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  • Writer's pictureChristina Colon

How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

Safe water is a concern for everyone, it's not only your drinking water, it's what you wash your clothes in, bath in, and cook with on a daily basis. Whether you are on a private well or receive municipal water, it is important to test the quality of your water to ensure that it is safe to use and consume.


Read your annual water report and if you have concerns, have your water tested.

Information provided by: Consumer Reports

Q. After having heard about lead in the water in Flint, Mich., I became worried about the drinking water at my home. Should I buy a filter?

A. Reports of unsafe drinking water pouring from taps in Flint and other cities can be alarming. But before you panic, you should check your municipal water report and also have your drinking water tested, says Chris Hendel, Consumer Reports’ medical researcher. The Environmental Protection Agency posts municipal water-quality reports every July; find yours at But if your home was built before lead-free pipes were mandated in 1986 or if you use well water, a test is the best way to assess the quality of the drinking water at your home.

Your state or local health department might offer free test kits. The EPA’s website lists local labs; you can also call its Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

If tests find lead in your drinking water and the level is below 150 parts per billion (ppb), a filter can make your water safer to drink. (Some water samples collected in Flint were well over that.) Water filters are certified for lead reduction only up to 150 ppb. If lead levels are higher or if tests reveal other concerns, such as arsenic, bacteria, or parasites, contact your local health department for advice. You can also contact the EPA for further guidance.

In our most recent tests of water filters, the top picks were the Clear2O carafe, $30, and the faucet-mounted Culligan FM-15A, $20. Both were top-rated for removing lead and other contaminants. The Culligan is NSF-certified, which means that it was independently verified under standards from NSF International to reduce lead to 10 ppb or less. That’s the standard many toxicologists recommend, although there’s no universally accepted safe level for lead or many other contaminants.

We also recommend the faucet-mounted Pur FM-3700B, $30, which is one of three water filters distributed by officials in Flint, according to

For related health information, check our water filter buying guide.

For more information about the safety of the water in your area, review the links below or call your local health department.

DuPage County Water Commission

Providing safe, pure drinking water is our # 1 goal at the DuPage Water Commission. The achievement of this goal requires the never ending efforts of everyone at the Commission. Our staff is diligently working to ensure that the water meets or exceeds all Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) regulatory standards.

We would encourage you to review these reports and bring any questions you have to our attention. With your help, we can ensure the ongoing supply and high quality of our water for future generations of DuPage residents.

DuPage County Water Division

DuPage County's Water Division owns and operates six water systems within unincorporated areas including:

Southeast Regional Water System, in Darien

Greene Road/Hobson Valley Water System, in Woodridge

Steeple Run Water System, in Lisle

Glen Ellyn Heights Water System, in Glen Ellyn

North Regional Water Facility, in Itasca

York Township Water System, in Lombard

For unincorporated DuPage County communities we may be able to assist you with providing a safe drinking water supply based upon your location, nearby water sources, raw water characteristics and the availability of capital funding. Please contact our Regulatory Manager to discuss the possibilities of setting up a Special Service Area at 630-407-6679.

DuPage County Private Well Water Testing

The Health Department offers private well water testing for a $37 fee, which includes testing for total coliform bacteria and nitrate screening.

Residents may stop at any of the Health Department Public Health Centers in Addison, Lombard, Westmont or Wheaton to pick up well water testing supplies and instructions, as well as drop off their samples.

Kane - DuPage Soil & Water Conservation

This program makes nitrate, metal and volatile organic chemical testing more cost effective because sample are sent simultaneously to be tested. Tests kits are purchased during a two week period. The water samples are taken on a designated date and returned to the District. Samples are shipped to the lab as a group. Results are sent directly to participants and are confidential.

Will County Health Department and Community Health Center

The Environmental Laboratory safeguards the quality of private wells and septic systems. Testing water quality is crucial to maintaining public health in Will County.

We are here to help you find answers to your water quality questions. We want you to know about the quality of your water so you can make informed decisions about its impact on you and the environment in which we live. Why do we test water? A large number of human diseases, particularly those of the gastrointestinal tract are spread through contaminated water.

Cook County Department of Public Health

CCDPH’s Environmental Health Services (EHS) Unit assists residents and businesses throughout suburban Cook County by providing regulatory oversight, plan reviews and inspections for private sewage disposal systems (septics), water wells, closed loop (geothermal) wells, and non-community public water supplies. We also answer concerns about drinking water and offer recommendations to promote safe water supplies. Below are highlights of our water and private sewage disposal program activities.

The EH Safe Drinking Water Program assures safe, proper construction of water wells. New construction is inspected and test to ensure bacteria-free, low-nitrate water at private homes. Non-Community Public Water Supplies, such as churches, schools and even food facilities that are on a private well are sampled yearly and surveyed biannually, per IPDH regulations. For more information on NCPWS

CDC Water Quality Testing

The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world. If you are among the 286 million Americans that get their water from a community water system (1), your tap water is regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Drinking water varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives, but it must meet EPA regulations.

Even though our tap water supplies are considered to be one of the safest in the world, water contamination can still occur. There are many sources of contamination, including:

Sewage releases

Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)

Local land use practices (for example, fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated feeding operations)

Manufacturing processes (for example, heavy metals, cyanide)

Malfunctioning on-site wastewater treatment systems (for example, septic systems)

In addition, drinking water that is not properly treated or which travels through an improperly maintained distribution system (for example, the piping system) may also create an environment for contamination.

Consumer Confidence Reports

Every community water supplier must provide an annual report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report, or “CCR,” to its customers. The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water.

View the CDC’s guide to Understanding Consumer Confidence Reports

See if your CCR is posted online (United States Environmental Protection Agency Local Drinking Water Information)

EPA Drinking Water Contaminants - Standards & Regulations

EPA identifies contaminants to regulate in drinking water to protect public health. The Agency sets regulatory limits for the amounts of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. These contaminant standards are required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). EPA works with states, tribes, and many other partners to implement these SDWA provisions.

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