Private Water Systems
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), individual water systems consist of the use of nonpublic sources and private water systems.
- The use of nonpublic sources consist of using bottled water or water from streams, ponds, and shallow wells not intended for drinking.
- Private, or individual, water systems are composed of private ground water residential wells, cisterns, and larger private water systems that serve more than one residence.
- Private ground water wells usually supply water to an individual residence.
- Private water systems are those that serve no more than 25 people at least 60 days of the year and have no more than 15 service connections (varies by state). Each building serviced by the same private water system is considered to be a service connection for that system. Most private water systems use ground water wells.
Many people in the United States receive their water from private ground water wells.
EPA regulations that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to privately owned wells or any other individual water system, such as rainwater collection. As a result, owners of individual water systems are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants.
* Based on tracking of waterborne outbreaks from 1971-2008. Only confirmed causes have been included in the analyses. For outbreaks with multiple causes, each agent counted toward the total. Outbreak reporting is dependent on capacity to detect, investigate, and report the outbreaks. This requires health effects to be measured and these health effects to be easily linked to water exposure. Clusters of illnesses associated with chronic chemical exposures are not part of waterborne disease outbreak reporting or part of these lists.