So Exactly Where Are Community Water Systems Located?

Authors: Ashley Kim*, Vanderbilt University, Aakash Manapat, Vanderbilt University, Mariah D. Caballero, Vanderbilt University, Dmitry Semenov, Vanderbilt University, Yolanda J. McDonald, Vanderbilt University
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: community water systems, geospatial analysis, boundary digitization
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 44
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 was established to ensure a potable public water supply throughout the US. The Act includes specific monitoring and reporting guidelines for 88 contaminants that public water systems must adhere to. The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains the Safe Drinking Water Information System database, which includes violations (i.e. does not meet regulatory standards) by contaminant and system-level. The most granular level of research that can be conducted using this database or any other publicly available source of drinking water is at the county-level. This is problematic as a county may have more than one water system and county-level analysis may mask drinking water issues at a more granular scale. The purpose of this research is to construct a state-wide geospatial repository of the spatial coverage of community water systems in Tennessee; a proof-of-concept project. Through a collaborative effort with government agencies, utility representatives, and academic institutions, maps (e.g. paper, pdf) have been digitized and several techniques utilized to construct polygons to represent spatial coverage of a water system. The intent is to provide a methodology to construct service areas that can be applied across all states and link to water quality, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic data. Geospatial service boundary areas of community water systems will allow a more granular level of analysis to be conducted of drinking water contaminants and associated potential health outcomes with the potential of identifying potential patterns of environmental injustice.

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