The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is the primary authority in Colorado for enforcing the federal Safe Drinking Water Act by the EPA. As part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Department of Water Quality Control is responsible for implementing programs that support the Safe Drinking Water Act. The aim is to equip public water systems so that they can always provide the public with safe drinking water. These goals are achieved through enforcement of local laws, regulations, permits and regular inspections of public water systems.
Water Contamination Control
Many municipal drinking water systems rely on surface water for their water supply, such as sewage treatment plants, and municipal waterworks. Water authorities in Colorado are tasked with developing water quality plans for the local support unit that provides tools to reduce the risk of water supply contamination. Colorado uses four primary mechanisms to control water pollution, including discharge permits, control regulations, voluntary controls, and grants. Colorado has also introduced a rule requiring a Consumer Confidence Reporting System (CCS) for municipal drinking water.
The system is governed by Colorado's drinking water regulations, which are based upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act. Permits are issued by the state Department of Water Quality and are required and regulated by law to set limits on pollutants that are discharged into the environment in Colorado.
Colorado Drinking Water Concerns
According to the Colorado Division of Water Resources, sewage treatment plants, industrial plants and other wastewater treatment plants must monitor certain regulated substances. To manage this, Colorado's Water Quality Control Division proposes rules requiring sewage treatment plants and industrial plants to monitor specific chemicals. It has also established guidelines to limit them in future wastewater permits. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA can order utilities to test for substances on a watch list known as the Contaminant Candidate List.
In June 2020, Colorado proposed policies to help regulate poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” These chemicals are common ingredients in everything from jet fuel, nonstick pans to spray foam. PFAS have been linked to cancer and complications with pregnancy. Because federal efforts to regulate the chemicals have lagged, states have been left to take action on their own. In Colorado, the EPA has not named any of the PFAS substances as candidates for monitoring, meaning public water utilities are not required to monitor them.
Since 2012, Denver residents in some areas have experienced some increased levels of lead in their drinking water. This is mostly a result of outdated lead pipes. While Denver Water does supply lead-free water to households and businesses, water can pick up lead through outdated systems. In response, Denver Water will oversee the implementation of a 15-year plan intended to slowly and systematically replace the old service lines.
Colorado Water Regulation Resources
The Colorado Water Quality Control Division is dedicated to improving the water quality of public systems in the State of Colorado. To learn more about the policies that are enforced both at the Federal and State level, click on the resources below.
- Water Quality Control Commission regulations.
- Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board regulation.
- CDPHE regulations.
Alternatives to Public Drinking Water
If you’re interested in Colorado drinking water alternatives to tap water, you’re in luck. A natural spring water option located in Eldorado Springs, Colorado (just outside Boulder, Colorado) emanate from one of the most unique water sources in the world. This artesian spring creates a natural filter that continually produces pure, perfect spring water. Don’t worry about inconveniencing yourself with going to the grocery store and stocking up on bottles, Eldorado Natural Spring Water delivers the water to you each month like clockwork. Simply use the calculator to determine how much water you need each month, place your order and Eldorado takes care of the rest.