Drinking Water Program

The Drinking Water Program: An Overview

Assuring the delivery of safe drinking water is critical to the public health and well being of all New Yorkers. The Department of Health oversees the delivery of drinking water to ensure that it is suitable for people to drink. To assure the safety of drinking water in New York, the Department of Health in cooperation with its partners, the county health departments, regulates the operation, design and quality of public water supplies and commercial bottled water suppliers; assures water sources are adequately protected; provides financial assistance to public water suppliers, reviews and approves plans for proposed realty subdivisions, and sets standards for constructing individual water supplies and individual wastewater systems (septic systems).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the public water system supervision program under the authority of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Under the SDWA, EPA sets national limits on contaminant levels in drinking water to ensure that the water is safe for human consumption. EPA also regulates how often public water systems monitor their water for contaminants and report the monitoring results to the states or EPA. Generally, the larger the population served by a water system, the more frequent the monitoring and reporting requirements. Public water systems are required to notify the consumers when they have violated these regulations. You can find out more about national drinking water protection programs at web sites administered by the EPA.