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Who Monitors Your Water Quality?

Nov 30, 2020

When you turn on your tap or water faucet to fill up a glass, do you stop to think about what's in your water?

You are not alone! Great Basin Water Co. (GBWC), the State of Nevada and United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) are not only interested but very invested in your water’s safety. GBWC believes that clean drinking water is vital to public health and your wellbeing. Providing safe, reliable water services is a part of our ongoing commitment to you and your family.

The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress in 1974 and provides the guidelines which all water providers are required to follow. The SDWA authorizes the US EPA to create standards and procedures to protect against both naturally occurring and man-made contaminants which may be found in drinking water. In the beginning, the SDWA focused on treatment as a means of providing safe water and in 1996 it was amended to include protecting the water source, training operators, providing the public with information, and guidelines for system improvements as a means of ensuring the safety of drinking water.

The SDWA standards and guidelines are for every water system that services over 15 households for more than six months out of the year, these standards are based on rigorous scientific testing to provide safe drinking water. The National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) set enforceable maximum contaminant levels for contaminants in drinking water and the requirements to treat water for the removal of contaminants. Along with setting the maximum contaminant levels, the US EPA also sets the testing requirements, and operator training requirements.

On the state level, GBWC’s water quality is closely monitored by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP). On a routine basis, GBWC takes water samples from various locations throughout the water system to test for contaminant levels. The sample locations and sample times are approved by NDEP. The samples taken by GBWC are tested by an independent third-party lab, results are reported to NDEP for review by GBWC and the lab.

According to the NDEP website, “Interest in drinking water system compliance is high. The Bureau of Safe Drinking Water reviews compliance data from about 600 public water systems based on State and Federal regulations. If a water system’s data exceeds a maximum contaminant level or an action level, we refer to that system as being non-compliant. Nevada currently has 17 systems that are non-compliant with health-based primary drinking water standards and 12 additional systems that are non-compliant with other secondary drinking water standards.”

Today, GBWC is not on the non-compliant list of NDEP. Historically, GBWC was on the non-compliant list prior to the treatment of Arsenic in the 200 Tract area. GBWC constructed an Arsenic treatment plant approved by NDEP to mitigate the naturally occurring Arsenic in the ground water. GBWC continues to test the water on a quarterly basis as approved by NDEP. Every year in compliance with providing the public information requirement of the SDWA, GBWC provides a water quality report to customers. This report can be found on our website at https://www.myutility.us/greatbasinwaterco/water-quality-reports/2019.

GBWC operations employees must study, pass tests, and attend continuing education units (CEUs) to hold certifications recognized by the NDEP and US EPA. The certification program requirements are governed by Nevada Administrative Code and are updated regularly with the latest update occurring in 2018. Our operators maintain their certifications or increase their certifications, with annual CEUs, years of experience and regular testing for higher certifications.

So, the next time you go to turn on your tap or faucet to fill up a glass of water, remember that your water quality is closely monitored by GBWC and at the state and the federal level. We are proud to follow all regulations and requirements and provide water services you can rely on.