Drinking Water Sources

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The sources of drinking water nationwide include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.  Drinking water (including bottled water) may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some substances. The presence of dissolved minerals does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. The City of Oklahoma City treats and filters all water from reservoirs to remove any possible harmful contaminants according to State and Federal standards.

Contaminants that may be present in raw – or untreated – water include microbes (viruses and bacteria), inorganics (salts and metals), pesticides and herbicides (from various sources, including agriculture, storm water runoff and residential uses), and radioactive materials that are naturally occurring.

The Environmental Protection Agency limits the amount of contaminants in water provided by public systems to ensure tap water is safe to drink. The Food and Drug Administration regulations limit contaminants in bottled water in order to provide the same public health protection.

Some contaminants may cause color, taste or odor problems in water but are not necessarily causes for health concerns. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or at www.epa.gov/safewater.

Lead: If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.  Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing.  The City of Oklahoma City is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components.  When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.  If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested.  Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.