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DES MOINES—Just released, DNR published the annual report on the public drinking water program, compiling a list of how well Iowa’s public water supplies comply with state and federal regulations. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires DNR to collect data and report any violations of health-based standards, and major monitoring or reporting requirements that occurred in the previous year.
“In its simplest form, it’s a report card for the 1,855 public water supplies regulated by DNR,” said Lori McDaniel, chief of DNR’s water quality bureau. “Our compliance rate is high with nearly 96 percent of all public water systems meeting all health-based standards, and roughly 83 percent meeting major monitoring and reporting requirements.”
Almost 96 percent of the 2.96 million people served by Iowa’s public water supplies received drinking water that complied with all health-based standards, a slight improvement over earlier years. Approximately 93 percent of the population received water from systems that met all major monitoring and reporting requirements.
“Anyone can look at the report to see if the public water they drink has met all standards and requirements during the previous year,” McDaniel added.
There are two types of health-based standard violations: acute violations that can pose an immediate or acute risk to human health, and chronic violations, which have adverse health effects that occur with long-term exposure. With any violation, the system must notify the public about the violation and actions taken to remedy the situation. DNR may also set additional monitoring and treatment requirements at the system, to ensure the water is safe to drink.
To find out more about the public drinking water program, the requirements for systems and DNR’s role in helping them meet requirements, read the Public Drinking Water Program 2019 Annual Compliance Report.
Check Appendix B to see if your public water supply had a violation in 2019. Or, read the annual Consumer Confidence Report from the public water supply that serves your home. By July 1, each community water supply must produce and distribute an annual report of that system’s water quality, including water source, any violations, and monitoring data ranges for the past five years. Many public water supplies enclose these reports in water bills or newsletters sent to the people they serve. The report may also be available on their website.
The Iowa DNR has primary oversight and enforcement responsibility for the state drinking water program. “The water operators’ daily work efforts yield the success we see in compliance,” McDaniel said. As public health professionals, operators have the knowledge to comply with federal requirements, working to keep Iowans’ drinking water safe.
DNR works with public water supplies to ensure Iowans have safe water to drink. DNR water engineers and specialists issue permits for existing and new facilities, reviewing proposals to ensure design, construction and monitoring requirements will protect water. Staff conduct on-site inspections, provide technical assistance, monitor compliance and certify public water supply operators.