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Best Tap Water in the U.S.

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Introduction

In all corners of America, from Alaska's glacial rivers to Florida's tropical springs, the quality of tap water is a testament to the natural resources, infrastructure, and regulatory fortitude of each state. With over 50,000 community water systems in the U.S, the quality of tap water can drastically vary, making it an intricate part of our everyday lives and health. According to the most recent water quality violation data, there is a wide range in the commitment and success by states in maintaining compliance with federal water standards.

Our analysis relies on the water quality violations metric, which catalogues the instances when tap water quality fails to meet federal guidelines in a state. Fewer violations commonly indicate a more robust drinking water sector and cleaner tap water. Still, it's necessary to remember that these figures are statewide totals and might not reflect the specific conditions in individual cities or communities.

Key findings from our investigation into the data include: 

  • Hawaii shines as the U.S state with the best tap water, recording a mere two water quality violations. This is a remarkable achievement given the standard of federal water quality regulations.
  • The two subsequent top-performers are Nebraska and Delaware, with 121 and 131 violations respectively.
  • An alarming trend emerges as we analyze states at the other end of the spectrum. Texas (23,628 violations), Pennsylvania (21,527 violations) and West Virginia (8,490 violations), are struggling significantly with maintaining clean tap water.
  • Overall, a strong geographical trend doesn't leap out from the data, with top performers spread across the country, from the islands of Hawaii to the heartlands of Nebraska.

States with the Best Tap Water

The state with the the best tap water in the United States is none other than the tropical paradise, Hawaii. Boasting a remarkably low number of two water quality violations, Hawaii demonstrates exceptional commitment to maintaining pure and safe water sources.

Following in Hawaii's footsteps are several states where efforts to ensure clean tap water do not go unnoticed. Nebraska and Delaware, with 121 and 131 water quality violations respectively, take the second and third place. The fourth spot goes to Kentucky with 142 water quality violations, and South Carolina follows close with 196 violations. North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nevada, and Alabama complete the top ten, with water quality violations ranging from 199 to 376. These states, despite their geographic diversity, share a common success in providing relatively safe and clean tap water to their residents.

States with the Best Tap Water (Number of Violations):

  1. Hawaii - 2
  2. Nebraska - 121
  3. Delaware - 131
  4. Kentucky - 142
  5. South Carolina - 196
  6. North Dakota - 199
  7. Rhode Island - 243
  8. South Dakota - 303
  9. Nevada - 358
  10. Alabama - 376

By State

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology