More than half of Americans say they have concerns about the quality of their water as more people become educated about specific contaminants and take action in their homes.

Those are two findings from an independent survey recently released at WQA Aquatech USA.

The random sample survey, conducted by Applied Research-West Inc., offers a look into Americans’ evolving attitude about their water, especially when compared to previous polls.

“We are seeing people become more educated about water issues and finding ways to ensure water quality for their families,” says Peter Censky, executive director of the Water Quality Association, a not-for-profit trade organization that commissioned the survey.

Among the major findings:
  • A quarter of consumers are “extremely concerned” about the quality of their water supply, and only 45 percent say they are confident their water source poses no health risk.
  • A majority of consumers now are willing to pay more for the elimination of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals. In previous surveys, less than 50 percent expressed this opinion.
  • Nearly a quarter of consumers say they have primary responsibility in their home for quality water, up from 20 percent in 2008.
The survey showed that 39 percent of respondents stated that they believed federal drinking water-quality laws are “fair.”

About one-fifth (19%) of respondents were exposed to “boil water alerts.” This prompted them to purchase a water filtration device. Typically, a water filter pitcher or end-of-tap device was purchased. More than half of those exposed to boil water alerts purchased home filtration devices afterward, higher than the 38 percent who said they did so in 2008.

Americans seem to increasingly believe that responsibility for safe drinking water is a public/private partnership.

Regarding overall quality, specifically 49 percent of respondents indicate that they are concerned or very concerned about their household water supply. Further, 54 percent are concerned about health contaminants in tap water. And 42 percent of respondents stated that drinking water is not as safe as it should be.