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Drinking Water Research

Girl drinking water
In the Spotlight

Science Overview

EPA establishes and enforces standards to protect drinking water quality and ensure that Americans have access to safe drinking water. To support regulatory efforts, drinking water research is is improving our understanding of linkages between health and drinking water by providing the science to:

EPA is dedicated to providing safe drinking water to the public. Cutting-edge research is conducted to improve the safety, reliability, and sustainability of drinking water supplies. Methods are produced that improve our ability to analyze waterborne contaminants, measure exposure and elucidate health effects associated with waterborne contaminants. The research program develops methods, models, and tools to analyze health risks, optimize approaches for treating and distributing drinking water, and improve the integrity, reliability, and sustainability of water infrastructure.

Two long-term goals that address the need for new scientific knowledge, tools, and technologies to provide safe and reliable drinking water and support the statutory requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act. They are:

Risk Characterization Research: Produce methods, data, and tools to characterize drinking water sources, treatment efficacy, distribution and storage systems, and health risks associated with waterborne contaminants.

Risk Management Research: Produce data, tools, models, and technologies to prevent, control, manage, and/or mitigate potential health risks associated with sources, treatment, distribution, and use of drinking water and to promote the sustainability of water resources and the reliable delivery of safe drinking water.

Within these two long-term goals, research encompasses the hydrologic or water cycle with an emphasis on surface water and ground water sources that are used to supply drinking water. The research is organized around protection of drinking water sources and characterizing and managing health risks associated with exposure to waterborne contaminants. The research is organized under five themes:

Assessment Tools

Source Water/Water Resources

Treatment and Residuals

Distribution and Storage Systems

Exposure/Health Effects

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