Water Quality

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include: rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or can result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
  •   Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and which can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

Federal Regulations


In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

Agawam is required to collect a minimum of 30 water samples each month from locations throughout Town and tests these samples for coliform bacteria.