Check to make sure your drinking water is safe.

Time: 
Morning

Through the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the U.S. EPA regulates the community water systems that supply drinking water to most Americans. Every system is required to publish a yearly “consumer confidence report” detailing contaminants or violations of water quality standards. You can see the report for your water system by contacting the system directly. To find yours, visit the EPA's water systems Web site.

If you are on well water, you should have it tested annually. Wells, which are not typically regulated by the SDWA, are more likely to contain contaminants than municipal water systems. Your municipality, county or state health department may offer free or low-cost testing services; otherwise, use one of the certified laboratories in your state listed here.

Ask for guidance from the lab or your local health department on which contaminants to test for. Find out whether radon or heavy metals like arsenic are present in underground rocks or soils in your area. Tell the laboratory if you live near a farm, an industrial cattle-feeding operation, a gas station, a mine, a factory, a dump or other possible source of contaminants that can find their way into the groundwater.

If you find your water is contaminated, click here to learn how to remedy your particular problem. If a filter is necessary, consult our Checkout Counter: Water Filters for help selecting the filter that best meets your needs.