Safe Drinking Water for the Next Generation: Ensuring Our Future A Summary of Drinking Water Protection Activities in Minnesota for 2000

Ensuring the safety of our drinking water is one of the most fundamental—and most critical—responsibilities of modern public health. In fact, safe drinking water has been a key ingredient in some of the greatest public health achievements of the last half-century, including the dramatic reductions in disease and improvements in longevity that we now tend to take for granted. Along with other basic public health measures like immunization, drinking water protection has played a crucial role in building a safer and healthier society. We need to remain vigilant if we are to protect those past gains. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is strongly committed to safeguarding the quality of our drinking water, and as part of that commitment, we routinely monitor all of our state's public water supply systems for a broad range of chemical, radiological, and biological contaminants. MDH believes that educating the public about water quality issues is an important element of drinking water protection. Since 1995, we have been releasing annual summary reports like this one to help us achieve that goal. Like previous reports in the series, this year's report covers test results and actions taken during the preceding calendar year. The main body of the report provides information about Minnesota's community water supply systems—that is, systems that provide people with drinking water in their places of residence. The section on Emerging Issues contains a number of topics that relate to the future, including an update on Source Water Protection activities, a key component in the mission to keep our water safe to drink. Standards set for drinking water are done with a strong margin of safety built in and are constantly being reviewed, a process that sometimes results in the revisions of certain standards. This section addresses a few of the standards that have been undergoing such revisions. These changes can sometimes pose financial challenges for public water suppliers. The Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF) helps water systems to upgrade their facilities to meet stricter standards or to replace aging infrastructure to ensure continued compliance with existing standards. A summary of recent DWRF activities is addressed in this section. Protecting our drinking water requires the involvement and awareness of everyone, not just those employed in the drinking water profession. To promote greater awareness and education, the Minnesota Department of Health has been involved in an educational initiative to get curriculum on drinking water into Minnesota classrooms through the establishment of Drinking Water Institutes for teachers. Information on these Institutes is in the Emerging Issues section beginning on page 12. We hope this information will provide the people of Minnesota with a clearer picture of what's being done to protect the quality of their drinking water, and what our monitoring efforts have revealed about the success of those efforts. We believe that the picture is a positive one, and we hope this report will build Minnesotans' confidence in the both the safety and the quality of their drinking water.
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Minnesota Department of Health (St. Paul, Minnesota)
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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