Safe clean drinking water eludes many Americans who drink groundwater from private wells. Millions of Americans rely on water from their well for drinking, bathing, cooking, and for their animals. But despite the widespread dependence on groundwater, little is found in federal, state or local zoning to protect or prevent contamination.
Unlike surface water, the Clean Water Act does not protect groundwater. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is the federal law intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public, applies to every public water system in the country but it does not cover private wells or bottled water. More than 3 million people in Pennsylvania use private water systems such as wells, springs or cisterns to meet household, agricultural and industrial needs. But these private water systems do not have state regulations requiring owners to maintain them or test their drinking water.
Find out more about protecting groundwater on this week's NIE page.