NRDC reports that a quarter of Americans drink water from contaminated or untested systems


About one quarter of the total population in the US is served by systems that violate the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015. Photo credit: NRDC

The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) published a report that indicates that 77 million people – about a quarter of the total population in America – take their drinking water from systems that violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.

“America is facing a nationwide drinking water crisis that goes well beyond lead contamination,” Erik Olson, co-author of the report and Health Programme Director at NRDC, said in a press release. “The problem is two-fold: there’s no cop on the beat enforcing our drinking water laws, and we’re living on borrowed time with our ancient, deteriorating water infrastructure. We take it for granted that when we turn on our kitchen tap, the water will be safe and healthy, but we have a long way to go before that is reality across our country.”

The report, Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections, uncovered almost 80,000 violations by drinking water systems in every one of the 50 states in the United States (US), but the NRDC stipulated that under-reporting and negligent enforcement may mean that the number of violations is much higher in reality.

Violations include contamination of arsenic and nitrate, and there were even some cases where contamination levels were not reported. States with the most offenses are: Washington, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, and Texas, among others.

The report also draws attention to issues such as nine in ten cases not receiving any formal action, and only 3.3 per cent of total cases slapped with penalties.

The NRDC has voiced time and again that majority of the country’s water infrastructure needs to be replaced or repaired, including the estimated six to ten million lead water service pipes strewn across the nation, saying that “investing and improving infrastructure and enforcing the drinking water laws are solutions that will make a difference.”


Sources: National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), WaterWorld