Purdue Extension Water Quality Home

Drinking Water and Human Health

Safe drinking water is paramount to human health, and Purdue Extension provides in-depth information concerning drinking water for individuals, farms, and communities.

Everyone needs safe water to drink, and people often have questions regarding the quality of water from their well or public utility. Therefore, Purdue has built an extensive web site, Safe Water for the Future, that provides answers and information on many drinking water topics.

Drinking Water Protection and Risk Assessment

Private well owners will benefit from completing the Home*A*Syst risk assessment, and if you live on a farm the Farmstead Assessment program for Drinking Water Protection offers a series of risk assessment worksheets and factsheets with recommendations to minimize the risk of contamination to well water.

Drinking water testing and treatment
For water testing, what to do about a contaminated well, and other frequently asked questions, the Drinking Water Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page will help you find answers and resources.

Community Water Supply
Community water supply systems using ground water are required to have a wellhead protection plan in place. The Wellhead Protection web pages provide detailed information on the planning process (which occurred during 1999 – 2003), and what you and your community can do to educate others about protecting community water supplies.

For communities that use surface water such as a reservoir, lake, or river for their drinking water supply, the risk of contaminated water due to surface runoff is an ongoing threat. To help communities start developing watershed protection plans, we have developed maps of all Indiana public water supply watersheds (except those that use Lake Michigan or the Ohio River), and provide estimates of watershed characteristics such as land use.

The Pesticide Watershed Work Group is a multi-agency team focusing on reducing atrazine contamination of source water.

Waste Water and Septic Systems
Effectively treating human wastewater is a top human health issue. For people who are not serviced by a public sewer utility, knowing how to effectively manage a septic system or other approved alternative treatment system is important for family and community health. Purdue provides clear recommendations and information for residential on-site wastewater treatment.

Recreation and Water Quality
Water-based recreation including fishing, swimming, and boating, is an important use of Indiana lakes and streams. However, many water bodies do no support recreational uses due to E. coli contamination.

Fish Consumption
Contaminants such as PCBs and mercury are a concern for people eating fish from Indiana waters. The Angling Indiana web site provides up-to-date information on this issue.

Mosquitoes and Water Quality
The quality of water can have an effect on mosquito populations, and the presence of those mosquitoes carrying disease such as West Nile Virus. The disease carrying mosquitoes often are breeding in areas of still, shallow water contained in human-made items like tires, buckets, and rain-gutters. Read Purdue’s fact sheet, Management of Ponds, Wetlands, and Other Water Reservoirs to Minimize Mosquitoes, to better understand the connections between mosquitoes and water quality and what you can do.

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Drinking Water Quality Concerns
Bacterial Contamination of Household Water

Drinking Water Quality Reports: Your Right To Know

How and Why to Test Home Water Supplies

Lead in Drinking Water

Nitrate and Indiana’s Ground Water

Water Testing Laboratories

Drinking Water Treatment
Buying Home Water Treatment

Sulfur Water Control

Farm and Home Environment
Farmstead Assessment Packet

Home*A*Syst Guide

Water Conservation in the Home

Mercury Recycling Guide

On-site Wastewater
Operating and Maintaining the Home Septic System

Septic System Failure

Septic System Longevity

Small Community Wastewater Cluster Systems

Turfgrass Indicators of Performance

Distribution Boxes

Septic Tanks

Grandfathered Septic Systems

High Water Tables and Perimeter Drains

Gravel and Gravelless Trench Soil Absorption Fields

Wellhead Protection

Effective Wellhead Protection through Education

Management Options for Wellhead Protection

Drinking Water
Brent Ladd
Jane Frankenberger

On-site Wastewater
Brad Lee
Don Jones

Fish Consumption
Charles Santerre

Updated August 23, 2005
Purdue Extension

For questions regarding the content of this site contact Brent Ladd. For information on the Purdue Extension Water Quality Program contact
Jane Frankenberger, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University
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