Water quality is vital for people everywhere. The water running from the tap is the water we consume, shower in, and give to our children and pets. Water contamination concerns have always been a reality, but since the lead-pipe crisis in Flint, Michigan, Americans are more concerned than ever about what is in their tap water. The Safe Drinking Water Act allows the EPA to set standards and regulations for what constitutes “clean” water. Some states have “cleaner” water than others based on a variety of environmental factors, like fires, droughts, bacteria like legionella, as well as more governable circumstances like lead found in pipes.
What Constitutes “Clean” Drinking Water in the US?
From a federal perspective, the EPA uses a points system to track various elements that are affecting a city or state’s water supply. There are bodies of water that are contaminated from mining, pesticides, illegal waste dumping, and more. However, the most common problem cities are running into is lead in pipes. This may affect just a home or building that has older pipes, or in some big cases, can affect the whole city.
Contaminated drinking water is extremely unsafe and can lead to digestive disorders as well as learning disabilities in children. Water that is considered safe but not “clean” exists as well. This means that while the EPA has deemed a particular water source as “safe enough,” leaving it up to individuals to determine if their water is okay to consume. Most public spaces like buildings, schools, and state properties are required to test their water and air quality regularly to ensure they are providing safe living or working conditions. Homeowners must do this themselves.
States With the Cleanest Drinking Water in 2021
This list varies from year to year, as there are many reasons water can suddenly go from “clean” to contaminated, or anywhere in between. The residents of these states can rest easy knowing that their states are considered to have the “cleanest” tap water for drinking. These rankings take into consideration overall taste, state of natural resources, and government protection and planning for those resources. The top 10 states with the cleanest water in 2021 are:
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
Many of these states have strict regulations or state departments that look after watersheds, while others happen to have an abundance of protected natural resources.
It is vital to have the water tested, regardless of which state you live in. Many land or building owners usually have to do this yearly for insurance purposes, but some only test the water if there is a number of complaints or a suspicion that water resources have been affected.