where does tap water come from

Do you know where your tap water comes from? Most people don’t think about it, but the truth is that there are many different sources of tap water, which can vary depending on your region and local environment. If you’re curious about the source and quality of the water in your home, here’s what you need to know.

Common Sources of Tap Water

The answer to this depends on the region and type of tap water. Generally, tap water is sourced from groundwater, rainwater, snowmelt, and other sources.


Groundwater is a fantastic source of tap water because it is natural, clean, and abundant in most areas. However, you shouldn’t necessarily drink or use unprocessed groundwater, as it may contain contaminants from the soil or other sources, such as pesticides and agricultural runoff.

Groundwater must be repurposed into drinking water by removing contaminants and minerals, making it safe for human consumption. This can take place at a municipal treatment plant, or, if you extract water from a private well, through a dedicated well filtration system.


Rainwater can also be used as a source of drinking water. Not only does it replenish groundwater levels in the earth, but it can be collected specifically for human use. Many people who are interested in sustainable living or lowering their utility bills repurpose rainwater for tasks from cleaning and bathing to flushing toilets.

But, like groundwater, rainwater needs to be filtered before consumption. As clean as the clouds above may seem, raindrops may contain contaminants picked up while falling through the atmosphere, such as bacteria or chemicals from nearby buildings, car exhaust, and more. The contaminants in our atmosphere are why some areas even experience the phenomenon of acid rain. So if you’re interested in harnessing rain as a water source, be sure to process it properly before use.


Snowmelt is another source of tap water, though usually not a major one. In many regions with snowfall, the buildup of snow and ice can act like a natural reservoir when the weather warms up and the snow melts. This source of water is particularly prevalent in mountainous areas, as the terrain provides natural barriers to hold in the snow and ice over time.

As with other sources of tap water, snowmelt will need to go through an extensive filtration process before becoming suitable for human consumption.

Other Sources

There are also other sources, such as seawater, recycled sewage, or industrial waste, which can sometimes be used as a source of drinking water. While this may sound impossible, the fact is that new technology has made it possible to make water which was once deemed unusable, safe to drink. As you can imagine, this is a very intricate process, and the end result is heavily regulated to ensure safety.

Tap Water Regulations

Tap water is regulated across the United States. Every state has its own regulations for the treatment and testing of tap water, ensuring that it meets standards for safe drinking.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets national standards for contaminants in drinking water, which are enforced by the states. The EPA also provides guidelines on acceptable levels of any known contaminants so that state governments have an objective guide for setting their local regulations.

Tap Water in Florida

In the state of Florida, tap water is regulated by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The FDEP ensures that drinking water in Florida meets standards set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act as well as state-specific requirements. All public water systems in the state must adhere to these standards and follow regular testing protocols.

In Florida, the main sources of tap water are surface water (such as rivers and lakes) and groundwater. However, this can sometimes pose problems. According to the EPA, “surface waters are highly vulnerable to contamination from stormwater runoff, agricultural runoff, leaking septic tanks and other sources,” which can introduce potentially harmful contaminants into drinking water supplies. Groundwater is usually cleaner and less likely to be contaminated; however, it, too, needs to be monitored closely for any potential pollutants that may have entered the system.

Florida also faces a few unique obstacles regarding its tap water sources. The main one is the presence of naturally occurring contaminants, such as arsenic and radium. These contaminants occur naturally in the state’s geological features and can enter water systems, requiring additional filtration processes to ensure safety. Another hurdle is the presence of strong storm systems and hurricanes, which can cause problems such as flooding, and in turn, introduce harmful bacteria into water supplies. Florida has even had to contend with dangerous algae blooms,  which can be toxic and cause serious health issues when ingested.

In order to ensure clean drinking water in Florida, all public systems must treat their tap water with filtration processes such as chlorination or ultraviolet light treatments before it is safe for human consumption.

Ensuring Clean Tap Water

Ideally, your tap water should arrive already safely filtered and ready to drink. But this isn’t always the case, and it is important to always be mindful of the dangers associated with using water straight from the faucet. Even water that has been treated at municipal facilities can still be carrying contaminants that were not detected or which have been introduced since the water left the plant — for example, from corroded or leaking pipes somewhere in your water lines.

That’s why the safest and most reliable way to ensure clean tap water is to utilize a whole-home filtration system. These systems are designed to remove pollutants that can be found in water, such as heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.

Get Cleaner Tap Water with The Science of Water

Worried about the tap water in your area? The Science of Water can provide tap water filtration solutions for any type of water source. As purveyors of whole-home water filtration systems, we understand what it takes to guarantee fresh, clean water that’s both safe and affordable.

Whether you are looking for a simple filter or an advanced filtration system, we have the tools and expertise to help make your tap water safe to drink. And with free water testing and recommendations, our team of experts can help you choose the best option for your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep your drinking water safe and clean!