Water Quality Assurance
Programs that establish minimum standards for surface and ground water quality and develop and enforce regulations to prevent or reduce water pollution and assure a reliable supply of healthy drinking water and water that is suitable for other purposes. Water quality assurance programs issue permits specifying the types and amounts of pollutants that may be discharged without violating water quality standards; identify and monitor land uses and activities such as manufacturing or farming that are potential sources of pollution; test, record and report on the quality of water in lakes, rivers, streams, underground aquifers and water supply wells upon which public water systems rely; monitor water treatment and distribution systems; issue warnings and investigate hazards related to contamination; and, when warranted, initiate litigation against individuals and organizations who have failed to comply with water pollution control regulations. These programs may also provide support for the development and oversight of wastewater treatment facilities and certify operators of those facilities. Water quality is generally defined in terms of its designated use, e.g., for drinking, swimming, farming, fish production or industrial processes.