Drinking Water

Protecting and purifying our community’s fresh drinking water is one of our most vital tasks. Water is one of our greatest resources and is strictly regulated through federal and local guidelines.

Drinking water is regulated by the U.S. EPA while bottled water that is purchased is regulated by the U.S. FDA. 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. So set down that bottled water and go to the tap with a reusable bottle for a refill.

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. The Baltimore City Reservoirs provide water for most of the public water supply system in Howard County. WSSC provides public water to the Laurel area.

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 works cooperatively with Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, WSSC, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Howard Soil Conservation District, and Montgomery Soil Conservation District to protect the land surrounding the Patuxent reservoir.

Howard County Bureau of Utilities

Howard County’s Bureau of Utilities webpage https://home/livegreenhoward/public_html/qddev.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Public-Works/Bureau-Of-Utilities provides lots of information about the water programs they implement such as water meters, the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant, Water Reuse, Shared Septics, and more. You can also find reports such as the annual water quality report and water audits.