Water Quality & Health Council: Drinking Water

Safe Drinking Water: The Lifeblood of Society


Latest Posts

Water Loss: Challenges, Costs and Opportunities

Autumn: When Leaves Fall, So Can Water Quality

If Nothing Changes, It Will Happen Again: New Zealand’s Untreated Drinking Water

Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winners Propose Novel Approach to Expanding Safe Water Resources

Touring Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System and Celebrating World Water Week 2017

Climbing the Rungs of the Safe Water and Sanitation Service Ladders

The Once and Future Water Fountain

Three Tips to Help You Prepare for a Home Water Emergency

Finished Drinking Water and Treatment Fundamentals

Sticker Shock and the Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Challenges

World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water?

Chlorine Odors and Why Drinking Water Systems Change Disinfection Practices

Life is About Choices and their Inherent Risks, Here’s One: De-Iced Roads or Drinkable Water

Update: New Zealand’s Largest Drinking Water Outbreak

Indicators of Drinking Water Quality

Smells Like Chlorine?

Happy Holidays: A Year in the Life of the Blue Planet

Science, Technology, and the Future of America’s Drinking Water

Biofilms and Drinking Water Quality

A Cautionary Tale of Untreated Groundwater, Campylobacter, and New Zealand’s Largest Drinking Water Outbreak

Meeting the Goal of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for All

A Public Health Anniversary: US Drinking Water Chlorination

Why Wastewater Treatment Matters: An Example from Haiti

Water Quality & Health Council Member Joan B. Rose, PhD, Receives Stockholm Water Prize

The Global Water Pathogen Project: Helping to Meet the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Add Water for a Fun 4th of July

Activated Carbon and Water Treatment

Legionella in Flint’s Drinking Water

Professor Joan B. Rose Named 2016 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate

Marking World Water Day with an Interview with Drinking Water Treatment Professionals

Water Experts Use Technology to Promote Safe Water and Sanitation: An Introduction to the Global Water Pathogen Project

Facts about Chloramine Drinking Water Treatment

Into the Belly of the Beast: Maintaining Water Quality in Elevated Water Storage Tanks

Zika Virus: On the Move

A Snow Crystal is Born

The Problem with Intermittent Water Delivery in Developing Countries

Do Point-of-Use Water Quality Interventions Work?

Potentially Harmful Pathogens within Your Home

Sharing the Gift of Water Treatment in a Packet

The Latin American Cholera Epidemic of the 1990’s: My View from the Inside

Legionella Outbreak in the Bronx

Naegleria fowleri Infection: Low Likelihood, High Impact

Substances that Cause Tap Water Taste, Odor and Appearance

Tap Water Taste, Odor and Appearance: Why They Matter

Water, Sanitation and the Millennium Development Goals: A Report Card on Global Progress

Recent Trends in Waterborne Disease Outbreaks in the US

Antibiotic Resistance and Wastewater Effluent Chlorination

World Water Day, 2015: A Vital Role for Dihydrogen Oxide in Sustainable Development

TTHM in Drinking Water: The Flint, Michigan Story, A Lesson for Us All

A Fresh Look at C. Diff Infection in the US

Is Your Well Drinking Water all Well and Good?

Drinking Water and Chlorine Smell

UV Irradiation and Its “Sleeping Beauty Effect” on Bacteria

Will you Have Enough Safe Water for Personal Hygiene in Case of an Emergency

Wisconsin “Healthography” Study Yields Surprising Insight into Childhood Gastrointestinal Illness

Chlorinating Brainerd’s Drinking Water Can Save Lives

Naegleria in Louisiana: Fighting the Right Fight

Addressing Legionella: Public Health Enemy #1 in US Water Systems

How to Read and Interpret Your Water Utility’s Drinking Water Quality Report (The Consumer Confidence Report)

Maintaining Home Plumbing

Our Very Existence Depends Upon Ground Water: What Consumers Can Do to Help Protect It

Staying Hydrated All Year Long

The Safe Drinking Water Act: A Blueprint for Protecting the Nation’s Drinking Water

State Says Chlorine Controlling Naegleria in Louisiana

Providing Food and Water: The Great Balancing Act

Typhoid Fever: Modus Operandi Revealed

When Drinking Water Became Safer

Milwaukee, 1993: The Largest Documented Waterborne Disease Outbreak in US History

Water Structures on the Horizon

A Resource Bounty: Vast Water Supplies Discovered Under Earth’s Continental Shelves

Battling Biofilms in Aging Water Infrastructure

Naegleria Death in Louisiana

US Drinking Water Chlorination Turns 105!

Clean Drinking Water for Santiago, Honduras

Water Treatment Fundamentals

Remember the Alamosa (Outbreak)!

The Chlorine Residual: A Public Health Safeguard

Where Have All the (Public Water) Fountains Gone?

The Truth about Disinfection By-products in Drinking Water

Safe Drinking Water: Still at the Core of Sustainable Development

Turn the Chlorinators on Full-time in Chilliwack

Protecting the Watershed: Step #1 for Clean Drinking Water

Uncovering Water Main Data in North America

How’s My Waterway? Getting Water Quality Information for Waterways in Your Neck* of the Woods

Safe Drinking Water in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Toward a Better Future in Haiti: Chlorinators and the
Chlorine Bank Network

Can a Seattle Office Building Do without Chlorinated Water?

Cholera in the Caribbean

Add Water for a Fun 4th of July

A Hint of Human Virus in Your Drinking Water?

Clean Drinking Water: UN Goal Met Five Years Early

Drink Water: Sage Advice in Two Little Words

Haiti: Water for the Artibonite Valley

Pain at the Pipe – Part 2: Consequences of Failing to Repair and Replace Our Buried Water Piping Infrastructure

Pain at the Pipe – Part 1: Why the US Should Respond to Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs

Drinking Water and Chlorine Odor

Superbugs and the Road to Antimicrobial Resistance: A Case Study from Ecuador

« Older Entries


Drinking Water Emergencies


The U. S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers tips on emergency disinfection of drinking water using two general methods, boiling and chemical disinfection. Directions for preparing emergency water for drinking, cooking, making any prepared drink or for brushing teeth are included here.

Although many families choose to store bottled or distilled water as an emergency preparedness measure, storing tap water is another option. The Water Quality and Health Council offers tips on how to store tap water, including estimating how much families need and ways to ensure it remains potable while in storage.

Flooding can cause damage to a home that goes beyond what the eye can see. The American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division notes the importance of cleaning and disinfecting in the wake of flooding to ensure that homes and belongings are safe.

Approximately 15 percent of the US population draws its drinking water from private wells, which unlike public water systems, are not held to EPA water quality standards. That’s why it is important for private well owners to test their water quality at least annually and after significant flooding, and, if needed, take the necessary steps to disinfect.

In February 2004, residents of the Washington, D.C. area learned that high levels of lead were detected in portions of their drinking water supply. Tap water flowing into thousands of homes in the nation’s capital was found to contain lead in excess of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “action level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb).

Drinking Water Chlorination

Developments and advances in chlorine chemistry have shaped the treatment of drinking water in the US for over 100 years. This drinking water chlorination white paper reviews chlorination technologies used to reduce the risks of waterborne diseases; the challenge of disinfection byproducts; chlorine water system security and the future of chlorine disinfection.

A brief history of U.S. drinking water chlorination begins in 1908 in the Union Stockyards of Chicago and shortly after, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Declining disease rates confirm the value of chlorine disinfectants, and in the following decades the technology spreads like wildfire across the nation, to the great benefit of public health.

CDC data are graphed to show how U.S. typhoid fever incident rates plummeted from 1920 through1960, thanks to improvements in drinking water quality, including widespread chlorination.

Starting in 1680 with the development of a primitive microscope, an interactive timeline of historical events leading to the widespread chlorination of drinking water includes Dr. John Snow’s brilliant detective work in ending a London cholera epidemic in 1854, the 1974 U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act and more.

Water Quality & Health Council member Fred M. Reiff, a former official of the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization describes his first-hand observation of a 1991 cholera epidemic in Peru that spread to other Latin American countries. Reiff traces the cause of the outbreak to a misinterpretation of risks associated with disinfection, and warns against the inappropriate use of the Precautionary Principle.

Wastewater Chlorination

First used in the U.S. in Philadelphia in 1910, municipal wastewater chlorination helps keep rivers and streams healthy, and ultimately improves drinking water quality.

For Kids

Two mighty superheroes–The Chlorin8tor and Little Hector, The Disinfector–are the stars of a downloadable coloring and activity book created by the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council. The duo introduce the germ-busting power of chlorine through The Chlorin8tor’s trusty Electron Grabber tool. Students can color enlarged sketches of water germs and, on the same page, examine actual microphotographs of each germ.

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