News from CRIS: Trace Contaminants & Residues - Water

August 4, 2020

What is a trace contaminant or residue?

As we’ve discussed in prior posts, trace contaminants or residues are incredibly small particles or microorganisms that can make their way into our water system. These particles or microorganisms can include anything from bacteria to pesticides to minerals found in water.  

Is water quality monitored and regulated in the U.S.?

Yes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with state and tribal governments to set water quality standards. Numerous standards in place cover many water uses, such as animal feeding operations, mining, and more. In this post, we will focus on drinking water standards.
For public drinking water, the EPA sets minimum health-related standards that all states and tribal governments must meet or exceed, then states can add additional controls and regulations. These standards are monitored by state and local agencies that report to the EPA.
The EPA does not regulate privately owned and operated well-water operations. However, the EPA provides information on proper well-water testing so owners can ensure their well-water remains safe for use.


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