Glossary

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El Nino

A warm ocean current which originates near the equator in South America and causes weather impacts throughout South and North America.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a mission to protect human health and the environment.  They set standards and guidelines for public drinking water based on specific contaminants. For more information visit their website.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The EWG, or Environmental Working Group, is a well-known and respected activist group who keeps a close eye on drinking water quality. They do not shy away from challenging the EPA when necessary, and work to keep the public informed about water and other environmental issues.

EPA Guideline

Unlike a standard or regulation, water entities are not required to comply with EPA guidelines. Often a precursor to official standards, the EPA sometimes sets guidelines for contaminants they need more data about. They also sometimes set guidelines for contaminants that are more difficult to regulate.

EPA Regulation

The EPA regulates drinking water by setting standards, or regulations, for water quality. The terms “standard” and “regulation” are used interchangeably by the EPA, although regulation tends to be used more often when it comes to contaminants which the EPA tests for.

EPA Standard

The Safe Water Drinking Act, enacted in 1974 authorized the EPA to set national standards for drinking water. An EPA standard sets limits for the amount of specific contaminants allowed in drinking water. States, localities and water suppliers carry out these standards.

Erin Brockovich

Portrayed by Julia Roberts in a popular movie, Erin Brockovich has become a household name in clean water advocacy. Despite having no formal legal education, she was a key player in building a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric Company for contaminating water in Hinkley, California.

Erosion

Wind and water are the biggest culprits when it comes to erosion. Over time these natural agents eat away at soil and rock on the Earth’s surface, transforming the landscape

Terms You Should Know

  • Raw Water

    When water is called “raw” it is untreated – simply meaning no removal of contaminants, bacteria, parasites, etc.  A common new trend in the US, drinking raw water... Raw Water

  • Algal Bloom

    When an algae population grows rapidly, causing the water to be discolored, it is called an algal bloom. Some algal blooms produce toxins, while non-toxic blooms can be just... Algal Bloom

  • NSF International

    NSF International is actually not an abbreviation, but a stand-alone term. While NSF used to stand for National Sanitation Foundation, it was officially changed to... NSF International

  • Point Of Use Filter

    A point of use, or POU, filter purifies water at the point where water is actually used. Whether at your kitchen faucet, a refrigerator dispenser, or your shower head, a... Point Of Use Filter

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