How Often Is City Water Tested: The Answer Might Surprise You

A city’s reservoir underneath an overpass surrounded by trees.

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Living in a city almost certainly means the municipality supplies your tap water. Did you know that when you turn on the faucet, you might be using water that collects on the surface of the planet such as in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and streams? The city takes this water from its source and treats it before it reaches your home. But how often is city water tested for contaminants? The water we use for oh so many things. Let’s take a closer look.

What You Need to Know About Your City’s Water

About 289 million people in the United States rely on getting their tap water from a community water system, including those overseen by the government and privately held facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the governmental entity responsible for regulating such systems.

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974. It gave the EPA the authority to set drinking water quality standards and regulate the localities, water suppliers, and states. This makes sure everyone is following the standards. The EPA made amendments to the law in 1986 and 1996 to protect lakes, springs, rivers, groundwater wells and reservoirs as well.

Clean water is being poured into a glass cup.

How Often is City Water Tested?

There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question regarding how often is city water tested. Some factors that govern the frequency of this testing include: 

  • the type of water source
  • the number of people a particular system is serving
  • the types of contaminants in question

Every five years, the EPA releases a drinking water contaminant candidate list (CCL). The most recent CCL was published in 2016 and contained 12 microbial contaminants such as the hepatitis A virus and salmonella enterica.

In addition, there were also 97 chemicals or chemical groups included on the list, including formaldehyde, a fungicide, and methanol, an industrial solvent that is also an ingredient in antifreeze. These contaminants are either known to occur in public water systems like city water or are anticipated to do so.

A reservoir flowing next to land carrying industrial items.

How Can Contaminants Get in Your City Water?

There are a number of ways that city water can become contaminated. Some of the most common include: 

  • overflowing sewers
  • the use of pesticides, fertilizers and animal feeding practices that occur near the water source
  • manufacturing processes
  • minerals and chemicals that occur naturally in the water or soil such as uranium, arsenic and radon
  • wastewater treatment system malfunction

Each year, your city must release a report detailing a number of elements concerning your water supply. Often called a consumer confidence report (CCR), it contains information regarding any contaminants found in the water, the source of the water, and how you can get involved in protecting the water you drink.

washing a dish in the sink with tap water

See, Smell and Taste: Do You Need to Test Your Water?

One of the most troublesome things to experience when you run tap water is an unexpected change in the odor, taste or color. The presence of these things is not always a sign of something that is amiss. However, it can certainly make you question just how often is city water tested. It will also make you wonder what the results of the latest tests were. If the color of your water is making you nervous, contact your local water filtration company to set up a water test.

Protect Your Home and Your Family with Water Filtration Solutions

One of the best ways of ensuring that you and your family always have access to clean, fresh and uncontaminated water is to opt for a whole home water filtration system. It won’t matter if you’re getting water to cook a meal with or filling up your washing machine. A whole home water filtration system provides you with filtered water that’s free of toxins every time. 

At ONIT, we are committed to providing people just like you with the solutions you need to live safely and comfortably at home. That’s why we offer free water tests to families so they can better understand what’s in their water. We provide helpful insight and clear answers to what the results from a water test means. And if you choose to remove toxins with an industry-leading water filtration system, you can count on us to source and professionally install the system for you. With years of experience on our side, you can expect your filtration system to be connected right the first time so you can quickly enjoy clean water. 

ONIT Home is offering bundling deals you can’t resist. We’re offering bundled purchases with a $1,500 voucher to use on water filtration, solar panels, or security systems. Or, you can receive a $2,000 security system for only $1,000 with the purchase of a water filtration system. If you’re ready to get rid of your electric bill and go solar, we have a two week installation with a free home security and water filtration system. Whatever your needs are, we’re ONIT. Visit us online or call us at 1-833-433-0331.