Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Children's Health Protection

Water - Clear Doesn't Always Mean Clean

Water is something we often take for granted in the United States. Usually we have enough of it and it is safe. But the sources of our drinking water are constantly being challenged by naturally occurring events like landslides and floods, and human activities like littering and pollution.

We rely on a safe water supply for the health of our families and neighbors. Your water may come from a lake, river, or reservoir or it may come from underground wells. In any case, your drinking water starts its journey to your kitchen sink from a watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains into a single body of water or to ground water. Everything that happens in the watershed can affect the quality of your water supply.


  • To keep bugs and weeds out of our grass, Americans use 80 million pounds of pesticides on our lawns each year. Some of these pesticides may run off into our water.
  • In the United States, water supply companies treat nearly 34 billion gallons of water every day.
  • Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water every day.

Safe drinking water depends on all of us. Do your part to protect yourself and the water you drink!


  1. Don’t trash your batteries when they run out of juice because they can pollute water supplies. Ask your local recycling center how to properly get rid of old batteries.
  2. It’s simple: don’t drink water directly from a pond, creek, stream, river, or lake.
  3. If your home uses a well for drinking water, ask an adult in the house to have it tested every year by an expert laboratory. Read "Drinking Water from Household Wells," found at www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/booklet/index.html or call 1-800-426-4791 for help.
  4. If you get your drinking water from a community water system, check with your water supplier once a year to find out the water quality.


Develop a checklist of safe drinking water tips and have your class or a parent help you hand it out to your friends and neighbors.

Visit www.epa.gov/safewater for safe drinking water tips. List them here.

Find out about your local drinking water plant and what is required to have clean and safe drinking water. Most public water systems have Web sites that list the sources of water they use, how they treat it to remove pollutants, and if any harmful pollutants were found.

Work with teachers or other volunteers to plan a tour of your local water plant. Make sure to ask key questions, such as where does the water come from and what steps are taken to make your drinking water safe. Brainstorm your list of questions here.

Use the information that you learned from the tour to prepare and give a presentation on safe drinking water in day care centers, schools, churches, and other places in your community.


For more information on safe drinking water, visit EPA’s drinking water Web site at www.epa.gov/safewater.

Jump to main content.