Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
Environmental Studies PHS 100A
David Terrell Ph. D.
Warner Pacific College
June 11, 2011
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the federal law that was written in 1974 to ensure Americans that their drinking water is safe to consume. It was then amended in 1986 and again in 1996 to require several actions to protect the resources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs and ground water wells. There are many threats to drinking water: improperly disposed chemicals, animal and human waste, pesticides, waste that are injected underground as well as naturally-occurring substances which can all contaminate our drinking water. (United States Envi-ronmental Protection Agency, 2011) How the water is treated and processed can all pose a health risk. There are so many facets to the SDWA, not only what is in our water, but maintaining the infrastructure, financing and what happens when our water is contaminated. Who cleans up the mess? Who pays for the clean up?
I think that the United States is doing a better job at keeping our drinking water safe then oth-er countries. We all know someone that has gone to another country and ended up sick from the water. It is a known fact that when you travel over seas that you should not drink the water and brush your teeth with the tap water to avoid getting sick. However, even though the United States has a much better system for keeping water safe, it is still an ongoing problem. There are some areas of our country that have major problems. For example, in Charleston West Virginia their water has been completely contaminated from the coalmines, to the point that people are getting brain tumors and are dying. Even the children cannot even play in the bathtub because they get severe rashes and the water burns their skin. I do not understand how this kind of thing is happening with all of the regulations and laws for dumping waste.
Here in Portland Oregon I am still amazed how many times you here on the news that there was an accidental spill of raw sewage or chemicals in the Willamette River. It is then broadcast that for a few days you are not supposed to swim in the river. No one cleans up the mess; they just wait until it floats down stream and becomes more diluted. More needs to be done to keep these types of incidents from happening. This also affects the fish in the rivers that we eat.
I believe every person has a role in keeping our water clean and safe, not only for drinking, but for swimming or bathing our children. We need to be cautious about not polluting the water or using chemicals on the ground that can seep into the water tables. Storms also can be detri-ment to our waterways because of flooding. Being prepared for what to do after a storm incase your drinking water is compromised. Using water efficiently is also important; it helps to reduce the demand on our water supplies. When it comes down to it, we all just need to be involved in keeping our water safe. Get involved in your local government and do your part.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Initials. (2011, May 16). Safe drinking water act (SDWA). Retrieved from http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/index.cfm