The U.S. has remarkable water systems—designed, built, and operated over nearly two centuries of technical, social, and economic advances. The infrastructure of these systems, however, are aging and deterioriating. Many urban distribution systems were designed and built in the first half of the last century with materials, such as lead, that either are now considered toxic or that threaten the quality of the drinking water that is delivered. In rural areas, small community drinking water systems were often built in a piecemeal fashion, growing sequentially without overall design or measure of potential capacity. Now those systems have undersized water sources, inadequate water treatment, and in many cases, insufficient trained system operators.
The provision of safe drinking water to our communities, urban or rural, is the obligation of environmental health professionals. As practitioners, our profession provides the expertise to find and develop adequate water sources, investigate and upgrade aging or poorly designed distribution systems, and mitigate the effects of unacceptable materials.
Read the President's Message in Full
Journal of Environmental Health
Volume 79, No. 4