Most tap water in the US is provided by municipal water companies, which are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The source of municipal water for Champaign County and much of East Central Illinois is groundwater in the Mahomet Aquifer. It is then processed by American Water of Illinois, whose Champaign plant, built in 2009, is one of 2 LEED certified water treatment facilities in the nation. Using a series of filtration systems, minerals and other particles are removed. Then, chlorine and fluoride are added (chlorine at rates of about 1 part per million) to kill harmful bacteria. The water goes through a charcoal filtration, and is then pumped out and distributed through a series of underground pipes to our homes and businesses.
The EPA requires public water providers to supply customers with annual water quality reports, outlining the quantities of various impurities and contaminants that make it into the supply. Two of the more common contaminants are lead and copper, both of which make up many of the pipes used to construct our water infrastructure. Additionally, other heavy metals, as well as chemical and animal waste runoffs from industrial agriculture, and pharmaceutical residues have contaminated municipal water supplies (not ours, specifically). Thus, many people use home filtration and distillation systems as one additional precautionary measure.
Municipal water is incredibly cheap, costing the average consumer somewhere around $0.01 per gallon. The water in Champaign County has repeatedly won awards for quality and taste. At least 25% of bottled water comes from municipal tap water supplies.
For more information
American Water quality reports available by location:
Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance website:
Drinking Water Standards and Regulations from EPA:
Water Trivia from EPA:
Am. Water Press Release re: LEED Certified Champaign Water Plant:
Article on Aging Water Infrastructure, Featuring Champaign Plant: