What is Water Quality?

Shannon Kietzman

Water quality within the United States is highly regulated, involving strict guidelines and water quality testing. As a result, drinking water in the United States is among the safest to drink in the world. Although the quality in the United States is high, there are still some underlying problems. Therefore, both local and federal governments work constantly to ensure everyone in the community has safe drinking water.

Drinking water in the United States is some of the safest in the world.
Drinking water in the United States is some of the safest in the world.

Drinking water comes from two major sources. Surface water such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs provides much of the water used as drinking water. Groundwater, which is pumped from wells, is also a source of drinking water commonly used in rural areas.

Ground water is considered the purest source of water.
Ground water is considered the purest source of water.

Surface water typically requires both filtration and disinfection in order to reach drinking water quality standards. Groundwater is considered to be the purest source of water. This is because it is naturally filtered when it passes through the layers of rock and sediment in an aquifer. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and quality standards ensure groundwater undergoes technological treatment as well. Most water systems add chlorine or other disinfectants to purify the water within the water distribution system and to ensure the highest quality.

Water quality is strictly regulated and based on measures including safeness for drinking, based on levels of impurities.
Water quality is strictly regulated and based on measures including safeness for drinking, based on levels of impurities.

Local community water suppliers, such as cities, are also required to provide an annual water quality report to their customers. They do this so the consumer can be a "watch dog" when it comes to the safety levels of their drinking water. The reports provide information on local drinking water, including the water's source and the contaminants found in the water.

A lack of access to potable water is a major issue in many third world countries.
A lack of access to potable water is a major issue in many third world countries.

According to the EPA, water quality standards are the foundation of the quality-based control program mandated by the Clean Water Act. A water quality standard consists of four basic elements. First, it designates uses of the water body. Next, it creates quality criteria to protect designated uses. Third, it sets forth an anti-degradation policy to maintain and protect existing uses and high quality waters. Finally, it sets general policies addressing implementation issues.

Surface water usually requires filtration and disinfection.
Surface water usually requires filtration and disinfection.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

catapult43

Water quality has improved and continues improving. In United States water born diseases are all but gone. Some of the waterways, such as Potomac River and the Chicago River have seen a dramatic improvement in the last two or three decades.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: