Source Water


Source Water

Source water is water that the public uses for drinking purposes. Source water can be drawn from surface water sources such as streams, rivers and lakes or groundwater sources such as aquifers. Source water protection is the safeguarding of all present and future drinking water sources.

Water treatment utilities treat the influent used for public drinking water. Protecting source water from contamination can reduce treatment costs and possible risks to public health from exposures to contamination.

Why should you care?

We drink from the rivers - we are all impacted by their quality. Historically, the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela river valleys have been a region of famous industrial activity. Residents of the area settled here because of those work opportunities, ultimately finding themselves forced to live in and around the pollution their industries caused. For a century, Pittsburgh's three major rivers were highly polluted, and we suffered under a legacy of adverse environmental impact: acid mine drainage, brownfields, oil spills, and industrial wastes. Today, these same rivers are cleaner than they have been in a century, but we still need to be alert to possible influences that adversely affect the health of our rivers. 

Surface water (streams, rivers, and lakes) or ground water (aquifers) can serve as sources of drinking water, referred to as source water. Source water provides water for public drinking water supplies and private water wells.
— United States Environmental Protection Agency