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A public water system (PWS) is a system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least fifteen service connections or regularly serves at least twenty-five individuals.

The public drinking water systems regulated by EPA, and delegated states and tribes, provide drinking water to 90 percent of Americans. These public drinking water systems, which may be publicly- or privately-owned, serve at least 25 people or 15 service connections for at least 60 days per year. Private, individual household wells, are not regulated by EPA.  For more information on these wells visit our Private Drinking Water Wells site.  Below we have listed some of the activities that EPA, states, and tribes undertake to regulate public water supplies.

Providing safe drinking water is a partnership that involves EPA, the states, tribes, water systems and their operators.  To learn more about this important network of public health providers, you can select from this variety of information sources.

EPA/State/Tribal Implementation

Water Systems/Operators


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