Who makes the rules and regulations for drinking water?

Regulations are made by both federal and state agencies.  The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) passed by Congress in 1974 and amended in 1986 and 1996 is governed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

Within the EPA, the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water administers the drinking water program under the Public Water Supply Supervision Program.  Their functions include:

  • Setting the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for contaminants in drinking water and setting other requirements to ensure that drinking water is safe.
  • Delegating primary enforcement responsibilities to the states.  Monitoring state activities to ensure that regulations are being met.
  • Operating the program in states that have not accepted primary enforcement responsibility.  
  • Providing technical assistance to the states.

Provided for int he SDWA is the intent that states accept primary responsibility for enforcement of their drinking water programs.  Under these provisions, each state must establish requirements for public water systems at least as stringent as those set by the EPA.  In Virginia, the agency is the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  

In addition to the SDWA, the EPA has promulgated several specific rules to address various types of water contaminant problems.  Some of these rules are:  Surface Water Treatment Rule, Total Coliform Rule, and the Lead and Copper Rule.

Show All Answers

1. Where can I find Spotsylvania County Utilities' Water Quality Reports?
2. Who makes the rules and regulations for drinking water?
3. What is the source of my drinking water?
4. How is bacteria that cause disease kept out of drinking water?
5. How "hard" is Spotsylvania County Utilities water?
6. Is it safe to drink water from a garden hose?
7. Can water straight from the tap be used in home kidney dialysis machines?
8. Is it okay to use water from the hot water tap for drinking, cooking or making baby formula?
9. Can I store drinking water indefinitely and continue to be safe to drink?
10. Do I need to treat the tap water in any way before I place fish in an aquarium?
11. Why does tap water sometimes look milky or opaque?
12. Why do my ice cubes have white particles in them?
13. What is the white residue that sometimes builds up on coffee pots, irons, shower doors, glassware and cookware?
14. What is the pink stuff in my toilet, shower or pet's dish?
15. Why does my water have a stronger chlorine smell in the Spring?
16. Who controls my water quality?
17. What is the rotten egg or sulfur smell?