This means that when more than 12 million people in Illinois turned
the tap for water for drinking, cooking or bathing, they received
drinking water that met all established health limits for state- and
"The Illinois EPA's goal is for
every public water supply system to provide water that is
consistently safe to drink," said Illinois EPA Interim Director John
Kim. "This report shows that we continue to make progress toward
The report, prepared as required by the federal Safe Drinking
Water Act, reflects a significant improvement in compliance since
1995, when publication of annual compliance reports was first
required from all states by U.S. EPA. The data show that 96.6
percent of those served by Illinois community water supplies in
calendar year 2011 received drinking water that met all health
In Illinois, water suppliers providing drinking water to
consumers are regulated either as community or non-community water
supplies, based chiefly on the number of users they serve.
Community water supplies are regulated by the Illinois EPA.
During 2011, there were 5,720 public water supplies in the state;
1,755 of them were defined as community water supplies under
Illinois EPA regulation. Illinois community water supplies serve
Non-community water supplies are regulated by the Illinois
Department of Public Health. These typically include campgrounds and
highway rest stops, as well as some day care centers, schools and
factories. Non-community water supplies serve 473,076 people.
U.S. EPA and the states evaluate compliance on the basis of both
acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health requirements; the
standards differ for the two categories. The latest Illinois EPA
figures show that 99.9 percent of the population was served by
community water supplies that met all acute standards, and 96.9
percent received water that was in compliance with chronic
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Standards for acute requirements are typically stricter than
chronic standards. For most contaminants, chronic (long-term)
standards are based on projected health risks from daily consumption
of large amounts (approximately two liters) of water on a daily
basis over an extended period of time, e.g., a 70-year lifetime.
In most cases, when contaminant levels exceed maximum allowable
limits, treatment is required to be installed in the shortest amount
of time, taking into consideration the health effects (acute vs.
chronic), cost and size of the project. When a potential health risk
is present, the public water system is required to promptly notify
All of the public water supplies that had violations during 2011
have either returned to compliance, entered into an enforceable
agreement and schedule to take whatever steps are needed to return
to compliance, or are in the formal enforcement process involving
the office of the Illinois attorney general or the U.S. EPA.
Enforcement cases involving the office of the Illinois attorney
general can result in monetary penalties as well as the water supply
being required to achieve compliance with the regulations.
Copies of the summary or complete annual water system compliance
reports can be obtained by contacting the Illinois EPA's Division of
Public Water Supplies, #13, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL
62794-9276; by calling 217-785-8653; or on the agency's website at
Environmental Protection Agency
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]