In the U.S., the Safe Drinking Water Act helps ensure that when residents turn on a public tap, clean and safe water comes out. This access is supported by a complex infrastructure that needs constant monitoring and upkeep. In addition, there are more than 40 million Americans reliant on private water sources that are not supported by this complex infrastructure or held to federal standards. These systems have unique concerns that must be addressed to ensure they too provide safe drinking water to those dependent on them.
Wastewater and sanitation can also have significant impacts on public health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 20% of households in the U.S. rely on septic systems to process their wastewater. Oversight of these systems falls on local health departments, leaving a patchwork of regulations and policies, and homeowners are often unaware of operation and maintenance for their systems.
Environmental health professionals are trained to identify issues that impact water systems. As local experts, environmental health professionals can ensure that each community’s local situation is resilient to natural hazards and climate change, and that water sources are continually evaluated and maintained to meet all federal, state, and local standards.
- Preparedness and response for septic systems toolkit
- SepticSmart Week (onsite/decentralized septic systems)
- Private Water Safety - Enhancing Safety in Private Drinking Water System
- Environmental Health Saves Lives infographic
- CDC Healthy and Safe Swimming Week
- Harmful Algal Blooms Threaten U.S. Water Ways
- Private Drinking Water
Other NEHA Water Quality Resources
NEHA E-Learning: Online education and training opportunities related to water quality. NEHA members can earn continuing education contact hours toward their NEHA credentials.
Journal of Environmental Health: The Journal of Environmental Health includes new research and useful products and services related to water quality. Past electronic issues can be accessed through the NEHA Bookstore.
Community Calendar: Details about NEHA and partner education and training opportunities.