Water Quality Introduction

While everyone is interested in the quality of our waters, water quality needs depend on the location and use of the water.  As an example, water used for lawn irrigation or washing a car, does not need to be of the same quality as water used for cooking and bathing inside a home.  Nor does the vast quantities of water used for irrigating our farms need to be suitable for drinking.  While Water Supply Forum members are interested in maintaining the water quality of our lakes and streams, their primary interest is in providing safe and reliable public water supply that protects the public health and safety. 


Regulatory Framework

In the United States, drinking water quality standards are established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In agreement with States, the administration of the drinking water quality program may be delegated to an individual State.  In Washington, the Washington Department of Health has responsibility for administering the drinking water quality program.  Water suppliers and local utilities are responsible for meeting the water quality requirements and for reporting regularly to the Department of Health on their water quality monitoring to assure they are meeting the required standards. 


The each of the regional water suppliers maintains information on its water quality program on the Internet.  In addition local utilities may also provide information on water quality as well.  Annually water utilities are required to provide a report to customers on their water quality and any health issues related to the water.  Normally this information is distributed mid-year.  


The EPA maintains a website with extensive information on drinking water quality regulations related topics.  Key information included is Drinking Water Standards, Water Contaminants and Consumer Information.  A special feature is a section devoted to information for students and teachers.  EPA water quality informatiion can be found at >>EPA Drinking Water link.  Specific information on water quality Standards and Risk Management is available from EPA.


The Washington Department of Health (DOH) also maintains a website that includes information on water system regulations, including water quality, and on Consumer Confidence Reports, the regular water system report to customers.  The following provides a link to the >>DOH website.   


The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is responsible for water quality within the State's rivers and lakes.  Ecology maintains an extensive website that discusses water quality within Washington, as well as information on the challenges to maintaing water quality.  Access the Ecology water quality website >>here.


Regional Suppliers

Within the Water Supply Forum's planning area there are four regional water supply agencies.  Each agency maintains information on water quality on its website.  The following links provde access to the water quality websites.