This is guaranteed to take the edge off your thirst: New Jersey had the fourth-highest number of drinking-water violations among all 50 states in 2015, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In fact, “Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections” reports that nearly 77 million people — roughly a quarter of the U.S. population — spread across all 50 states were served by water systems reporting violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.
Violations ranged from arsenic to nitrate contamination, and included often-serious failures to test or report contamination levels. The NRDC found nearly 80,000 violations impacting drinking-water systems in every state, but under-reporting and lax enforcement could mean the number of violations is much higher.
These federal drinking-water rules are intended to protect against about 100 contaminants, such as toxic chemicals, bacteria and metals like lead that can cause health impacts like cancer, birth defects, and cognitive impairments.
The top 12 states with drinking-water violations were Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Washington, Ohio, California, Arizona, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Maryland.