The Safe Drinking Water Act: A Blueprint for Protecting the Nation’s Drinking Water

Every day, over 160,000 municipal water systems provide safe, reliable drinking water to US consumers.  The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) protects the quality of US drinking water, to the great benefit of American public health.  This article provides a brief overview of this landmark legislation. The Safe Drinking Water Act applies to water systems


Providing Food and Water: The Great Balancing Act

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week announced it has awarded nearly $9 million in grants to four institutionsi to fund research to help protect the quality of the nation’s waters by managing nutrient pollution.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy characterized nutrient pollution as “one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems.” Inherent in


When Drinking Water Became Safer

A new monument in Patterson, New Jersey’s Cedar Lawn Cemetery marks the burial site of a pivotal figure in modern public health history.  It is a tribute to physician Dr. John L. Leal, who over a century ago took the first bold step of adding a chemical disinfectant to a municipal water supply.  Leal’s actions


Milwaukee, 1993: The Largest Documented Waterborne Disease Outbreak in US History

An Interview with Dr. Stephen Gradus, Ph.D., MT(ASCP), D(ABMM), City of Milwaukee Health Department. Waterborne disease outbreaks are relatively rare events in our time, but just over two decades ago, Milwaukee experienced the largest documented drinking water outbreak in US history. Caused by the chlorine-resistant parasite Cryptosporidium parvum,the outbreak affected over 400,000 people—25 percent of


Water Structures on the Horizon

Elevated water storage tanks and water towers are a familiar sight in communities around the world. Nearly every water supply system in North America has an elevated storage tank visible somewhere on the horizon. Water towers, once essential, are vestiges of the first water supply systems of major cities. Many water towers are preserved as


The Science of Snowflakes

This holiday season we wish you joy and warmth as we share with you the entertaining and educational video, The Science of Snowflakes by It’s Okay To Be Smart. A Video Treasure Shared by the Water Quality & Health Council


Home for the Holidays: Views of Earth from the International Space Station

As Perspectives readers gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, the Water Quality and Health Council highlights a stunning two-and-one-half minute video comprising images of our common home, planet Earth.  “All Alone in the Night – Time-lapse footage of the Earth as seen from the ISS” (International Space Station) was created by David


A Resource Bounty: Vast Water Supplies Discovered Under Earth’s Continental Shelves

The technological advances leading to the extraction of shale gas and shale oil are revolutionizing the world’s energy markets.  Now, the discovery of vast quantities of low-salinity water under Earth’s continental shelves is further evidence that occurrences of future natural resources are unpredictable, their limits bounded only by human innovation and discovery. In a report


Battling Biofilms in Aging Water Infrastructure

Microbes’ propensity to attach to both living and inanimate surfaces improves their likelihood of survival and proliferation.  They produce a sticky material that binds them together and anchors them to the surface forming dense, complex colonies of microorganisms known as biofilm.  Biofilms are very common in nature1, especially on water- and food-contact surfaces.  The interiors


In Memoriam: Jerod M. Loeb, PhD

Water Quality & Health Council member Jerod M. Loeb, PhD passed away on October 9, 2013 after a courageous battle with cancer. For 20 years, Dr. Loeb contributed his considerable expertise in health care quality and performance, risk assessment, risk communication and scientific ethics to the Council. He continued to work assiduously after his diagnosis