Where can I find information about my local drinking water supply?

The best way to learn about your local drinking water quality is to read the annual drinking water quality report/consumer confidence report that water suppliers now send out by July 1 of each year. The reports are often sent out with water bills, but they may be sent separately. The reports tell where drinking water comes from, what contaminants are in it, and at what levels.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers information about local drinking water systems through their Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Many water suppliers are now posting their water-quality monitoring results on the Web, and these results can be accessed from this site.

The National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey has completed a study that assesses water-quality conditions for about 2,100 domestic wells across the United States.

Learn more: USGS Drinking Water and Source Water Research

Related Content

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Why is our porcelain sink stained brown?

The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust that you see on metal, which is iron oxide. Your water probably comes from groundwater that filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on its way to the well.

Why does my drinking water look cloudy sometimes?

Once in a while you get a glass of water that looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds, it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might...

Why does it take so long to rinse the soap off my hands? What are hard water and soft water?

Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, while hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with your soap to produce a residue that feels like it is hard to wash off. If you use hard water, you will have a harder time working the soap up into...

Where can I find information about bottled water?

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by individual states. For general information about bottled water, sources include the International Bottled Water Association and NSF International .

What can cause our water to have an earthy odor or to smell like rotten eggs?

Naturally-occurring organic compounds are created when plant material decays in lakes and reservoirs. Those organic compounds frequently cause musty, earthy odors, especially toward the end of summer. The odors can be objectionable, but generally are not harmful to health. However, odors can be caused by other constituents as well, so you might...

What can be causing our drinking water to have a reddish color?

Your water might be affected by iron, which is a commonly-occurring constituent of drinking water. Iron tends to add a rusty, reddish-brown (or sometimes yellow) color to water. If the color is more black than red, your water might contain a combination of iron and manganese. Both of these metals can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or laundry...

Does the use of pesticides affect our Nation's water quality?

Pesticide use in the United States has increased because not only must we supply our exploding population with food, but crops and food are also grown for export to other countries. The United States has become the largest producer of food products in the world, partly owing to our use of modern chemicals (pesticides) to control the insects, weeds...
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Date published: July 13, 2016

New Study Shows High Potential for Groundwater to be Corrosive in Half of U.S. States

An analysis of more than 20,000 wells nationwide shows 25 states have groundwater that has either high or very high potential to be corrosive...

Date published: May 21, 2010

Contaminants in Groundwater Used for Public Supply

More than 20 percent of untreated water samples from 932 public wells across the nation contained at least one contaminant at levels of potential health concern, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Date published: December 5, 2008

Man-Made Chemicals Found in Drinking Water at Low Levels

Low levels of certain man-made chemicals remain in public water supplies after being treated in selected community water facilities.  

Date published: March 3, 2006

Pesticides in the Nation's Streams and Ground Water

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report describing the occurrence of pesticides in streams and ground water during 1992-2001.

Date published: August 1, 2005

USGS Report Shows How We Use Ground Water From Principal Aquifers

In its latest report on water use in the United States, the USGS looked at the nation's dependence on ground water. The report entitled Estimated Withdrawals from Principal Aquifers in the United States, 2000, provides details of ground-water withdrawals and use from principal aquifers in each state.

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April 27, 2017

Potential Corrosivity of Untreated Groundwater in the United States

  • Corrosive groundwater, if untreated, can dissolve lead and other metals from pipes.
  • National maps have been prepared to identify the occurrence of potentially corrosive groundwater in the U.S.
  • These findings have the greatest implication for the 44 million people dependent on domestic wells for drinking water.
Drinking water from tap
December 31, 2016

Drinking water from tap

The quality of the water we drink can potentially impact our health. The USGS has several programs and cooperative projects that characterize the quality of selected rivers and aquifers used as sources of drinking water to community water systems in the United States.

Attribution: Water Resources
September 1, 2016

Drought, Drinking Water and Natural Environments

This short video is one of a series of four total shorts highlighting USGS water science in California's Delta region. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the hub of the state's water system. Water quality touches on all aspects of life. Teams of U.S. Geological Survey scientists along with their partners monitor water quality and identify sources of pollution and

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Image shows a map of all 50 states color-coded for their potential for groundwater corrosivity
July 7, 2016

Map of Groundwater Corrosivity Potential

This map shows the potential for groundwater corrosivity in groundwater wells in all 50 states. It is a combination of two indices, shown below.

large iron pipe sticking up from the ground
March 30, 2007

Groundwater well overflowing

Groundwater well overflowing

Collecting groundwater samples from a municipal well as part of the NAWQA Principal Aquifer Study in Nebraska

Collecting groundwater samples from a municipal well, Nebraska

Collecting groundwater samples from a municipal well as part of the NAWQA Principal Aquifer Study in Nebraska. 

Image: Acidifying a Drinking Water Quality Sample for MTBE Analysis

Acidifying a Drinking Water Quality Sample for MTBE Analysis

Sample collected from Madison Springs Hut in the White Mountains (~ 5,000 ft above sea level).