The average American consumes 1 to 2 liters of drinking water per day. Virtually all drinking water in the United States comes from fresh surface waters and ground water aquifers.
Surface waters and aquifers can be contaminated by various chemicals, microbes, and radionuclides. Disinfection of drinking water has dramatically reduced the prevalence of waterborne diseases (such as typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis) in the United States. Other processes may also be used to treat drinking water depending on the characteristics of and contaminants in the source water.
Common sources of drinking water contaminants include:
- Industry and agriculture
- Human and animal waste
- Treatment and distribution
- Natural sources
If drinking water contains unsafe levels of contaminants, it can cause health effects, such as gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous system or reproductive effects, and chronic diseases such as cancer.
Safe clean drinking water is one of the foundations for a healthy community. Large community and small non-community systems serving such places as towns, drinking water systems, pipelines, restaurants, campgrounds, and HOAs in San Miguel County are inspected and regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division Drinking Water Program.
If you have concerns, click here to visit CDPHE’s frequently requested information page.
Private wells supply water to many households in the county. Sampling for safety and health of this water falls solely on the home owner or tenants shoulders. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the EPA both recommend sampling coliform bacteria and nitrates annually, or whenever a change of quality is observed, at a minimum.
Well Water Permits
Private water wells are permitted by the Division of Water Resource. Click here to learn more about well water permits through the Division of Water Resources.
Lead is a naturally occurring metal which has been used in a variety of products including drinking water service lines and plumbing material. Lead pipes have not been installed since 1986 due to health concerns, but not all have been replaced. Lead in drinking water typically occurs because these lead-containing pipes and plumbing materials corrode over time.
Testing is the only way to know whether the water contains lead. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. Testing is important if a building has lead pipes, lead-containing fixtures, or lead solder. Babies and young children are more vulnerable to lead than adults.
- Click here to learn more about lead drinking water, having water tested, and other preventative tips.
Test and Fix Water for Kids Program
Public Health is currently working with the State Health Department and schools and childcare centers to test for lead in the facilities drinking water. The Test & Fix Water for Kids program is in response to a new Colorado law. This law requires that child care centers, family child care homes and schools serving grades preschool through fifth test drinking water for lead by May 31, 2023.
The program provides free lead testing and free technical assistance and mitigation guidance if necessary. To view more information and lead test results, click here to visit the State’s lead website.