Ohio Drinking Water
Public Water Systems (PWS)
Public water systems (PWSs) are regulated by the Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (Ohio EPA DDAGW). Public water systems use either a ground water source, a surface water source or a ground water under the direct influence of surface water source. In Ohio, around 4,800 public water systems serve approximately 11 million people daily. Public water systems are required to monitor their water regularly for contaminants. Currently, more than 95 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards. When a system doesn't meet a standard, consumers are notified.
U.S. EPA sets national limits on contaminant levels in drinking water to ensure that the water is safe for human consumption. These limits are known as maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). For some regulations, U.S. EPA has established treatment techniques in lieu of a MCL to control unacceptable levels of contaminants in water by measuring the level of treatment. To ensure drinking water safety, public water systems are required to test their water for contaminants on a regular basis. The tests must be conducted at laboratories that are certified to perform such testing.
Contaminants that may be tested for include:
- Microbiological contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife
- Inorganic contaminants (IOCs), such as salts and metals, which can occur naturally or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming
- Synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs), such as pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, stormwater runoff and residential uses
- Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), such as industrial chemicals and solvents, which can be byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems
- Radiological contaminants (Rads), which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities
- Disinfection byproducts (DBPs), which can form when disinfectants such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide or ozone react with organic and inorganic substances present in the raw water.
Public water systems (PWSs) are regulated by the Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (Ohio EPA DDAGW). Public water systems use either a groundwater source, a surface water source or a groundwater under the direct influence of surface water source. In Ohio, around 4,800 public water systems serve approximately 11 million people daily. Public water systems are required to monitor their water regularly for contaminants. Currently, more than 95 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards. When a system doesn't meet a standard, consumers are notified.
Types of Water Systems
A public water system is defined as a system that provides water for human consumption to at least 15 service connections or serves an average of at least 25 people for at least 60 days each year. This includes water used for drinking, food preparation, bathing, showering, tooth brushing and dishwashing. Public water systems range in size from large municipalities to small churches and restaurants relying on a single well.
- Community water systems serve at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serve at least 25 year-round residents. Examples include cities, mobile home parks and nursing homes.
- Non-transient, non-community systems serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. Examples include schools, hospitals and factories.
- Transient non-community systems serve at least 25 different persons over 60 days per year. Examples include campgrounds, restaurants and gas stations. In addition, drinking water systems associated with agricultural migrant labor camps, as defined by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, are regulated even though they may not meet the minimum number of people or service connections.
- Private water systems are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health. Private water systems are households and small businesses that serve fewer than 25 people per day 60 days out of the year, and are thus not public water systems (e.g., small bed and breakfasts, small daycares and small churches).
Ohio EPA ➤
Ohio Ground Water ➤
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