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EPA Promotes Water Efficiency in the Home - Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act - By Donald S. Welsh, U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator

Release Date: 12/2/2004
Contact Information: Liz Ferry, (215) 814-2909

Liz Ferry, (215) 814-2909

This month, our nation celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The anniversary is an opportunity to renew our commitment to providing Americans with pure, healthy water, while at the same time focusing the nation’s attention on the new water quality challenges we face.

Every day, millions of Americans receive high quality drinking water from their public water systems. Nonetheless, drinking water safety cannot be taken for granted. There are a number of threats to drinking water: improperly disposed of chemicals; animal wastes; pesticides; human wastes; and naturally occurring substances can all contaminate drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act’s focuses primarily on treatment as a means of providing safe drinking water at the tap. Greater efforts are now underway to improve water quality at its sources - rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water.

Individuals are now also being asked to use less water in our homes, when possible. Water efficiency continues to play an important role not only in protecting water sources and improving water quality, but also in reducing the amount of energy used to treat, pump and heat water -- currently about eight percent of U.S. energy demand. (Water heating accounts for 19 percent of home energy use.)

There are a number of steps people can take to use water more efficiently in the home: detecting and fixing leaky faucets, installing high efficiency clothes washers and toilets, and watering the lawn and garden with the minimum amount of water needed.

Fixing a silent toilet leak may save as much as 500 gallons per day. Installing high efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help a typical family of four reduce indoor water use by one-third, save about $95 per year on their water and sewer bill, and cut energy use by as much as six percent.

Working together we can ensure that 30 years from now - when the Safe Drinking Water Act turns 60 we will be celebrating a successful legacy of clean water for this and future generations.

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