Private Drinking Water

Glass of water with ice - Private Drinking Water

A majority of people living in the U.S. get drinking water from federally regulated systems that are equipped with advanced technologies to ensure clean water standards are met under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  However, nearly 15 percent of Americans rely on private drinking water systems that are not protected by the SDWA. These systems serve fewer than 25 people or have less than 15 connections. They are typically private wells but also include springs, cisterns, and hauled water systems.

Because the lack of required testing and monitoring, UDWS pose a unique public health challenge. 


Private Water Safety Virtual Conference LogoPrivate Water Safety Virtual Conference

NEHA hosted its very first private water virtual conference, Private Water Safety - Enhancing Safety in Private Drinking Water Systems, on October 16th and 17th, 2018. The Private Water Safety Virtual Conference was designed to enhance the knowledge of environmental public health professionals and water safety specialists to help close the water quality gap in unregulated private drinking water.  Professionals that engage with private drinking water systems presented existing and new resources, innovative solutions, and successful programs in unregulated water quality. It was an opportunity to bring professionals together in a unique virtual environment to exchange information and discover new solutions.

Click here to learn more about the conference.  


Preparedness & Response for Septic Systems

After a disaster, such as a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake, septic systems may be damaged and fail to operate correctly. Ensuring that these systems function properly is essential to providing safe waste disposal for millions of Americans, yet there may be no standard safety protocol in place for using septic systems after a disaster occurs.

NEHA worked with subject matter experts and national partners to develop an easily accessible toolkit with guidance documents for different types of disasters.


Flooding Preparedness and Response for Private Water Systems

The Flooding Preparedness and Response for Private Water Systems page includes a range of resources to assist private well and septic system users before, during, and after a hurricane or mass flooding disaster. 

Safe Water Program Improvement e-Learning Series 

NEHA is happy to announce the launch of the no-cost online class: Safe Water Program Improvement (SWPI). Created in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Network of Public Health Institutes, Texas Health Institutes, Tulane University, and NEHA, SWPI provides information and resources for improving health department programs on household wells, springs, cisterns, and other drinking water sources. 

Private Well Class

NEHA is excited to partner with the Illinois State Water Survey to bring you this no-cost, online education opportunity!

The Private Well Class is being provided to NEHA at no-charge by the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois. The funding for the Private Well Class program comes from the USEPA through a cooperative agreement with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for EH professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding. The class consists of 10 courses that can be taken in sequence or individually and are eligible for one (1) CE each from NEHA.

Register for Private Well Class

Private Well Class Webinars 

The Private Well Class webinars are live enrichment sessions designed to help a homeowner better understand how to properly care for, and ensure the safety of their well water. The webinars are also your best opportunity to ask questions. The webinars are separate from the enrollment of the course, however, both are free. See the upcoming webinars below for more information and registration.

About the Instructor

Steve Wilson
Groundwater Hydrologist

Steve Wilson is a 30-year veteran of the Illinois State Water Survey. Most of his research has been related to groundwater quantity and quality issues in the sand and gravel aquifers of Illinois. He authored the flagship e-course curriculum for The Private Well Class.

photograph of Steve Wilson

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