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Drinking water contamination

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) partner with Utah schools to conduct voluntary sampling for lead in school drinking water. Visit the links below for more information:
Drinking water comes from a variety of sources including public water systems, private wells, and bottled water. About 90% of people in the U.S. get their water from a public water system. Public drinking water systems must meet treatment and monitoring regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently, there are water quality standards and monitoring requirements for more than 90 contaminants.

Learn about your public water system by visiting the Utah Division of Drinking Water's Public Water System Online Reports tool.
Contaminants can enter a drinking water system in many ways.
Contaminants can enter a drinking water system via byproducts of human activities like fertilizers, pesticides, runoff from livestock operations, and chemicals from manufacturing processes. Sewer overflow and wastewater treatment plant malfunctions can also lead to drinking water contamination. Other contaminants include naturally-occurring chemicals and minerals like arsenic, radon, and uranium. Contaminants present in even a single drinking water system can potentially harm many people.

Contaminants in drinking water can lead to a number of health issues.
Exposure to contaminants through drinking water can cause gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Not all contaminants act the same way; some contaminants can make people sick very quickly and others require consistent exposure over many years before negative health effects appear. The type of health issue and its severity depends on contaminant type, its concentration in the water, and duration of exposure.
More than 3 million people get water from community water systems in Utah.
A community water system (CWS) is a public water system that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.

Utah Tracking provides data on 10 drinking water contaminants.
Expand the explore drinking water contamination data to learn more about:
  • Arsenic
  • Atrazine
  • DEHP (Di [2-Ethylhexl] phthalate)
  • HAA5 (Haloacetic acids)
  • Nitrates
  • PCE (Tetrachloroethene)
  • Radium
  • TCE (Trichloroethene)
  • TTHM (Trihalomethane)
  • Uranium

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) maintains an online database of school districts that have voluntarily provided data on lead testing.
People who may be especially susceptible to contaminated water include:
  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • The elderly
Be informed about your water
  • Read your annual Consumer Confidence report (sometimes called a Water Quality report) about your public water system. You can find data and information about your public water system through the Utah Division of Drinking Water Public Water System Online Reports tool.
  • If you are part of the 10% of Americans who use their own source of drinking water, such as a well, cistern, or spring, you are responsible for protecting your water supply. Find out what activities are taking place in your watershed that may impact the drinking water quality. Additionally, talk with local experts, test your water source periodically, maintain your water source, and close it properly.

Be observant about your water
  • Be aware and alert to announcements in the media about local activities that may pollute your water source.
  • Call 911 if you see suspicious activity in or around your water supply.

Be involved with your water
  • Attend public hearings about new construction, stormwater permitting, and town planning.
  • Ask questions on any issue that may impact your water source. (What specific plans have been made to prevent water contamination?)

Prevent water contamination
  • Reduce or eliminate pesticide application.
  • Recycle and reuse containers, plastics, aluminum, and glass to reduce the amount of trash you create.
  • Be aware that what you put in your septic system may enter your drinking water.

For more suggestions, see the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list: Easy things you can do to protect drinking water sources

Resources

  • Utah Division of Drinking Water- Public Water System Online Reports
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-About Consumer Confidence Reports for Drinking Water
  • U.S. Geological Survey- National water dashboard
  • EJSCREEN Tool - EJSCREEN is a mapping tool provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It combines environmental and demographic information about environmental justice topics. EJSCREEN provides data on:
    • the count of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) major direct water discharger facilities within 5 km.
  • EnviroAtlas home page- EnviroAtlas is a tool provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EnviroAtlas provides interactive resources to explore the benefits people receive from nature, or "ecosystem goods and services." It uses 7 broad categories to organize its information and data: clean air; clean and plentiful water; natural hazard mitigation; climate stabilization; recreation, culture, and aesthetics; food, fuel, and materials; and biodiversity conservation.

Program websites

Drinking water contaminants


Find data and information about your public water system using the Public Water System Online Reports tool provided by the Utah Division of Drinking Water.

Click here to view all available public queries and metadata for all secure portal queries on the Utah Tracking website.
Utah Tracking receives drinking water data from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) Division of Drinking Water.

The frequency of drinking water testing depends on factors such as the number of people served by a drinking water system, the type of water source, and the types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested for more frequently than others.

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The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site (http://epht.health.utah.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 02 December 2022 22:21:05 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://epht.health.utah.gov ".

Content updated: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 10:25:07 MDT