The government imposes water quality standards because the health of people depends on it. To ensure clean water, the government often passes legislation preventing dumping sewage and pollutants into drinking water, and limiting or eliminating bathing, boating, or swimming in lakes that are reservoirs. The government can outlaw these things even if it is shown that they create no health risk. The government can also require additives, such as chlorine.
The federal government has enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act to regulate contaminants in drinking water supplied by public water systems. It establishes a program for protecting underground drinking water from contamination of fluids, and provides for chemicals and substances necessary to treat public drinking water when the supply chemicals is inadequate to meet the needs of a particular facility.
The water company has a duty to supply a community with water that is reasonably pure and wholesome because water is a prime necessity of life. The water company must take positive steps to ensure this. Public policy requires that water companies be held to a high degree of care in supplying adequate amounts of pure and wholesome water. For example, it is the company's responsibility to check if the water may be infected with disease and takes steps to prevent infection.
Pure and wholesome water means water that is clean and free from dirt, discoloration, and odor bacteria and any other contamination. The water must be fit for domestic use and not dangerous to individuals. Water must be free from sediment, sludge, refuse, and other materials that lower water quality. However, the water company does not have to make your water 100% chemically pure. Water need only be reasonably pure.
Contact the water company to try to determine the source of the problem. If the problem is a polluter, then public authorities and individual customers may bring an action in court for an injunction to get the polluter to stop. If the polluter refuses to stop, or the water company refuses to take any action, you can contact your local board of health or the Environmental Protection Agency and they may be able to stop the water company from distributing impure water.
Yes. Though the water company may be a public utility run by the government, water companies usually do not get governmental immunity. In addition to bringing suit for injunctive relief to stop further pollution, if you have suffered illness or injury because of the impure water, you may be entitled to bring suit for your personal damages.
An experienced environmental attorney can be extremely helpful in addressing any issues regarding water quality. A lawyer will be able to guide you in getting any available relief.
Last Modified: 06-25-2018 07:01 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.