Introduce the activity:
Hold up a glass of dirty water and ask if anyone would
volunteer to drink it?
(It is recommended that you not
allow anyone to actually drink the water)
a) Ask: How can we be sure that the water we drink
from our tap is not this dirty?
Students should mention the role of government—ask
them to list specific government agencies that regulate
our water rather than just government in general.
Divide the class into two groups. Give one group the
is the Clean Water Act”? and
give the second group the article, “Understanding
the Safe Drinking Water Act”. Students will discuss
and record their findings to the following questions
in their groups:
is the problem that the act addresses?
are the goals of the act?
the responsibility of each of the following groups:
everyone in the class the article: “How Safe is
My Drinking Water”?
(copy pages 4-7 from http://www.epa.gov/safewater/wot/pdfs/book_waterontap_full.pdf)
Students will read the article on their own and then answer the
What type of water is protected by the Safe Drinking
Water Act? Bottled water, tap water?
b) What type of water is not protected by the Safe Drinking
See Chart: Reported Community Water Systems Violating
Maximum Containment Levels or Treatment Standards”.
What % of your state’s water systems
violates the maximum containment levels in 2002?
b) As a private citizen what can you do to ensure that
your state enforces Clean Water Standards set by the
What are some ways that your drinking water can become
1) Write three columns on the board: Federal, State, and Private Citizens.
Ask students to list the specific powers and duties each of the groups have in
regulating clean water standards in the United States. Students should draw on
their responses to the questions from the previous readings.
Discuss with the class: Why should the Federal government
have a say in setting the standards
for safe water in state and local communities?