems drank water that exceeded federal health standards for trihalomethanes during 1994-1995. The largest trihalomethane violator was Fort Bragg, North Carolina followed by Anderson, Indiana and Mansfield, Ohio (Table 11). The systems with the most violations were Lancaster County, South Carolina and New Shoreham, Rhode Island, each with four violations of the trihalomethane health standard during the two year period examined here (Table 11).

The solution to this problem is to keep drinking water source water as clean as possible, and to disinfect more carefully so as not to overproduce hazardous by-products. More than ten studies show that THMs cause rectal and bladder cancer in humans, and a recent review of these studies published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that 10,000 people get cancer each year associated with trihalomethanes (Morris et.al. 1992). Additional studies show that THMs can cause birth defects at levels below the federal standard. EPA is currently facing a negotiated regulatory deadline to tighten these standards. The chlorine industry has aggressively lobbied to weaken these provisions, and draft legislation written by Representative Thomas Bliley of Virginia would delay or weaken the regulations to control these cancer causing byproducts.

Water to Watch

Just Add Water provides a snapshot profile of drinking water quality in the United States. If the same analysis were done again in two years, some of the cities and towns with recurring problems would appear again, and others would drop off the list to be replaced by new communities where a problem emerged. A similar list was prepared in May, 1995, based upon EPA violations reported for the 1993-1994 period (See In The Drink, Environmental Working Group, May 1995).

While problems in specific communities may or may not arise within a two year period, one thing is abundantly clear: people drink water in thousands of communities large and small, that is polluted with biological, chemical, and radioactive contaminants at levels the federal government deems unsafe. All violations of a federal health standard are serious because they mean either that people may have been made ill by drinking the water that was contaminated with hazardous microorganisms, or that people are consuming excessively high levels of carcinogenic or otherwise toxic contaminants or lead over extended periods of time.

Within the SDWIS universe of reported health standard violations, some water systems bear closer scrutiny. As a first step in understanding the extent of these drinking water systems, we developed a list of drinking water systems serving over 10,000 people that deserve a closer look (Tables 13 and 14).

In developing this list of Water to Watch we used the following criteria. First, we looked at large systems (serving over 10,000 people) that were placed on EPA's Significant Non-Complier (SNC) List for violations of health standards in 1994 or 19951 . The SNC list, which was obtained from the EPA along with the SDWIS database, contains systems that have been shown to have the most significant contamination or compliance problems, principally repeated violations of biological water quality standards, or major violations of health standards for chemical and radiological contaminants.

While this provides a starting point to analyze water systems that have failed to meet the laws' requirements, it does not include important information such as violations of the Surface Water Treatment Rule (which requires water systems to adequately filter or disinfect drinking water) or systems that exceed the Lead Action Level (meaning that water drinkers in those communities were exposed to unhealthy levels of lead in their water). The SNC list also does not account for many water systems that have reported multiple problems to SDWIS.

Second, to be listed as Water to Watch, systems not characterized by EPA as "significant non-compliers" must have reported a recurring or ongoing pattern of violations of at least two health contaminant standards. This limited our list to:

  • Systems violating the Surface Water Treatment Rule once, coupled with at least one coliform and/or turbidity violation in the two year period.
  • Systems that reported at least two violations or exceedances of contaminant standards or one chemical violation coupled with a violation of a biological contaminant. For example, a system exceeding the Lead Action Level that also had violations of Coliform standards would be placed on the list.
  • Systems violating standards for inadequate filtration or disinfection and also reporting coliform or turbidity violations.

The 74 water systems on this 1996 Water to Watch list fall into three categories.

  1. Water systems with newly identified, serious problems. Thirty-four (34) water suppliers including Jersey City and Modesto, CA not previously on the Water to Watch list, have been added to the list because of multiple violations that occurred during 1995 (Table 13).
  2. Water systems were listed on the Water to Watch list based on 1993-1994 violations information, and had either new problems or recurring problems in 1995. Seventeen (17) water suppliers including Fort Bragg, NC and Camden, NJ are listed as repeat, serious violators (Table 13).
  3. Water suppliers listed on the Water to Watch list because of violations that occured in 1994, but with no violations in 1995. Many of these twenty-three (23) water suppliers including New York City and Kearney, NE have begun cleaning up their drinking water. These potential SWDA sucess stories indicate the need for strong federal drinking water health and monitoring requirements. Weakening these standards now, will place in jeopardy the health of the citizens of these and other communities with contaminated drinking water (Table 14).

Note 1 In some cases, water systems were placed on the 1994-95 SNC list for violations that occurred in earlier years. These systems were excluded from our list of systems with Drinking Water to Watch.

Table 13: Drinking water systems with multiple health standard violations in 1994-1995, including systems classified by the EPA as "significant non compliers".

Water System State Population
Served
Reason(s) for being on the Water to Watch list in 1995 Most Recent
Violation
         
Department Of Water, Jersey City NJ 228,537 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Oct-95
Modesto, City Of CA 180,320 Chronic Coliform, Excess Nitrate Jul-95
Fort Bragg NC 65,000 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Ridgewood Water Dept NJ 60,100 Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene Jan-95
Camden City Water Dept NJ 54,100 Lead, 1,2-Dichloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene Jan-95
Malden Water Dept. (MWRA) MA 53,884 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Oct-95
Mansfield, City Of OH 51,000 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
Bristol County Water Authority RI 50,000 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jun-95
Perth Amboy NJ 42,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead Jun-95
Moore OK 40,300 Chronic Coliform Nov-95
Hillsboro,Forest Grove,Beaver OR 38,722 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jul-95
Shenango Valley Water Company PA 37,260 Fluoride, Cadmium Jan-95
Royal Lakes Water Treatment Plant FL 32,188 Chronic Coliform Jan-95
O Fallon IL 30,500 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead Nov-95
Miami International Airport FL 26,800 Chronic Coliform, Lead Aug-95
Lancaster County Water SC 25,704 Lead, Trihalomethanes Jun-95
Chelsea Water Dept. (MWRA) MA 25,015 Chronic Coliform, Lead Oct-95
Norco, City Of CA 24,704 Nitrate, Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Myrtle Beach City Of SC 23,448 Lead, Inadequate Filtration Jul-95
Alexander City Water Department AL 22,254 Trihalomethanes Apr-95
Altus OK 21,910 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Sep-95
City Of Dodge City KS 21,294 Excess Nitrate Jan-95
Collingswood Water Department NJ 21,000 Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene Jan-95
Bellwood IL 20,241 Lead, Combined Radium (-226 & -228) Mar-95
Bartlett IL 19,373 Chronic Coliform, Lead Jul-95
Monroe Township MUA NJ 19,165 Chronic Coliform Nov-95
East Wenatchee Water District WA 19,150 Chronic Coliform Sep-95
Bridgeton Water Dept NJ 18,750 Trichloroethylene, Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene Jan-95
Defiance, City Of OH 17,000 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
Belvidere IL 17,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Okmulgee OK 17,000 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes Jun-95
Sand Springs OK 17,000 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Trihalomethanes Nov-95
Lake Zurich IL 15,940 Barium, Combined Radium (-226 & -228) Jul-95
Madison Water Dept NJ 15,850 Chronic Coliform, Tetrachloroethylene Aug-95
Elizabeth City Water System NC 14,500 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Miami Springs, City Of FL 14,000 Chronic Coliform, Lead Mar-95
Canton IL 13,600 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes May-95
Firgrove Mutual Inc WA 13,400 Chronic Coliform Jul-95
Tangipahoa Wwks Dist #2 LA 13,120 Chronic Coliform Aug-95
Kewanee IL 12,969 Chronic Coliform, Gross Alpha (Excl. Radon & U) Jul-95
Williamsburg Water Plant KY 12,761 Trihalomethanes Jan-95
Ironton, City Of OH 12,643 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Nov-95
Sterling, City Of CO 12,500 Nitrate Jan-95
Bella Vista POA AR 11,904 Chronic Coliform, Unhealthy Level of Trihalomethanes Oct-95
La Grande, City Of OR 11,720 Chronic Coliform May-95
Haledon Water Dept NJ 11,400 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Lead, Inadequate Filtration Nov-95
Urbana Water Department OH 11,353 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Nitrate Nov-95
Van Wert, City Of OH 11,000 Inadequate Filtration,Trihalomethanes May-95
Celina, City Of OH 10,800 Trihalomethanes Jul-95
New Shoreham, Town Of RI 10,000 Lead, Trihalomethanes Apr-95
Beale Air Force Base CA 10,000 Chronic Coliform, Lead Jul-95

The 17 drinking water systems in bold were listed on the Water to Watch list in 1993-1994.

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Table 14: Systems on the previous "Water to Watch" list, reporting no new or continuing problems, 1994-1995.

Water System State Population
Served
Reason(s) for being on the Water to Watch list in 1994 Most Recent
Violation
         
New York City - Aqueduct System NY 6,552,718 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Nov-94
Elizabeth Water Department NJ 110,002 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
North Penn Water Authority PA 69,072 Fecal Bacteria, Tetrachloroethylene Apr-94
Parsippany-Troy Hills Water NJ 48,478 Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride), Trichloroethylene Jan-94
Belleville Water Dept NJ 35,129 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
Vineland Water & Sewer Utility NJ 33,500 Trichloroethylene Jan-94
Southwest Regional Water District OH 31,500 Fecal Bacteria Aug-94
Kearney, City Of NE 24,396 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Sep-94
Steubenville, City Of OH 22,125 Fecal Bacteria, Chronic Coliform Aug-94
Gaffney BPW SC 21,746 Trihalomethanes Oct-94
South Fort Polk Water System LA 21,500 Chronic Coliform Apr-94
Lake Wales, City Of FL 19,690 Chronic Coliform Apr-94
McAlester PWA OK 18,000 Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Sep-94
Chambersburg Boro Water System PA 17,500 Trihalomethanes Oct-94
Thibodaux Waterworks LA 15,810 Chronic Coliform, Inadequate Filtration Oct-94
Chester Metro SC 15,128 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Mitchell SD 13,798 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Lancaster City Of SC 13,755 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Williston City Of ND 13,131 Inadequate Filtration, Trihalomethanes Jan-94
Stucker Fork Water Utility IN 11,110 Trihalomethanes Jul-94
Clanton Water Department AL 10,800 Trihalomethanes Apr-94
Whitehall Township Authority PA 10,800 Chronic Coliform Aug-94
MD-American Water Co. MD 10,200 Fluoride Oct-94

Source: Environmental Working Group. Compiled from EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System 1994-1996.

Appendix: Pending House Legislation to Weaken Drinking Water Protection

House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (R-VA) proposed legislation on April 19, 1996 that would substantially weaken the current health protections in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Bliley bill falls well short of the improvements contained in the unanimously-passed 1994 House bill that Chairman Bliley personally negotiated and publicly embraced. His new proposal would also undo much of the unanimously-passed 1995 Senate revision of the Safe Drinking Water Act that the water industry and state and local governments have urged him to adopt.

Among the major provisions weakening current law and the Senate legislation urged by the pesticide industry and/or the chlorine industry and incorporated into Bliley's draft legislation as it stands at press time are proposals that would:

 

  • Weaken the basic public health standard in current law. Under current law, contaminant standards must protect the public health to the greatest extent feasible. The Bliley bill subverts this clear priority to protect the public health, by adding new cost-benefit provisions that would explicitly allow a certain number of preventable illnesses and even deaths to occur, depending on the cost of treating the contaminant in question. If enacted, polluters and water utilities could use these cost-benefit provisions to force the EPA, when setting standards, to balance the costs of making the water drinkable against the economic value of the human illness and even death that may result from a certain level of drinking water contamination. The bill also adds complex, new, evidentiary and procedural hurdles that the EPA must clear before setting a health standard, and creates new opportunities for industry to challenge these health standards in court.
  • Reopening and Weakening Negotiated Rules to lower health risks from Cryptosporidium and Disinfection By-Products. At the urging of the chlorine industry, the Bliley bill would reopen and likely weaken a 1994 negotiated rule (agreed to by the water industry, states, and many others) that would reduce the amount of cancer-causing disinfection and disinfection by-products in tap water. Under the Bliley draft, once the rule is reopened, it is subject to a confusing and ambiguous risk/cost/benefit analysis. As it now stands, this crucial rule will control Cryptosporidium and perhaps the most significant chemical risk in drinking water, the by-products of disinfection, which have been linked to over 10,000 cancers per year and preliminarily to many serious birth defects.1
  • Allows More Arsenic in Drinking Water. Arsenic contaminates the drinking water of 50 million Americans. The Bliley bill delays a court ordered update of the safety standard for arsenic and applies the weakened standard setting provisions when the arsenic standard is finally set.
  • Allows high levels of radon in drinking water. Radon, a known human carcinogen, contaminates the drinking water of 80 million Americans. The bill would mandate a standard of 3000 picocuries per liter for radon, 10 times higher than the standard proposed by EPA in 1992.
  • Allows 50 million people in small communities to drink water with higher levels of chemical and microbial contaminants than people in large cities. The Bliley bill requires waivers ("variances") of health standards for both microbial and chemical contaminants to be issued upon petition to 90 percent of the nation's smaller water systems (those serving fewer than 10,000 people each) if they meet certain newly broadened criteria. The bill deletes the 1995 Senate bill's prohibition on waiving standards for microbial contaminants, or contaminants regulated before 1986 (like arsenic or lead). It does not provide EPA or citizen objections to variances as allowed in the Senate bill, and deletes the Senate's requirement for EPA guidance on variances. Exemptions would not need to include schedules of compliance for additional control measures.
  • Rolls back water safety monitoring requirements for over 90% of the nation's water systems. The new draft of the Bliley bill allows over 90 percent of the nation's public water systems (those serving 10,000 people or fewer) to receive waivers for any chemical contamination safety monitoring requirements

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Molly Evans and Christopher Campbell who designed and produced the report, and to Allison Daly for coordinating the release of Just Add Water. We are grateful to Ken Cook and Sara Savitt for editing and insight.

Just Add Water was made possible by grants from The W. Alton Jones Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Joyce Foundation, the Working Assets Funding Service, Alida Messinger Lead Trust No. 1, and the Turner Foundation. A computer equipment grant from the Apple Computer Corporation made our analysis possible. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts or other supporters listed above. Environmental Working Group is responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation contained in this report.

Just Add Water was released in cooperation with:

Citizen Action and affiliated state organizations
Clean Water Action and affiliated state organizations
U.S. and State Public Interest Research Groups
Environmental Information Center
Citizens Campaign for a Better Environment
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
South Carolina Coastal Conservation League
Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste
Sierra Club Kansas Chapter
Clean Water Fund
Washington Toxics Coalition
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Sierra Club North Carolina Chapter
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Sierra Club South Dakota Chapter
Arkansas Fairness Council
Tennessee Environmental Council

State Level Executive Summaries

The Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives is currently reauthorizing the Safe Drinking Water Act, the law that establishes basic health standards and testing requirements for the nation's tap water. So-called "reform" legislation drafted by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. The Senate reauthorized its version of the Safe Drinking Water Act in November, 1995.

The Bliley draft "reform" bill dramatically weakens the nation's drinking water safeguards. If enacted it would subvert the basic health standard in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and explicitly allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking water of small and medium sized communities than is allowed in large cities.

In Just Add Water the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed more than 16 million records submitted to the EPA by state drinking water agencies. We found that thousands of community water suppliers serving millions of people across the country routinely fail to meet federal health standards (Table 5). These same water system records further reveal that thousands of private water suppliers that serve some of the most vulnerable portions of the population - schools, hospitals, and day care centers - have violated EPA health standards in the previous two years. Any weakening of current law would be particularly unwise given the level of contamination in drinking water today.

In November, the Senate passed a bill that weakened tap water safety monitoring and enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and did little to prevent pollution of tap water supplies. The Bliley draft contains similar provisions, but goes well beyond the Senate bill. It replaces the current law's emphasis on public health protection with cost-benefit provisions that undermine and substantially diminish the basic health guarantees in current law. As Just Add Water went to press, the most serious problems in the legislation included:

  • Weakens or delays health standards for toxics in tap water. The Bliley bill allows EPA to weaken standards, letting the cost to water suppliers of removing toxic contaminants take precedence over public health. This reverses the emphasis on health protections in current federal law. In addition, the draft legislation would require EPA to conduct complex and time-consuming analyses every time the agency acts to establish new standards, and gives polluting industries new avenues to sue EPA over proposed regulations.
  • Delays a new EPA standard for arsenic. The bill would require the agency to perform years of studies before it could update the weak, 50-year-old standard for this known human carcinogen.
  • Rolls back EPA's proposed radon standard. The bill writes into law a radon standard that is ten times weaker than the initial EPA-proposed standard for this known human carcinogen that causes approximately 200 deaths per year (EPA 1995).
  • Denies the consumer's Right to Know. Currently, consumers do not have to be told if their water contains many highly toxic contaminants, including Cryptosporidium, arsenic, and radon. An amendment that would require consumers to be informed of these problems failed to pass the Senate, and is not included in the House legislation.
  • Does virtually nothing to prevent pollution or make polluters pay to clean up tap water supplies that they contaminated. Preventing pollution is the only way that cities and towns can keep pesticides out of drinking water supplies. The Bliley draft rewrite of the SDWA handcuffs communities and states, giving them few powers to prevent contamination of drinking water supplies. As a result, the health risks from drinking tap water will continue to increase, and downstream water drinkers will continue to pay to clean up problems caused by upstream polluters. Polluting interests (primarily agribusiness) have lobbied heavily against giving communities the means to control or prevent pollution of their water supplies.
  • Allows fifty million people in small and medium-sized communities to drink tap water that contains more hazardous microorganisms or toxic chemicals than the tap water in large communities. The Bliley draft SDWA rewrite explicitly allows more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking water of small and medium sized communities, than would be allowed in large cities. Rural water suppliers and the pesticide industry have lobbied aggressively for provisions in the bill that would allow small communities to get expanded exemptions from health standards. This double standard specifically benefits the pesticide industry because in most cases pesticides are the only chemical pollutants (other than nitrate) found in small rural water supplies.
  • Weakens and delays regulations to reduce the levels of chlorination byproducts. This provision benefits only the chlorine industry. The Bliley draft reopens industry-negotiated rules to control cancer causing byproducts of chlorine disinfection, subjecting them to complicated new risk/cost benefit tests, and allowing industry to veto EPA efforts to establish expedited rules.

Methodology and Contents

Just Add Water focuses solely on health standard violations (not monitoring violations or "paperwork" violations), meaning that water drinkers in all of the communities reported in Just Add Water were exposed to chemical, radiation, or biological contamination at levels that federal health authorities consider unsafe, or to drinking water that was not adequately treated to reduce health threats. Also listed in these tables are water systems that have been deemed "Significant Non-Compliers" with EPA's health standards. EPA places systems on the Significant Non-Compliers list if they have repeated or severe violations of health standards.

All information presented in this report is from data contained in the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) database. The Environmental Working Group obtained the SDWIS database, which contains more than 16 million records of information on drinking water monitoring, enforcement actions, and violations of health standards.

EPA maintains the SDWIS database as a computerized repository of information on compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. States are responsible for entering all violations information into the database, and correcting any data errors. All information on the name, city, and population served by the water system are also provided by the states to the EPA.

The EPA data presented here significantly underestimate the number of systems out of compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act health standards. First, many water utilities are not performing required testing, and thus are almost certainly not detecting and reporting the full range of drinking water problems. In 1993-94, 52 million people, 20% of the nation's population, were served water by a utility that violated a SDWA monitoring requirement. Second, many states fail to report drinking water systems that are in violation of federal health standards. A 1990 GAO investigation found numerous instances where violations of the SDWA known to states were not reported as violations to EPA (GAO 1990). A 1988 investigation by EPA's Inspector General reported similar findings (EPA Inspector General 1988). Because of this rampant underreporting, the fact that a water system does not appear to have any reported violations should not necessarily be taken to mean that the system has not exceeded EPA health standards.

About the Tables In This Report

Just Add Water contains five tables detailing violations or exceedances of the Safe Drinking Water Act's health standards in the state that have occurred in the two-year period from January 1994 through December 1995.

Table 1 contains summary information for all water systems in the state. This includes information on:

  • The number of community water systems with violations or exceedances of federal health standards, and the population affected;
  • The number of water systems classified by the EPA as "Significant Non-Compliers" and the population affected;
  • The number of schools, day care centers or medical facilities with violations of federal health standards, and the population affected; and
  • A summary of the systems and people affected by health standard violations for:
    Fecal bacteria (E coli)
    Chronic coliform bacteria
    Exceedances of EPA's Lead Action Level,
    Inadequate filtration or failure to filter, and
    Toxic chemicals or excess radiation.

The health threats of these contaminants are briefly discussed below.

Table 2 contains a list of the largest water systems in the state that have violated a drinking water health standard or have been listed as Significant Non-Compliers with EPA health standards between January 1994 and December 1995. EPA places systems on the Significant Non-Compliers list if they have repeated or severe violations of health standards. This table includes information on the name, population, and county served by the water system, as well as the type and date of the violation.

Table 3 contains a list of all schools, hospitals or daycare centers in the state (alphabetized by county) that have their own water supply (usually a well) and have had a violation or exceedance of an EPA health standard, or been classified as a Significant Non-Complier by EPA.

Table 4 contains a list of all community water systems in the state (alphabetized by county) that have had a violation or exceedance of an EPA health standard, or been classified as a Significant Non-Complier by EPA.

Table 5 contains summary information on the number of water systems and population served that have suffered from violations or exceedances of EPA standards in all 50 states.

The Nature of the Violations

The violations described in the following tables are violations of EPA health standards or requirements, meaning that water drinkers in these communities were exposed to chemical or biological contaminants that federal health authorities consider unsafe, or to drinking water that was not adequately treated to reduce health threats. Also listed in these tables are water systems that have been deemed "Significant Non-Compliers" with EPA's health standards. EPA places systems on the Significant Non-Compliers list if they have repeated or severe violations of health standards. The tables that follow describe violations of eight types of EPA standards:

Fecal bacteria (E. Coli). E. Coli are a particular type of disease-causing bacteria found in fecal matter. Scientists estimate that 150,000 people each year become ill and 300 die from exposure to E. Coli in drinking water (Bennett, et al. 1987). Their presence in drinking water indicates that it has been contaminated by sewage or animal wastes. This bacterial contamination causes severe diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Because of the severity of the health risks from fecal bacteria, EPA sets an acute standard indicating that water must be free of all fecal coliform to be considered safe.

Chronic Coliform Bacteria. The presence of coliform bacteria in drinking water is generally the result of problems with water treatment or the pipes which distribute the water. Coliform bacteria may also indicate contamination by disease-causing microorganisms (although the coliform themselves are not harmful). The most recent studies indicate that more than seven million people become ill and more than 1,000 die each year from disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water (Morris and Levin 1995). Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and possibly jaundice, and associated headaches and fatigue. EPA has set a health standard to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects. Under this standard, no more than five percent of the samples (assuming at least two samples test positive) collected during a month can contain these bacteria.

Inadequate filtration/Failure to filter. If water is inadequately treated, it may contain microbiological contaminants such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia (which are found in most surface water drinking water systems and are not killed by simple chlorination) which can cause diarrhea, cramps and nausea. Scientists estimate that these two organisms sicken over 600,000 people and kill over 100 each year in the United States (Morris and Levin 1995). EPA has set enforceable requirements (known as Treatment Techniques) for treating drinking water to reduce the risk from disease-causing microorganisms such as Shigella, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia. Under these health standards, drinking water systems filtering their water must ensure that the process is working effectively, as demonstrated by turbidity and objective disinfection criteria. Systems not filtering must ensure that their source waters are clean and adequately disinfected.

Chemical and Radioactive Contamination.

The most common chemical or radioactive contaminants that are found above EPA standards include:

Total Trihalomethanes. Trihalomethanes or THMs are disinfection byproducts, chemicals formed when chlorine used in drinking water disinfection reacts with naturally occurring organic material such as sewage, animal waste and runoff. More than ten human epidemiological studies have indicated that these chemicals are associated with rectal, bladder, or pancreatic cancers, and a 1993 article in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that annually, 10,700 rectal and bladder cancers are likely caused by disinfection byproducts such as the trihalomethanes (Morris, et al. 1992). A 1993 study by the U.S. Public Health Service suggested that disinfection byproducts are also associated with birth defects, including spine and neural disorders (Bove, et al. 1992).

Lead. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, lead is the number one environmental threat to children. EPA has concluded that there is in fact no "safe" level of exposure to lead. Lead in drinking water causes interference with red blood cell chemistry, delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children, deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children, and increases in the blood pressure of some adults. Drinking water contaminated with lead causes over 560,000 children each year to exceed the CDC's blood-lead level of concern. And according to the CDC, better control of lead could help prevent over 680,000 cases of hypertension each year. Public water systems that have lead concentrations above 15 parts per billion in more than 10 percent of samples have exceeded EPA's Lead Action Level, and must optimize corrosion control and engage in a public education program to inform consumers of ways they can reduce their exposure to lead in drinking water (NRDC 1993).

Radioactive Drinking Water. EPA has established drinking water standards for two types of radiation in drinking water. Gross Alpha Radioactivity and Radium-226 and -228. Gross Alpha Radioactivity is a known human carcinogen. Its presence indicates contamination by radium, radon, uranium, or other naturally occurring radioactive substances. Radium-226 and -228, also known human carcinogens, are the second measure of radioactivity in water. Radium, a byproduct of the decay of uranium, is a naturally occurring, radioactive metal. Radium-226 is associated with bone sarcomas and head carcinomas, and Radium-228 is associated with bone sarcomas. EPA estimates that, over a lifetime, 15,750 people get cancer from radioactive drinking water (EPA 1991).

Nitrate. Exposure to nitrate in drinking water above the current EPA standard of 10 ppm poses an acute risk to infants of methemoglobinemia, or blue baby syndrome, a potentially deadly condition caused by lack of oxygen (NRC 1995). Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and in more extreme cases loss of consciousness, and even death.

Pesticides and Industrial Chemicals. EPA establishes standards for more than sixty additional chemical contaminants in drinking water. Violations of these health standards generally mean that water drinkers were exposed to toxic contaminants at concentrations that pose excessive risks of long term health impacts such as cancer, birth defects, neurological damage, and disruption of the hormonal system. Two common chemical contaminants are atrazine and trichloroethylene. Atrazine is an herbicide heavily used on corn and sorghum. It is a possible human carcinogen, and has been found to cause cancer of the mammary gland in animal studies. In addition, atrazine has also been found to disrupt the hormonal and endocrine system. Trichloroethylene is a probable human carcinogen. This chemical is commonly used in metal cleaning or dry cleaning, and often contaminates drinking water wells when disposed of improperly.

References

Bennett, J.V., et al. 1987. Infectious and parasitic diseases, in Closing the gap: the burden of unnecessary illness. R.W. Amler and H.B. Dull, eds. Oxford University Press.

Bove, et al. 1992. Public Drinking Water Contamination and Birthweight, Fetal Deaths, and Birth Defects. U.S. Public Health Service and N.J. Department of Health.

EPA. 1991. Regulatory Impact Analysis of Proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulations For Radionuclides. Washington, D.C.

Morris, R.D., et al. 1992. Chlorination, chlorination byproducts and cancer: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 82(7). 836-842.

Morris and Levin. 1995. Estimating the incidence of waterborne infectious disease related to drinking water in the United States. In Reichard, et al., eds. Assessing and managing health risks from drinking water contamination: Approaches and applications. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Press. Great Britain.

NRC. 1995. Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

NRDC. 1993. Olson, E. Think Before You Drink. Natural Resources Defense Council. Washington, D.C.

NRDC. 1994. Olson, E. Think Before You Drink: 1992-1993 Update. Natural Resources Defense Council. Washington, D.C.

State Summary Executive Summaries

Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Alabama

In 1994 and 1995, 459,966 people in 106 communities in Alabama drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 7 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 1,321 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Alabama continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 26,526 people in 5 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 238,255 people in Alabama drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 13,400 in 3 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Alabama. In 1994-1995, 125,816 people in Alabama drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 86,784 in 8 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Anniston Water & Sewer Board in Anniston, Selma Water Works & Sewer Board in Selma, and Mobile County Water & Fire Pro. Authority in Theodore. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Heflin and Lafayette. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Alabama, where 85 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Alabama affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 706534 people in Alabama drank water served by 300 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Alabama drinking water agency and the EPA took 23 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Alabama's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Alaska

In 1994 and 1995, 139,348 people in 236 communities in Alaska drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 18 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 2,510 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Alaska continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 2,906 people in 18 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 23,677 people in Alaska drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 98,660 in 112 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Alaska. In 1994-1995, 26631 people in Alaska drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 1,870 in 13 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Juneau, Thane Ore House in Juneau, and Eielson - Air Force Base. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Palmer. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Alaska, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Alaska affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 491867 people in Alaska drank water served by 1248 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Alaska drinking water agency and the EPA took 2 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Alaska's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Arizona

In 1994 and 1995, 1,227,091 people in 396 communities in Arizona drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 19 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 24,004 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Arizona continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 38,917 people in 34 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 531,695 people in Arizona drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 712,527 in 45 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Tucson Water Department, Yuma-Municipal Water Department and Peoria. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Scottsdale, Coolidge, and Marana. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Arizona, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Arizona affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 3,807,487 people in Arizona drank water served by 1,370 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Arizona drinking water agency and the EPA took 1 enforcement action against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Arizona's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Arkansas

In 1994 and 1995, 342,686 people in 172 communities in Arkansas drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Arkansas continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 38,816 people in 46 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 149,904 people in Arkansas drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 139,113 in 36 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Arkansas. In 1994-1995, 20,802 people in Arkansas drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 14,325 in 4 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Hot Springs Waterworks in Hot Springs, West Memphis Waterworks in West Memphis, and Jacksonville Water Department in Jacksonville. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Arkansas, where 91 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Arkansas affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 277,040 people in Arkansas drank water served by 415 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Arkansas drinking water agency and the EPA took 15 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Arkansas's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in California

In 1994 and 1995, 4,382,520 people in 570 communities in California drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 43 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 68,790 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in California continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 42,277 people in 25 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 2,499,498 people in California drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 1,733,456 in 79 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in California. In 1994-1995, 112,237 people in California drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 236,405 in 18 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were San Francisco Water Department, California Water Service - Bakersfield, and Modesto. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Stanford, Fresno, and Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for California, where 86 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in California affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 2,502,026 people in California drank water served by 768 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the California drinking water agency and the EPA took 119 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of California's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Colorado

In 1994 and 1995, 234,932 people in 193 communities in Colorado drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 3 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 302 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Colorado continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 5,104 people in 27 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 43,953 people in Colorado drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 157,801 in 53 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Colorado. In 1994-1995, 22,994 people in Colorado drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 13,616 in 5 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Longmont,, Lafayette, and Sterling. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Durango, Steamboat Springs, and Denver. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Colorado, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Colorado affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 262,587 people in Colorado drank water served by 741 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Colorado drinking water agency and the EPA took 227 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Colorado's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Connecticut

In 1994 and 1995, 271,585 people in 277 communities in Connecticut drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 47 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 24,188 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Connecticut continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 46,092 people in 24 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 157,506 people in Connecticut drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 72,182 in 4 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Connecticut. In 1994-1995, 45,079 people in Connecticut drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 1,108 in 13 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Danbury Water Department, Southington Water Department, and CTWC-Naugatuck Regional Central System in Naugatuck. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Danbury, Montville, and Bridgeport-Milford. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Connecticut, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Connecticut affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 148,162 people in Connecticut drank water served by 380 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Connecticut drinking water agency and the EPA took 98 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Connecticut's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Delaware

In 1994 and 1995, 70,224 people in 134 communities in Delaware drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 11 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 4,531 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Delaware continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 35,057 people in 15 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 17,303 people in Delaware drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Delaware. In 1994-1995, 17972 people in Delaware drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 4,397 in 24 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Dover Water Department, Smyrna Rest & Info. Center in Smyrna, and Lewes Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Felton, Wilmington, and Woodside. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Delaware, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Delaware affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 33,274 people in Delaware drank water served by 118 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Delaware drinking water agency and the EPA took 2 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Delaware's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Florida

In 1994 and 1995, 1,844,025 people in 957 communities in Florida drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 96 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 36,603 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Florida continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 71,917 people in 16 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 1,643,286 people in Florida drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Florida. In 1994-1995, 250,465 people in Florida drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 17,213 in 44 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were HCPUD/South Central in Tampa, HCPUD/Northwest Utilities in Tampa, and PCUD-West in New Port Richey. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Arcadia, Kissimmee, and Jacksonville. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Florida, where 94 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Florida affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 4,175,724 people in Florida drank water served by 2,891 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Florida drinking water agency and the EPA took 69 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Florida's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Georgia

In 1994 and 1995, 384,151 people in 416 communities in Georgia drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 26 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 7,221 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Georgia continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 6,135 people in 19 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 210,873 people in Georgia drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 33,760 in 3 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Georgia. In 1994-1995, 129,098 people in Georgia drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 17,138 in 4 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Conyers, Lagrange, and Milledgeville. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Carnesville, Reidsville, and Savannah. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Georgia, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Georgia affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 2,088,581 people in Georgia drank water served by 1,289 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Georgia drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Georgia's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Hawaii

In 1994 and 1995, 87,420 people in 27 communities in Hawaii drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 3 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 6,060 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Hawaii continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 12,449 people in 8 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 60,337 people in Hawaii drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 43,456 in 13 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were USA-Schofield in Schofield, DWS Makawao in Kokomo, and DWS South Kohala in Ahualoa. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Honolulu, Honolulu, and Lahaina. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Hawaii, where 92 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Hawaii affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 14,134 people in Hawaii drank water served by 10 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Hawaii drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of State's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Idaho

In 1994 and 1995, 267,113 people in 465 communities in Idaho drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 13 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 3,841 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Idaho continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 15,660 people in 61 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 249,244 people in Idaho drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 18,216 in 24 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Twin Falls, Caldwell City, and Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District in Lewiston. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Rupert, Blackfoot, and Meridian. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Idaho, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Idaho affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 634,880 people in Idaho drank water served by 1706 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Idaho drinking water agency and the EPA took 33 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Idaho's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Illinois

In 1994 and 1995, 1,979,750 people in 759 communities in Illinois drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 60 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 18,175 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Illinois continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 199,196 people in 64 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 656,080 people in Illinois drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 325,411 in 27 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Illinois. In 1994-1995, 761,930 people in Illinois drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 440,035 in 184 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Decatur, Joliet, and Waukegan. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included St. Jacob, Tamms, and Sherrard. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Illinois, where 94 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Illinois affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 5,418,515 people in Illinois drank water served by 1,692 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Illinois drinking water agency and the EPA took 28 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Illinois's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Indiana

In 1994 and 1995, 410,437 people in 260 communities in Indiana drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 51 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 20,061 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Indiana continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 76,955 people in 28 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 222,735 people in Indiana drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 43,671 in 15 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Indiana. In 1994-1995, 25875 people in Indiana drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 113,268 people in 36 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Anderson Water Department, Mishawaka Utilities, and Marion City Water Works. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included West Lafayette, Fortville, and Fishers. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Indiana, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Indiana affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 1,270,879 people in Indiana drank water served by 1,844 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Indiana drinking water agency and the EPA took 92 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Indiana's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Iowa

In 1994 and 1995, 298,039 people in 296 communities in Iowa drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 15 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 4,411 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Iowa continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 41,767 people in 43 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 156,117 people in Iowa drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 82,530 in 6 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Iowa. In 1994-1995, 44967 people in Iowa drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 23,594 in 46 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Iowa City Water Department, Marion Municipal Water Department, and the Central Iowa Water Association in Newton. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Letts, Adair, and Elgin. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Iowa, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Iowa affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 423,201 people in Iowa drank water served by 609 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Iowa drinking water agency and the EPA took 17 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Iowa's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Kansas

In 1994 and 1995, 253,127 people in 238 communities in Kansas drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 14 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 2,713 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Kansas continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 8,791 people in 17 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 64,057 people in Kansas drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 85,608 in 28 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Kansas. In 1994-1995, 58,222 people in Kansas drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 73,238 people in 60 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Emporia, Dodge City, and Coffeyville. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Maize, Hutchinson, and Andale. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Kansas, where 96 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Kansas affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 306,744 people in Kansas drank water served by 512 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Kansas drinking water agency and the EPA took 27 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Kansas's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Kentucky

In 1994 and 1995, 1,084,986 people in 57 communities in Kentucky drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 1 school, hospitals or daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 25 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Kentucky continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 767,135 people in 4 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 220,226 people in Kentucky drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 46,479 in 24 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Kentucky. In 1994-1995, 1,270 people in Kentucky drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 56,608 people in 6 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Louisville Water Company, Paducah Water Works,, and Hopkinsville Sewer/Water Works Commission in Hopkinsville. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Jerimioh. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Kentucky, where 86 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Kentucky affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 1,504,012 people in Kentucky drank water served by 497 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Kentucky drinking water agency and the EPA took 12 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Kentucky's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Louisiana

In 1994 and 1995, 1,120,576 people in 581 communities in Louisiana drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 13 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 8,357 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Louisiana continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 57,605 people in 30 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 865,623 people in Louisiana drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 220,785 in 15 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Lafourche Water District 1, Shriever WTP Service Area in Chacahoula, and Monroe Water System in Monroe. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Amite City and Donaldsonville. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Louisiana, where 96 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Louisiana affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 129,999 people in Louisiana drank water served by 263 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Louisiana drinking water agency and the EPA took 17 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Louisiana's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Maine

In 1994 and 1995, 93,272 people in 202 communities in Maine drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 36 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 7,209 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Maine continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 15,597 people in 49 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 36,086 people in Maine drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 26,866 in 14 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Orono-Veazie Water District, Yarmouth Water District, and Bath Water District. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Harrington, South Bristol. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Maine, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Maine affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 264,900 people in Maine drank water served by 1,258 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Maine drinking water agency and the EPA took 33 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Maine's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Maryland

In 1994 and 1995, 178,915 people in 395 communities in Maryland drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 86 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 34,285 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Maryland continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 2,550 people in 30 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 60,983 people in Maryland drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 27,551 in 14 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Maryland. In 1994-1995, 77532 people in Maryland drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 17,203 people in 15 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Fort George Meade, Westminster, and MD-American Water Co. in Bel Air. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Owings, Sykesville, and Stevenson. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Maryland, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Maryland affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 197385 people in Maryland drank water served by 486 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Maryland drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of State's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Massachusetts

In 1994 and 1995, 1,163,540 people in 80 communities in Massachusetts drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 4 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 4,432 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Massachusetts continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 304,109 people in 14 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 819,161 people in Massachusetts drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 42,000 in 1 community drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were New Bedford Water Department, Brockton Water Department, and Cambridge Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Boston, Wilkinsonville, and Fall River. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Massachusetts, where 47 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Massachusetts affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 474,715 people in Massachusetts drank water served by 141 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Massachusetts drinking water agency and the EPA took 4 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Massachusetts's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Michigan

In 1994 and 1995, 352,693 people in 795 communities in Michigan drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Michigan continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 38,880 people in 17 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 204,300 people in Michigan drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 111,737 in 5 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Michigan. In 1994-1995, 3,652 people in 19 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Jackson and Adrian. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Michigan, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Michigan affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 2,1616,44 people in Michigan drank water served by 5,387 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Michigan drinking water agency and the EPA took 238 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Michigan's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Minnesota

In 1994 and 1995, 45,903 people in 343 communities in Minnesota drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 14 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 1,505 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Minnesota continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 0 people in 0 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 24,771 people in Minnesota drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 620 in 2 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Minnesota. In 1994-1995, 11,858 people in Minnesota drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 9,097 people in 49 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Melrose Municipal, Lake Crystal Municipal, and Lecenter Municipal. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Lake Elmo, Duluth, and Deephaven. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Minnesota, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Minnesota affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 299,964 people in Minnesota drank water served by 310 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Minnesota drinking water agency and the EPA took 23 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Minnesota's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Mississippi

In 1994 and 1995, 210,208 people in 91 communities in Mississippi drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 3 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 598 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Mississippi continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 1,158 people in 5 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 203,726 people in Mississippi drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Mississippi. In 1994-1995, 6317 people in Mississippi drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Greenville, NEMs Regional Water Systemin Tupelo, and Laurel. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Webb, Lucedale, and Hernando. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Mississippi, where 96 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Mississippi affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 252,918 people in Mississippi drank water served by 205 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Mississippi drinking water agency and the EPA took 5 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Mississippi's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Missouri

In 1994 and 1995, 289,924 people in 407 communities in Missouri drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 13 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 2,901 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Missouri continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 36,221 people in 89 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 241,124 people in Missouri drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 22,565 in 11 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Missouri. In 1994-1995, 2560 people in Missouri drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 25,709 in 14 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Raytown Water Company, University Of Missouri- Columbia and Washington. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Urbana, Meadow High School, and Sikeston. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Missouri, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Missouri affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 596,815 people in Missouri drank water served by 1,224 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Missouri drinking water agency and the EPA took 13 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Missouri's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Montana

In 1994 and 1995, 95,450 people in 265 communities in Montana drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 25 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 5,033 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Montana continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 4,349 people in 48 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 67,511 people in Montana drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 31,022 in 19 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Montana. In 1994-1995, 4721 people in Montana drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Havre, Anaconda Water Department, and Miles City. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Florence, Victor, and Corvallis. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Montana, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Montana affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 647,805 people in Montana drank water served by 1,521 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Montana drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Montana's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Nebraska

In 1994 and 1995, 225,831 people in 270 communities in Nebraska drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 11 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 441 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Nebraska continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 98,375 people in 56 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 184,442 people in Nebraska drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 1,115 in 1 community drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Nebraska. In 1994-1995, 1484 people in Nebraska drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 27,889 in 35 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Kearney, North Platte, and Norfolk. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Champion, Mccook, and Lexington. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Nebraska, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Nebraska affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 62,550 people in Nebraska drank water served by 189 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Nebraska drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Nebraska's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Nevada

In 1994 and 1995, 27,050 people in 50 communities in Nevada drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 3 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 735 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Nevada continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 75 people in 1 community drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 24,734 people in Nevada drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Nevada. In 1994-1995, 2316 people in Nevada drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Tonopah Water System, and Riverside Resort in Laughlin. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Yerington, Sandy Valley, and Sandy Valley. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Nevada, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Nevada affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 663635 people in Nevada drank water served by 190 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Nevada drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Nevada's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in New Hampshire

In 1994 and 1995, 188,650 people in 344 communities in New Hampshire drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 73 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 18,004 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in New Hampshire continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 25,629 people in 15 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 125,768 people in New Hampshire drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in New Hampshire. In 1994-1995, 51,733 people in New Hampshire drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Hampton Water Works , Merrimack Village District in Nashua, and Seabrook Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Rindge, Stratham, and Plaistow. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for New Hampshire, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in New Hampshire affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 38,964 people in New Hampshire drank water served by 243 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the New Hampshire drinking water agency and the EPA took 4 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of New Hampshire's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in New Jersey

In 1994 and 1995, 1,472,655 people in 528 communities in New Jersey drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 91 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 38,242 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in New Jersey continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 334,542 people in 40 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 888,152 people in New Jersey drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 307,361 in 9 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in New Jersey. In 1994-1995, 343,815 people in New Jersey drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 373,098 in 54 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Jersey City Department Of Water, Elizabeth Water Department, and Ridgewood Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Pomona, Pemberton Township, and Stafford Township. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for New Jersey, where 88 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in New Jersey affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 5,330,390 people in New Jersey drank water served by 3,237 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the New Jersey drinking water agency and the EPA took 23 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of New Jersey's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in New Mexico

In 1994 and 1995, 66,490 people in 136 communities in New Mexico drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 8 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 3,908 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in New Mexico continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 18,076 people in 36 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 41,252 people in New Mexico drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 10,579 in 9 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in New Mexico. In 1994-1995, 420 people in 4 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Espanola Water System, Socorro Water System, and Bloomfield Water Supply System. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Anthony, Santa Fe, and Bernalillo. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for New Mexico, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in New Mexico affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 165,443 people in New Mexico drank water served by 262 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the New Mexico drinking water agency and the EPA took 51 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of State's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in New York

In 1994 and 1995, 7,944,489 people in 456 communities in New York drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 31 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 11,928 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in New York continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 6,606,326 people in 96 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 6,854,682 people in New York drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 7,564,119 in 67 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in New York. In 1994-1995, 65,660 people in New York drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 30,094 people in 21 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were New York City, Buffalo City Division Of Water, and Yonkers City. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Mattituck, Painted Post, and Fishkill. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for New York, where 93 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in New York affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 645,303 people in New York drank water served by 2,039 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the New York drinking water agency and the EPA took 2 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of New York's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in North Carolina

In 1994 and 1995, 741,584 people in 688 communities in North Carolina drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 132 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 61,118 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in North Carolina continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 5,414 people in 14 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 316,351 people in North Carolina drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 189,473 in 15 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in North Carolina. In 1994-1995, 147,618 people in North Carolina drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 99,485 in 41 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Fort Bragg, Gastonia, and Wilmington. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Hope Mills, Charlotte, and Bladenboro. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for North Carolina, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in North Carolina affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 956,228 people in North Carolina drank water served by 1,274 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the North Carolina drinking water agency and the EPA took 792 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of North Carolina's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in North Dakota

In 1994 and 1995, 175,013 people in 121 communities in North Dakota drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 4 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 323 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in North Dakota continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 5,685 people in 23 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 12,773 people in North Dakota drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 96,652 in 11 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in North Dakota. In 1994-1995, 34,382 people in North Dakota drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 48,719 in 8 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were in Fargo, Minot, and Williston. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Fordville, Williston, and Williston. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for North Dakota, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in North Dakota affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 40,778 people in North Dakota drank water served by 171 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the North Dakota drinking water agency and the EPA took enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of North Dakota's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Ohio

In 1994 and 1995, 2,136,293 people in 1,009 communities in Ohio drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 140 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 48,277 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Ohio continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 847,175 people in 766 communities drank water from water systems that violated the standard for acute coliform bacteria. 603,211 people in Ohio drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 886,285 in 67 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Ohio. In 1994-1995, 91,030 people in Ohio drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 104,379 in 18 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Akron, Montgomery County Water System 1 in Dayton, and Montgomery County Water System # 2 in Dayton. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Akron, Kirkersville, and Mansfield. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Ohio, where 93 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Ohio affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 2,994,122 people in Ohio drank water served by 3,114 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water. Over this same time period, the Ohio drinking water agency and the EPA took 16 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Ohio's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Oklahoma

In 1994 and 1995, 1,934,503 people in 463 communities in Oklahoma drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 10 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 1,900 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Oklahoma continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 560,568 people in 70 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 691,676 people in Oklahoma drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 909,663 in 132 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Oklahoma. In 1994-1995, 2631 people in Oklahoma drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 83,163 people in 68 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Tulsa A.B. Jewell Water Treatment Plant in Tulsa, OKC- Draper in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa Mohawk in Tulsa. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Prue and Enid. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Oklahoma, where 95 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Oklahoma affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 1,051,828 people in Oklahoma drank water served by 874 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Oklahoma drinking water agency and the EPA took 75 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Oklahoma's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Oregon

In 1994 and 1995, 624,636 people in 503 communities in Oregon drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 47 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 7,824 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Oregon continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 22,184 people in 43 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 298,858 people in Oregon drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 435,220 in 151 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Oregon. In 1994-1995, 69,767 people in Oregon drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 135 people in 2 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Salem Public Works in Salem, Hillsboro,Forest Grove,Beaver- in Portland, and Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board. in Coos Bay. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Portland, and Grants Pass. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Oregon, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Oregon affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 1,950,323 people in Oregon drank water served by 2,126 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water. Over this same time period, the Oregon drinking water agency and the EPA took 2 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Oregon's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Pennsylvania

In 1994 and 1995, 1,764,474 people in 556 communities in Pennsylvania drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 82 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 57,604 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Pennsylvania continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 107,387 people in 68 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 93,704 people in Pennsylvania drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 1,275,433 in 29 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Pennsylvania. In 1994-1995, 145,877 people in Pennsylvania drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 226,639 in 137 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were PA-American Water Company in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority in Pittsburgh, and Chester Water Authority. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Fayetteville, Dallas, and Mansfield. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Pennsylvania, where 96 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Pennsylvania affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 3,415,349 people in Pennsylvania drank water served by 32,86 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Pennsylvania drinking water agency and the EPA took 159 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Pennsylvania's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Rhode Island

In 1994 and 1995, 245,486 people in 78 communities in Rhode Island drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 9 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 2,347 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Rhode Island continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 36,440 people in 12 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 98,154 people in Rhode Island drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 96,000 in 2 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Rhode Island. In 1994-1995, 66,448 people in Rhode Island drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 10,000 people in 1 community drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Bristol County Water Authority, Newport, and Woonsocket Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Harrisville and Fall River. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Rhode Island, where 84 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Rhode Island affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 107,538 people in Rhode Island drank water served by 21 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Rhode Island drinking water agency and the EPA took 5 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Rhode Island's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in South Carolina

In 1994 and 1995, 1,276,319 people in 334 communities in South Carolina drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 57 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 41,586 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in South Carolina continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 59,998 people in 9 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 430,349 people in South Carolina drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 149,316 in 14 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in South Carolina. In 1994-1995, 665,543 people in South Carolina drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 165,112 in 16 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Greenville Water System, Charleston CPW, and Rock Hill. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Clemson, Columbia, and Clover. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for South Carolina, where 91 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in South Carolina affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 303,938 people in South Carolina drank water served by 443 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the South Carolina drinking water agency and the EPA took 6 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of South Carolina's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in South Dakota

In 1994 and 1995, 85,747 people in 194 communities in South Dakota drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 5 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 594 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in South Dakota continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 6,041 people in 25 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 43,659 people in South Dakota drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 25,907 in 10 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in South Dakota. In 1994-1995, 17,955 people in 17 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Mitchell, Yankton, and Minnehaha Community Water Corp. in Dell Rapids. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Batesland, Rapid City, and Huron. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for South Dakota, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in South Dakota affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 123,115 people in South Dakota drank water served by 446 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the South Dakota drinking water agency and the EPA took 4 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of South Dakota's drinking water.

 


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Tennessee

In 1994 and 1995, 359,107 people in 147 communities in Tennessee drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 9 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 1,913 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Tennessee continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 10,503 people in 21 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 87,378 people in Tennessee drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 251,533 in 52 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Tennessee. In 1994-1995, 10,920 people in Tennessee drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Franklin Water Department, Elizabethton Water Department, and Springfield Water System. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Washburn, Bethlehem, and Palmersville. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Tennessee, where 95 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Tennessee affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 968,301 people in Tennessee drank water served by 507 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Tennessee drinking water agency and the EPA took 20 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Tennessee's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Texas

In 1994 and 1995, 1,658,406 people in 598 communities in Texas drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 29 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 33,780 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Texas continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 47,237 people in 41 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 829,189 people in Texas drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 847,007 in 84 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Texas. In 1994-1995, 2300 people in Texas drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, and Sherman. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included San Marcos, Waco, and Lubbock. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Texas, where 95 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Texas affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 1,850,285 people in Texas drank water served by 1,306 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Texas drinking water agency and the EPA took 258 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Texas's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Utah

In 1994 and 1995, 148,989 people in 116 communities in Utah drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 3 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 212 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Utah continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 63,822 people in 18 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 89,554 people in Utah drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 0 in 0 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Utah. In 1994-1995, 2,573 people in Utah drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were St. George City, Kearns Improvement District, and Riverton City Water System. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Beryl, Logan, and La Sal. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Utah, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994- 1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Utah affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 423,912 people in Utah drank water served by 470 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Utah drinking water agency and the EPA took 14 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Utah's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Vermont

In 1994 and 1995, 146,558 people in 187 communities in Vermont drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 44 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 51,511 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Vermont continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 17,600 people in 29 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 92,774 people in Vermont drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 37,192 in 5 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Vermont. In 1994-1995, 16,453 people in Vermont drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead. Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Rutland City Water Department, North Hero Vermont Pk in North Hero, and Bennington Water Department. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Rutland, Bennington, and Jay. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Vermont, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Vermont affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 94,480 people in Vermont drank water served by 267 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Vermont drinking water agency and the EPA took 4 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Vermont's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Virginia

In 1994 and 1995, 580,664 people in 481 communities in Virginia drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 108 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 48,745 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Virginia continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 280,848 people in 93 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 205,045 people in Virginia drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 381 in 1 community drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Virginia. In 1994-1995, 120598 people in Virginia drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 3,671 people in 8 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Arlington Co Water&Sewer Divison, National Airport in Arlington, and Petersburg City. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Virginia, where 98 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Virginia affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 200,054 people in Virginia drank water served by 669 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Virginia drinking water agency and the EPA took 3 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Virginia's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Washington

In 1994 and 1995, 992,351 people in 851 communities in Washington drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 26 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 7,836 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Washington continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 168,802 people in 90 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 686,666 people in Washington drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 169,708 in 61 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Bellingham-Water Division, Bremerton, and Port Of Seattle/Seatac Airport in Seattle. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Belfair, Langley, and Deming. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Washington, where 97 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Washington affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 531,586 people in Washington drank water served by 1,280 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Washington drinking water agency and the EPA took 54 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Washington's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in West Virginia

In 1994 and 1995, 247,886 people in 199 communities in West Virginia drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 18 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 3,966 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in West Virginia continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 15,689 people in 38 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 53,646 people in West Virginia drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 157,965 in 62 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in West Virginia. In 1994-1995, 23,437 people in West Virginia drank water from suppliers with excess levels of lead, and 13,596 people in 8 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Weirton Water Company, St. Albans Water, and Opequon PSD in Martinsburg. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Charles Town and Pineville. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for West Virginia, where 99 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in West Virginia affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 300,695 people in West Virginia drank water served by 1,174 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the West Virginia drinking water agency and the EPA took 53 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of West Virginia's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Wisconsin

In 1994 and 1995, 385,524 people in 1,186 communities in Wisconsin drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 50 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 8,014 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Wisconsin continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 21,322 people in 73 communities drank water from water systems containing disease-causing fecal matter. 367,705 people in Wisconsin drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contamination of drinking water also poses major health threats in Wisconsin. In 1994-1995, 5,233 people in 51 communities drank water that contained unsafe levels of toxic chemicals or radioactivity.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Beaver Dam Water Utility, Middleton Waterworks, and Whitewater Waterworks. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Kenosha, Sturgeon Bay, and Milwaukee. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Wisconsin, where 100 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Wisconsin affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 831746 people in Wisconsin drank water served by 3010 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water.

Over this same time period, the Wisconsin drinking water agency and the EPA took 188 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Wisconsin's drinking water.


Just Add Water: Weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act in Wyoming

In 1994 and 1995, 127,175 people in 76 communities in Wyoming drank water that failed to meet federal health standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, 1 schools, hospitals and daycare centers with privately owned water supplies - responsible for providing water to 50 of society's most vulnerable members - also reported violations of basic drinking water safety standards.

Draft legislation circulated April 19, 1996 by Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley of Virginia would severely weaken scores of provisions in the Act. The legislation, which is the main legislative vehicle for SDWA reform in the House of Representatives, is scheduled for a vote in the House in early May. If enacted, the "Bliley bill" would subvert the basic health standards in current law, curtail the monitoring of drinking water contaminants, limit the public's right to know about drinking water problems, and allow more fecal matter and toxic chemicals in the drinking - also reported water of small and medium sized communities than would be allowed in large cities.

Much of this effort to roll back standards is being driven by the pesticide and chlorine industries - some of the largest polluters of our nation's drinking water. Since January 1993, Political Action Committees representing these industries have contributed over $45,000 to Representative Thomas Bliley (R- VA), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee responsible for rewriting the law.

Bacterial Contamination

Tap water in Wyoming continues to be plagued by basic bacterial contamination problems. Data on compliance with federal health standards, which are supplied to EPA by state authorities, indicate that in 1994-1995, 9,784 people in 20 communities drank water from water systems containing disease- causing fecal matter. 80,023 people in Wyoming drank water from suppliers with chronic coliform bacteria, and 47,452 in 16 communities drank from water suppliers that failed to meet EPA standards for adequately filtering and disinfecting tap water. Largely on the basis of widespread contamination of tap water by Cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA issued an unprecedented warning last year that all Americans with compromised immune systems - including cancer and organ transplant patients, and individuals who are HIV positive - should consider boiling their drinking water or drink bottled water.

Communities Affected By Drinking Water Violations The largest water suppliers in the state with violations of EPA drinking water standards were Rock Springs/Green River JP in Green River, Laramie, and Gillette. Communities with schools, hospitals, or daycare centers that violated EPA standards included Gillette. Legislative provisions that allow weaker standards for smaller communities are particularly troubling for Wyoming, where 96 percent of all violations in 1994-1995 occurred in water systems serving less than 10,000 people.

Monitoring Violations and Enforcement Actions

In addition to the thousands of individuals in Wyoming affected by unsafe water, many more drank water from suppliers that failed to perform necessary testing to ensure the safety of tap water. In 1994-1995, 230,036 people in Wyoming drank water served by 455 water systems that failed to meet basic sanitary testing requirements for tap water. Over this same time period, the Wyoming drinking water agency and the EPA took 199 enforcement actions against water suppliers that were not meeting basic health requirements or failing to adequately test tap water.

As Just Add Water goes to press, Congress is poised to weaken the basic public health protections provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Persistent drinking water safety problems indicate that it's time to strengthen, not weaken the law designed to ensure the safety of Wyoming's drinking water.

References: 

American Water Works Association. 1995. Cryptosporidium: Questions and Answers. May. Washington, DC.

Bennett, J.V., et al. 1987. Infectious and parasitic diseases, in Closing the gap: the burden of unnecessary illness. R.W. Amler and H.B. Dull, eds. Oxford University Press.

Bove, et al. 1993. Public Drinking Water Contamination and Birthweight, Fetal Deaths, and Birth Defects. U.S. Public Health Service and N.J. Department of Health.

EPA. 1991. Regulatory Impact Analysis of Proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulations For Radionuclides. Washington, D.C.

EPA. 1995. New Policy on Evaluating Health Risks to Children. Office of the Administrator. October 20. Washington, DC.

Environmental Working Group. 1996. Pouring It On: Nitrate Contamination of Drinking Water. Washington, DC.

Environmental Working Group. 1995. In The Drink. Washington, DC.

Environmental Working Group. 1994. Tap Water Blues: Pesticide Contamination of Drinking Water. Washington, DC.

GAO. 1990. Drinking Water Compliance Programs Undermine EPA Program as New Challenges Emerge. Washington, DC.

Morris, R.D., et al. 1992. Chlorination, chlorination byproducts and cancer: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 82(7). 836-842.

National Research Council. 1993. Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. June. National Academy of Sciences Press. Washington, DC.

National Research Council. 1994. Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment. National Academy of Sciences Press. Washington, DC.

National Research Council. 1995. Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water. National Academy of Sciences Press, Washington, D.C.

NRDC. 1995. Olson, E. You Are What You Drink: Cryptosporidium and Other Contaminants Found In The Water Served to Millions of Americans. Washington, D.C.

NRDC, Clean Water Action, and U.S. PIRG. 1995. Trouble on Tap: Arsenic, Radioactive Radon, and Trihalomethanes in Our Drinking Water. Washington, D.C.

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