Homeowners and Your Water


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    Homeowners and Your Water

    There are two types of drinking water systems in the United States, Public water systems and privately owned water systems. Public water systems are subject to United States Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) regulations, while privately owned water systems are not.

    Public Water Systems

    When you turn on your tap where does the water come from? If you pay a bill for water you are purchasing water from a public water system. There are approximately 155,000 public water systems in the United States that serve around 286 million people. This water is tested and reported to state, federal, or tribal drinking water agencies who are responsible for making sure it is in compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Standards. If contaminants are found in the water that may cause illness or other problems the water company is responsible to notify you. Most water companies will send out an annual Consumer Confidence Report which discloses the contaminants found, possible health effects, and the water’s source. This report is generally sent in July with your water bill. If you do not receive a report, contact your water company for this information.

    Private Water Systems

    Approximately 15 percent of Americans get their drinking water from private wells. These wells, which tap into local groundwater, are designed to provide clean, safe drinking water. Improperly constructed, or poorly maintained wells can create a pathway for fertilizers, bacteria, pesticides, or other materials to enter the water supply. Once in the groundwater, contaminants can flow from your property to a neighbor's well, or from a neighbor's property to your well. This means that well owners need to take precautions to ensure that their drinking water is safe for human consumption.

    For more information regarding your well please check out the "well educated" program at Montana State University Extension. Also check out the well and septic videos.

    Good record keeping is essential to help protect the health of your household and the environment. These folders provide an easy, practical way to keep records of private wells and septic tanks. These folders also contain a description of typical systems (e.g., septic systems), suggestions for maintenance, tables for critical dates, and other important information to help keep systems operating efficiently.  

    For more information regarding your well, visit this link.

    If you have any further questions, please contact us at (435) 797-2580. 

    Best Management Practices

    Best management practices (BMPs) describe ways to manage your land or your activities to reduce or prevent pollution of surface and groundwater near you. These practices protect your family's health, but also help protect the other uses of our water such as recreation, animal habitat, fisheries, and agricultural uses such as irrigation or stock watering. Best management practices are usually simple and low tech, and benefit everybody.

    If you own a small acreage you may want to visit the Small Acreage Water Quality page. If you own a large acreage you may want to visit the Agriculture & Water Quality page.