Public Water Systems
The United States is fortunate to have one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), public drinking water systems consist of community and non-community systems.
- A community water system (CWS) supplies water to the same population year-round. It serves at least 25 people at their primary residences or at least 15 residences that are primary residences (for example, municipalities, mobile home park, sub-divisions).
- Non-community water systems are composed of transient and non-transient water systems.
- Transient non-community water systems (TNCWS) provide water to 25 or more people for at least 60 days/year, but not to the same people and not on a regular basis (for example, gas stations, campgrounds).
- Non-transient non-community water systems (NTNCWS) regularly supply water to at least 25 of the same people at least six month per year, but not year-round (for example, schools, factories, office buildings, and hospitals which have their own water systems).
The EPA is responsible for the nation's drinking water regulation. To learn more, visit the EPA's Public Drinking Water Systems page.
Public Water Systems Fast Facts
- Environmental Protection Agency. Factoids: drinking water and ground water statistics for 2007. March 2008, April 2008. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/data/getdata.html.
* 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.