Daily life is regulated at all levels of government. Neilson Research Corporation maintains a close watch on evolving environmental law to help our clients navigate the ever-changing maze that is government regulation. Our knowledgeable staff will work to simplify your compliance issues, provide correct documentation, and handle all your required water monitoring.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA was established in 1970 and leads the nation’s environmental science research, education and assessment efforts. The EPA works to develop and enforce the regulations that implement environmental laws enacted by Congress. The EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs, and delegates to states and tribes the responsibility for issuing permits and for monitoring and enforcing compliance. Where national standards are not met, the EPA can issue sanctions and take other steps to assist the states and tribes in reaching the desired levels of environmental quality.

The mission of The United States Environmental Protection Agency drinking water program is to protect public health by ensuring the safety of public water supplies. Federal authority is limited to “public water supplies,” meaning water sources that supply 25 or more people per day for at least 60 days in a year, or have 15 or more service connections. The EPA currently administers six major environmental programs that relate to water quality protection:

States have the primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of public water supplies within their borders. EPA Regional Offices work with States to ensure they are operating an acceptable drinking water program. The EPA currently administers six major environmental statues that relate to water quality protection.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) sets maximum levels of contaminants in drinking water, regulates underground injections wells, oversees the Wellhead Protection program, designates Sole Source Aquifers, and supports state programs to protect public water. To read more, visit

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes to prevent contaminants from leaching into ground water from municipal landfills, underground storage tanks, surface storage areas, and hazardous waste disposal facilities. Learn more about RCRA on our “Environmental and Industry Consultants” pages.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) authorizes the EPA to clean up contamination caused by chemical spills or hazardous waste sites that pose threats to the environment. CERCLA also authorizes citizens to sue violators and to establish “community right-to-know” programs.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizes the EPA to control the use of pesticides that can contaminate ground water.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) regulates pollutant discharges from point sources, requires development of surface water quality criteria, provides funding for construction of sewage treatment plants, and authorizes states to develop ground water protection strategies. For more information, see our page “Clean Water Act” under “Wastewater Treatment Facilities.”

Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). EPA Regional Offices also track state public water inventory and compliance data with SDWIS. Information about SDWIS is available at EPA’s Envirofacts Data Warehouse: www.epa.gov/enviro/

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service works with local Conservation Districts to protect ground water by:

Providing site information and planning assistance for Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Administering the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) which provides financial assistance for BMPs.

Maintaining soil surveys that rank groundwater contamination vulnerability by county.

Providing technical assistance for State Pesticide Management Plans.

For more information about the USDA’s role in water quality protection, see the Department of Agriculture Water and Environmental homepage at: www.usda.gov/rus/water/index.htm

United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Beginning in 1938, the FDA has regulated bottled water as a food product under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Like all food products (except meat and poultry, which are regulated by the USDA,) bottled water is highly regulated and subject to the FDA’s extensive food safety and labeling requirements. Additionally, bottled water suppliers must comply with state requirements such as inspections, sampling, and analysis, and laboratory certification. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) was founded in 1958 and is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled water. To learn more about bottled water products, see IBWA website at www.bottledwater.org.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth. The USGS mission to provide “Earth Science in the Public Service” includes ground water quality activities such as investigating contamination problems and providing information to the public concerning aquifers, water availability, and use. As the largest civilian mapping agency, the USGS provides detailed maps, databases, and analysis of natural resources. Visit the USGS website at www.usgs.gov.

Click here for Oregon State Agencies.

Click here for Drinking Water Links for each of the 50 states.