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Drinking Water

Pro­tect­ing and puri­fy­ing our community’s fresh drink­ing water is one of our most vital tasks. Whether we use water to quench our thirst, wash our clothes, or bathe, it remains our great­est resource and is strictly reg­u­lated through fed­eral and local guide­lines. So set down that bot­tled water and go to the tap with a reusable bot­tle for a refill.

The drink­ing water avail­able in your com­mu­nity is reg­u­lated by the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, while bot­tled water that is pur­chased is reg­u­lated by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion. Inter­est­ingly, the agen­cies do not fol­low the same guide­lines to reg­u­late the con­sump­tion of water. The EPA’s guide­lines for com­mu­nity water are far stricter than those used by the bot­tled water industry.

Reser­voirs and Drink­ing Water Supply

All of Howard County pub­lic water is pur­chased from Bal­ti­more City and the Wash­ing­ton Sub­ur­ban San­i­tary Com­mis­sion (WSSC) through a series of nego­ti­ated legal agree­ments. Under cur­rent agree­ments, aver­age daily capac­ity from Bal­ti­more City is 38.5 mil­lion gal­lons per day (mgd) and from WSSC is 3.0 mgd, for a total of 41.5 mgd. Cur­rent aver­age daily use in the County is 22.4 mgd.

The Bal­ti­more City Reser­voirs are a major drink­ing water sup­ply source for the Bal­ti­more region and the pri­mary source of water for the pub­lic water sup­ply sys­tem in Howard County.

Howard County works coop­er­a­tively with Mont­gomery and Prince George’s Coun­ties, Wash­ing­ton Sub­ur­ban San­i­tary Com­mis­sion, Maryland-National Cap­i­tal Park and Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, Howard Soil Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict, and Mont­gomery Soil Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict to pro­tect the nat­ural resources within the Patux­ent Reser­voirs water­shed, which sup­ply a smaller por­tion of our pub­lic drink­ing water system.

The major­ity of land in Howard County is pri­vately owned, so man­age­ment prac­tices at indi­vid­ual homes and busi­nesses are crit­i­cal to local water quality.

Howard County Bureau of Utilities

Howard County’s Bureau of Util­i­ties web­page pro­vides lots of infor­ma­tion about the water pro­grams they imple­ment such as water meters, the Lit­tle Patux­ent Water Recla­ma­tion Plant, Water Reuse, Sep­tics, and more. You can also find reports such as the annual water qual­ity report and water audits.

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.