- About the Drinking Water Data Search
- System Name/ID
- Geographic Location
- System Characteristics
- Enforcement and Compliance
- Data Caveats
About the Drinking Water Data Search
The Drinking Water Data Search captures data on public drinking water systems regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The parameters displayed for each of the systems returned reflect data drawn from the federal version of the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS/Fed).
Under SDWA, most states and the Navajo Nation have "primacy," meaning the authority to implement and enforce SDWA within their jurisdictions if they can show that their standards will be at least as stringent as the national standards. They also must ensure that public water systems meet these standards. States with primacy collect detailed system and monitoring data from systems within their jurisdictions, and submit a portion of that data quarterly to EPA. The data required to be reported to EPA include information about each system, such as its name, type (community, transient, non-transient), population served, and source water type; violations of SDWA regulations; and enforcement actions taken to return the system to compliance.
You can learn more about drinking water from these sources:
- ECHO Frequently Asked Questions about enforcement and compliance
- Drinking Water Glossary at EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
- Safe Drinking Water Act at EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
- Safe Drinking Water Information System at EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
- Safe Drinking Water Enforcement at EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement
- Your local or state drinking water agency
- US EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline, at 800-426-4791
PWSIDA unique identifying code for a public water system in SDWIS. It consists of a two-letter state or region code, followed by seven digits.
For a system name search, valid entries include a system or corporate
name with or without other search criteria. If a one-word system name
is entered, the system will search on the exact word. For example:
- Exxon = EXXON
- Formosa = FORMOSA
If more than one word is entered for a system name, the system
uses a soundex algorithm, creating a name "hash," to search
for matches. The "hash" is the first letter in the word and
the next three consonants in order, unless the word is shorter
or there are 2 consonants in a row. This is done to control
for name variations, but also may return false hits for other
systems if the names are similar. For example:
- American National Can = AMRC NTNL CN
- Williams Alaska Petroleum = WLMS ALSK PTRL
- FL RVR = Fall River WWTP -or-
Revere Foil Containers -or-
National Fuel Passaic River
- When entering a system name, if an abbreviation doesn't work, try using the whole words (i.e., International Metals Company instead of INMETCO). Also, the order of the words does not matter.
EPA RegionA map of EPA regions is here. You may not specify both a Region and a state. If you select a Region, the state option will automatically reset to "No State Selected".
StateYou may not specify both a state and a Region. If you select a state, the Region option will automatically reset to "No Region Selected".
CityIf you specify a city in the query form, you must specify a state as well.
CountyYou must first specify a state in the query form, in order to make the list of counties in that state available.
In Indian CountryYou can restrict your search to systems that are located in Indian country according to SDWIS.
- Public water system (PWS)
- A system for the provision to the public of piped water for human consumption, which has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of at least 25 individuals at least 60 days out of the year.
- Community water system (CWS)
- A public water system that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.
- Non-community water system (NCWS)
- A public water system that is not a community water system.
- Non-transient non-community water system (NTNCWS)
- A non-community water system that regularly serves at least 25 of the same nonresident persons per day for more than six months per year.
- Transient non-community water system (TNCWS)
- A non-community water system that does not serve 25 of the same nonresident persons per day for more than six months per year.
Source Water Type
- Surface water (SW)
- All water naturally open to the atmosphere (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, streams, impoundments, seas, estuaries, etc.) and all springs, wells, or other collectors that are directly influenced by surface water.
- Ground water (GW)
- The supply of fresh water found beneath the Earth's surface, usually in aquifers, often used for supplying wells and springs.
- Ground water under direct influence of surface water (GU)
- Any water beneath the surface of the ground with: 1) significant occurrence of insects or other macroorganisms, algae, or large-diameter pathogens such as Giardia lamblia; or 2) significant and relatively rapid shifts in water characteristics such as turbidity, temperature, conductivity, or pH that closely correlate to climatological or surface water conditions. Direct influence must be determined for individual sources in accordance with criteria established by the State. The State determination of direct influence may be based on site-specific measurements of water quality and/or documentation of well construction characteristics and geology with field evaluation.
Population ServedThe estimated average daily population served by a system.
- A system is active if it produces drinking water on a regular basis. A seasonal water system may also be considered active, if it is expected to resume operation within the year.
- Not active. This includes systems that have gone out of business or been merged into other drinking water systems.
Enforcement and Compliance
RulesThe following codes are used to identify regulations enacted under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Information about all of the rules enacted under SDWA is available at OGWDW's Standards and Risk Managements page.
|CCR||Consumer Confidence Report Rule|
|FBRR||Filter Backwash Recycle Rule|
|GWR||Ground Water Rule|
|I_LT1_ESWTR||Long Term 1 Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule|
|LCR||Lead and Copper Rule|
|LT2_ESWTR||Long Term 2 Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule|
|Other_IOC||Other Inorganic Compounds|
|ST1_DBP||Stage 1 Disinfection By Product Rule|
|ST2_DBP||Stage 2 Disinfection By Product Rule|
|SOC||Synthetic Organic Compounds|
|SWTR||Surface Water Treatment Rule|
|TCR||Total Coliform Rule|
|TTHM_pre_St1||Total Trihalomethane pre-Stage 1 DBP Rule|
|VOC||Volatile Organic Compounds|
Site Visits and Sanitary SurveysEvery public water system is required to be evaluated by a sanitary survey every three to five years. A sanitary survey is an on-site review of a system's water source, facilities, equipment, operation, and maintenance, intended to point out sanitary deficiencies and assess the system's capability to supply safe drinking water. Systems are evaluated on 11 different aspects of PWS operation, and the results recorded using the following codes:
|N||No Deficiencies or Recommendations|
- Current violations
- This section of the Drinking Water Search form selects systems with violations that are currently unresolved, or that may have occurred during the latest available quarter of data. EPA does not generally know the exact date of a violation, but only the compliance period during which each violation took place, so this section actually searches for violations whose compliance period includes part of the latest available quarter of data.
- Serious violator
A public water system with unresolved serious, multiple, and/or continuing violations, as identified by the quarterly application of EPA's Drinking Water Enforcement Response Policy (PDF, 952 KB), that must either return to compliance or be addressed by a formal enforcement action within six months.
EPA designates serious violators so that the drinking water system and the primacy agency will act quickly to resolve the most significant drinking water violations. Many public water systems with violations, however, are not serious violators. Operators and the primacy agencies are expected to correct the violations at non-serious violators as well, but without the more strict requirements and deadlines applicable to serious violators. If the violations at a non-serious violator are left uncorrected, that system may become a serious violator. When a serious violator has returned to compliance, it is no longer designated a serious violator. EPA updates its serious violator list on a quarterly basis.
- No violations
- EPA does not know of any unresolved violations for this system.
- Quarters with violations
- The number of quarters in which one or more violations occurred or were continuing. EPA generally does not know the exact date of a violation, but only the compliance period during which each violation took place, so this measure actually counts the number of quarters that overlapped the compliance period of one or more violations.
- Health-based violations
- Violations of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs), which specify the highest concentrations of contaminants or disinfectants, respectively, allowed in drinking water; or of treatment technique (TT) rules, which specify required processes intended to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water. MCLs, MRDLs, and treatment technique rules are all health-based drinking water standards.
- Monitoring and reporting (MR) violations
- Failure to conduct regular monitoring of drinking water quality, as required by SDWA, or to submit monitoring results in a timely fashion to the state environmental agency or EPA.
- Public notice (PN) violations
- Violations of the public notification requirements of SDWA, which require systems to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
- Other violations
- Violations of other requirements of SDWA, such as issuing annual consumer confidence reports, or conducting periodic sanitary surveys.
- Compliance period
- The time period during which a violation took place. For some violations this period corresponds to a regular water quality monitoring period, such as a month or quarter; in other cases it may initially be open-ended, and remain that way until the violation is resolved, i.e. until EPA or the state files a resolving enforcement action to indicate that either the system has returned to compliance or no further action is necessary.
- Federal rule
- The Federal SDWA rule that was violated. Note that states can issue their own rules under SDWA, to impose stricter standards or regulate contaminants not regulated by EPA. When a system violates a state rule for a contaminant that isn't regulated by EPA, the Federal rule will be listed as "Not Regulated", indicating that no Federal rule was violated.
- Resolved date
- The date on which EPA or the state recorded a resolving enforcement action in SDWIS, indicating that either the system had returned to compliance from the violation, the rule that was violated was no longer applicable, or no further action was needed.
- Return to compliance
- A system has returned to compliance, or a violation has been returned to compliance, when the system has completed monitoring, reporting, implementation of treatment, or other activities required by EPA or the state in order to be considered in compliance with SDWA again.
Enforcement ActionsEnforcement actions taken by EPA or the states in response to violations of SDWA may be classified into the following categories:
- Formal enforcement action
- An enforcement action taken to bring a non-compliant system back into compliance by a certain time, with an enforceable consequence if the schedule is not met. A formal enforcement action is based on a specific violation, requires specific actions necessary for the violator to return to compliance, and is independently enforceable without having to prove the original violation. Formal enforcement actions include issuing administrative orders, which specify actions the system must take to return to compliance; assessing fines; and referring civil or criminal cases to state attorneys general or the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Informal enforcement action
- An enforcement action that is intended to bring a system back into compliance, but falls short of a formal action. Informal enforcement actions include notices of violation, site visits, compliance meetings, injunctions, and public notifications.
- Resolving enforcement action
- A determination that a violation has been resolved, because either the system has returned to compliance, the rule is no longer applicable, or no further action is needed.