The EPA classifies public water systems as any that provides at least 15 service connections or serves 25 people on average for at least 60 days in a year. The U.S. contains more than 148,000 public water systems, serving families that consume 300 gallons per day on average. Municipal water suppliers also handle commercial demand.
Community water treatment systems follow a few steps to meet the needs of their residents and businesses, including:
- Finding supply: Municipal water systems draw water from nearby freshwater sources such as lakes, rivers or streams. The city’s infrastructure treats the water to remove harmful bacteria and, in some cases, add nutrients. The city will send its water through a network of pipes that connect with buildings.
- Filtering sewage: Each building receiving city water also has sewage pipes that flow into an underground network. These pipes carry wastewater to the community’s treatment facility.
- Treating water: Water treatment involves various steps to remove particles and bacteria, add chemicals and release the wastewater into the environment. The most sustainable city water systems can recycle through an on-site reclamation system.