January/February 2019 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 81, Number 6)
Editor's Note: NEHA strives to provide up-to-date and relevant information on environmental health and to build partnerships in the profession. In pursuit of these goals, we feature a column on environmental health services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in every issue of the Journal.
In these columns, authors from CDC's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, as well as guest authors, will share insights and information about environmental health programs, trends, issues, and resources. The conclusions of these columns are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CDC.
Safe Water for Community Health Update
Shannon McClenahan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brian Hubbard, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The contamination of drinking water in private wells, especially near former military and industrial sites, has become an issue of increasing concern to the public. Even as the media highlights these examples of contamination, some 34 million Americas rely on well water possibly affected by common hazards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act does not cover private wells. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Safe Water for Community Health (Safe WATCH) program addresses private wells and other federally unregulated drinking water sources and systems by strengthening state and local safe drinking water programs.
Since 2015, Safe WATCH has funded 14 state and 5 county health departments to use the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Service to improve services for community residents relying on federally unregulated drinking water. This month’s column highlights several grantees who increased sampling, quantified risk, enhanced and enforced policies, and developed and improved educational and outreach programs.