Healthy Homes - Drinking Water
Why is drinking water a health issue?
Drinking water comes from a variety of sources including public water systems, private ground water wells, natural springs and bottled water. Clean water is essential to healthy living. Most importantly water is needed for drinking to support a healthy mind and body. Water in the household is also needed for cooking, bathing, clothes washing and house cleaning.
U.S. EPA sets standards that ensure safe drinking water from public water sources. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Water Resources oversees drinking water safety. It trains and inspects the operators that clean drinking water for water utilities. Water utilities are required to inspect water for infectious pathogens, chemical contaminants and disinfectant products on a regular basis. By law, you are to be notified if your public drinking water source fails to meet water quality standards.
Metal water pipes may weaken over time. Let the cold water run for two to three minutes when using tap water the first time each day. This will flush out lead or copper that may have settled over time. Do not use hot water for drinking, cooking or making baby formula. Metals are more likely to dissolve into hot water. It is better to run cold water and then heat it on the stove or in the microwave. For information on how to test your home’s water, call an approved laboratory.
In rural areas, about 95% of people drink water from a private source such as a well or spring. If you get your water from a well, make sure it is clean and safe to drink. Have your water tested for bacteria, viruses and pollutants. If you use a private drinking water well, make sure it is clean and safe to drink is the responsibility of the well owner. For more information, see our Private Water Supply page.
Tennessee Department of Health
Waterborne Illness Prevention - Drinking/Household Water
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Ground Water and Drinking Water
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)