Safe Drinking Water - September 19th, 2022 Episode

Updated: Oct 17


Over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth.

Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Microbial contamination of drinking-water as a result of contamination with faeces poses the greatest risk to drinking-water safety.

While the most important chemical risks in drinking water arise from arsenic, fluoride or nitrate, emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and microplastics generate public concern.

Safe and sufficient water facilitates the practice of hygiene, which is a key measure to prevent not only diarrhoeal diseases, but acute respiratory infections and numerous neglected tropical diseases.

Microbiologically contaminated drinking water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio and is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

In 2020, 74% of the global population (5.8 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination.


Clean water is vital to our health, communities, and economy. We need clean water upstream to have healthy communities downstream. streams and wetlands where they begin. The health of rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters depend on the streams and wetlands where they begin. Streams and wetlands provide many benefits to communities by trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, filtering pollution, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife. People depend on clean water for their health: About 117 million Americans -- one in three people – get drinking water from streams that were vulnerable to pollution before the Clean Water Rule. Our cherished way of life depends on clean water: healthy ecosystems provide wildlife habitat and places to fish, paddle, surf, and swim. Our economy depends on clean water: manufacturing, farming, tourism, recreation, energy production, and other economic sectors need clean water to function and flourish.


Protects watersheds that have the most impact on downstream water quality and which form the foundation of or nation’s water resources.

My home for example has a small tributary of the Susquehanna River. Called Black Moshannon by the Susquehannock tribe. It ran orange after they strip mined Clearfield County

The problem is that the Susquehanna watershed covers the center 50% of Pennsylvania and becomes the headwaters of Chesapeake Bay.

Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)

passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply and its sources—rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. (SDWA does not regulate private wells which serve fewer than 25 individuals.)

SDWA applies to every public water system in

the United States. There are currently more than 170,000 public water systems providing water to almost all Americans at some time in their lives. The responsibility for making sure these public water systems provide safe drinking water is divided among US EPA, states, tribes, water systems, and the public.

What is a contaminant?

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) defines "contaminant" as any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter in water. Drinking water may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. Some contaminants may be harmful if consumed at certain levels in drinking water. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk.

Contaminants checked:



Disinfection Byproducts

Inorganic Chemicals

Organic Chemicals


How the EPA makes new rules:

Unregulated contaminants

Current recommended list:

Check your water on EWG enter Zip

Sarasota county results

My utility results

17 total contaminants and 6 contaminants exceed EWG health thresholds

Or on CDC website

Sarasota County 2021 Consumer report

“Sarasota County routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water, according to federal and state laws. Except where indicated otherwise, this report is based on the results of our monitoring for the period of Jan. 1, to Dec. 31, 2021. As authorized and approved by EPA, the state has reduced monitoring requirements for certain contaminants to less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year.”

Compare recommended contaminant levels to Federal legal limits

Bottled water


FDA has established specific regulations for bottled water in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations

Under the standard of quality (165.110[b]), FDA establishes allowable levels for contaminants in bottled water. There are microbiological standards that set allowable coliform levels; physical standards that set allowable levels for turbidity, color and odor; and radiological standards that set levels for radium-226 and radium-228 activity, alpha-particle activity, and beta particle and photon radioactivity. The standard of quality also includes allowable levels for more than 70 different chemical contaminants.

Florida regs for bottled water

Water filters

Water bottle - chlorine/taste/odor

Filter as you pour/stream - Chlorine/taste/odor

Pitcher/Dispenser - Mercury, copper, chlorine (taste and odor)

Faucet - Standard 42, 53 (and 401 - This standard offers over 50 contaminant reduction claims. Some of the most popular include: lead, Cryptosporidium, VOCs and chromium.) NOT PFAS and only 91-96% for many VOCs (forever chemicals)

3 Stage 5 micron Carbon block/GAC w ionic resins/0.5 micron Carbon block

Standard 53 and 401

Also removes PFAS and some fluoride

R/O Reverse osmosis


Removes nutrient minerals

Wastes water - between 1 and 10 gallons per gallon of drinking water produced

WHO recommends against use of demineralized water