UW-Madison Libraries Wisconsin's Water Library
Drinking Water Quality
Recommended Reading List

When we turn on our faucets, we expect clean and safe drinking water. The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world. However, national statistics don't tell you specifically about the quality and safety of the water coming out of your tap. That's because drinking water quality varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives. To help consumers and scientists know more about drinking water, here is a small list of resources to get you started learning about water in your community. For more information, please also visit our list of Web sites to get you started surfing the web for information on drinking water.

Call No. 130476
Arsenic in Drinking Water Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press1999.
Also available on the web
National Academy Press publication informs us about the potential presence of arsenic in our drinking water and reviews EPA's assessment of human health risks from ingesting arsenic.

Call No. 130487
The Drinking Water Handbook / By Frank R. Spellman and Joanne Drinan. Lancaster, Penn.: Technomic Publishing Co.2000.
The Drinking Water Handbook is a readable explanation of the processes used to make water safe to drink. It also clarifies the laws that set water quality standards and explains what is being done to mitigate growing concerns about disinfection by-products.

Call No. 130489
Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press1999.
Another National Academy Press publication, this one contains information about the risks posed by radon in public drinking water.

Call No. 130504
Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press2001.
Also available on the web
The EPA asked the National Research Council to evaluate data newer than that in the 1999 National Research Council report above. The subcommittee's findings in this report are consistent with those of the 1999 report that found high risks of cancer at the previous federal standard of 50 parts per billion.

Call No. 130523
Plain Talk About Drinking Water / By James M. Symons. Denver, Colo.: American Water Works Association2001.
Are you wondering how water quality is protected on airplanes or how long you can store water? Author James M. Symons answers 60 of the most commonly asked questions about drinking water.

Call No. 130524
The Drinking Water Book: A Complete Guide to Safe Drinking Water / By Colin Ingram. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press1991.
Once you know what's in your drinking water, you can take measures to protect your health. Ingram describes the least expensive and best ways to have your water tested and evaluates different kinds of filters and bottled water.

Call No. 130526
The Water We Drink: Water Quality and Its Effects on Health / By Joshua I. Barzilay, Winkler G. Weinberg, and J. William Edey. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press1999.
Two medical doctors specializing in endocrinology and infectious diseases provide practical information on the health issues relating to water quality and suggest ways to improve the quality and safety of our drinking water.

Call No. 130527
A Consumer’s Guide to Drinking Water: Where It Comes From, How It’s Made Safe and What to Do If Something Goes Wrong / By Mark Obmascik. Denver, Colo.: American Water Works Association2001.
An easy-to-read guide to where your water comes from, what happens to it before it reaches your faucet, and what you can do to protect it from harmful contaminants.

Call No. 130564
The Environmental Science of Drinking Water / By Patrick J. Sullivan, Franklin J. Agardy, and James J. J. Clark. Burlington, Mass.: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann2005.
Environmental Science of Drinking Water demonstrates why we need to make a fundamental change in our approach toward protecting our drinking water. Factual and circumstantial evidence showing the failure of current drinking water standards to adequately protect human health is presented along with analysis of the extent of pollution in our water resources and drinking water.

Call No. 130580
Bottlemania : how water went on sale and why we bought it / By Elizabeth Royte. New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan2008.
An incisive, intrepid, and habit-changing narrative investigation into the commercialization of our most basic human need: drinking water. Only now, with the water industry trading in the billions of dollars, have we begun to question what it is we’re drinking and why. 1st U.S. ed.

Call No. 130595
The drinking water handbook / By Frank R. Spellman and Joanne Drinan. Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press2012.
The second edition of an industry-wide bestseller, The Drinking Water Handbook explains the many processes employed to make water safe to drink. Starting at the source, it evaluates the quality control of drinking water through treatment and distribution to the tap, and its use and reuse by the consumer.

Call No. 130596
Drinking water : a history / By James Salzman. New York : Overlook Duckworth2012.
Duke professor James Salzman shows how drinking water highlights the most pressing issues of our time--from globalization and social justice to terrorism and climate change--and how humans have been wrestling with these problems for centuries.

Call No. 201524
The Clean Water Act: 20 Years Later / By Robert W. Adler, Jessica C. Landman, and Diane M. Cameron. Washington, D.C.: Island Press1993.
Written in 1993 but still useful, the authors present an understandable assessment of the successes and failures of the Clean Water Act over the previous 20 years.

Some suggested Web sites for more information:

AWWA Drinking Water Information for Consumers
American Water Works Association provides this easy-to-understand information on drinking water. Includes numerous fact sheets, conservation tips, history, and children's resources.

US EPA Groundwater and Drinking Water
Everything you want to know about drinking water whether from a public water system, a private well or a bottle. Read the online publication, "Drinking Water and Health: What You Need to Know," find out about your local drinking water, and check out drinking water information for kids.

Wisconsin DNR Drinking Water and Groundwater
News, programs, data, online publications, Administrative Codes and more related to Wisconsin drinking water and groundwater supplies.

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