Social Determinants of Health and 1 more...less...

G4O2. Increase water quality

Drinking water violations

0.4%2020

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Story Behind the Curve

Source: https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/water_violation/state/ALL  Last accessed 6/14/2022

Drinking Water Violations

U.S. Value: 0.8%

Healthiest States: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah: 0

Least-healthy State: West Virginia: 10.2%

Definition: Percentage of population served by community water systems with a serious drinking water violation during the year

Data Source & Year(s): Environmental Protection Agency, Enforcement and Compliance History Online, Safe Drinking Water Information System, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of Environmental Protection Agency, Enforcement and Compliance History Online, Safe Drinking Water Information System, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2022.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

Safe drinking water is important to overall health and may aid in the prevention of certain birth defectsinfectious diseases and premature death. There are over 148,000 public water systems providing drinking water to Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets legal limits on more than 90 contaminants in drinking water. Maximum contaminant levels, maximum residual disinfectant levels and treatment technique rules are all health-based drinking water standards. 

Monitoring and enforcing health-based violations is critical in helping states and EPA protect public health via safe drinking water. An estimated 3-10% of community water systems get a health-based violation in any given year. Agriculture is one of the leading pollutants of drinking water in America. While pesticides and fertilizers are used in many places, toxic runoff from these pollutants are found at higher readings in rural communities. Water contaminants such as fecal coliform, arsenic, lead and nitrates have been strongly linked to gastrointestinal illnessescancerneurodevelopmental damage in children and cardiovascular disease.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with a compromised immune system are more vulnerable to the damaging health effects of contaminated water. Drinking water violations are higher in:

  • Rural areas compared with urban areas. 
  • Low-income communities compared with higher-income communities. 
  • Areas with previous violations, also known as hot spots, that may struggle with recurring issues. 
  • Areas with a higher percentage of racial minority groups.

WHAT WORKS?

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps lists multiple programs and interventions that reduce water pollution, thereby decreasing drinking water violations. EPA provides detailed information on drinking water violations and works with all states to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. Adopting a water safety plan offers multiple benefits including preventing drinking water violations and improving regulation compliance.

The Environmental Working Group has a tool for checking contaminants in drinking water violations based on zip code and recommends the following:

  • Use an appropriate filter for different types of contaminants.
  • Contact state representatives to take action after requesting and reviewing the Consumer Confidence Reports which lists levels of contaminants reported in the water.

GOALS

Healthy People 2030 has an objective to increase the proportion of people served by community water systems that receive a supply of drinking water that meets the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Further, the EPA’s Agency Strategic Plan aims to reduce the number of community water systems that are not in compliance with health-based standards by 25% by 2022.

What Works

WHAT WORKS?

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps lists multiple programs and interventions that reduce water pollution, thereby decreasing drinking water violations. EPA provides detailed information on drinking water violations and works with all states to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. Adopting a water safety plan offers multiple benefits including preventing drinking water violations and improving regulation compliance.

The Environmental Working Group has a tool for checking contaminants in drinking water violations based on zip code and recommends the following:

  • Use an appropriate filter for different types of contaminants.
  • Contact state representatives to take action after requesting and reviewing the Consumer Confidence Reports which lists levels of contaminants reported in the water. 

Source: https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/water_violation/state/ALL  Last accessed 6/14/2022

Challenges
Corrective Action
PoE
https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/state/IN (last accessed 07/21/2022)
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