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Where Does Tap Water Come From?

Most people don't give much thought to where tap water comes from. We just turn on our kitchen faucet and the water magically appears.


But for those who want a better understanding of the origins of tap water - read on!


Your drinking water actually comes from natural sources that are either groundwater or surface water.


About 20% of the world’s fresh water supply comes from groundwater. Groundwater comes from rain and snow that seeps into the ground. The water gets stored in open spaces and pores or in layers of sand and gravel known as aquifers. We use water wells or springs to harvest this groundwater.


Surface Water also comes from rain and snow. It is the water that fills the rivers, lakes, and streams. Most surface water is not drinkable without treatment.


Water is pumped, both from groundwater or surface water sources into pipes or tanks at water treatment facilities. Water treatment involves the removal of impurities that make water unsafe for human consumption.


A public municipal water treatment system treats cities and towns and is managed by an elected official. A private water treatment system may treat a household or a small group of homes. No matter the water treatment system, the water quality standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be followed for a water supply that serves more than 25 people.

Chemicals and physical processes are used to filter and disinfect harmful microorganisms. While water treatment systems filter out many different impurities, they don’t necessarily filter out impurities that cause water problems such as bitter taste, foul odor, or mineral deposits.


After treatment, the pipes eventually lead to our homes, schools, businesses, and any place where you can turn on the tap and drink water.

By, Ryan Sinderbrand

Resources: https://extension.psu.edu/the-water-we-drink#:~:text=Your%20drinking%20water%20comes%20from,that%20seeps%20into%20the%20ground.&text=It%20is%20the%20water%20that,sources%2C%20into%20pipes%20or%20tanks.

https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/information-about-public-water-systems