Is Lake Champlain a safe
drinking water source?
Many communities around Lake Champlain use the Lake as a source of drinking water. Overall, Lake Champlain can be an excellent drinking water source with appropriate treatment measures in place.
Roughly 20 million gallons of water are pumped from the Lake each day to supply drinking water to about 145,000 people (or about 20% of the Basin’s population). Almost all of these people obtain their water from the 100 public water suppliers that are monitored and regulated by the states of New York and Vermont and the Province of Québec. About 35 large systems are community or publicly owned water supplies; the remaining public-private supplies include motels, trailer parks, restaurants, and other businesses. Although some shoreline residences and seasonal dwellings still draw untreated drinking water directly from the Lake, this approach to water supply is not recommended.
The US Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires public water systems to monitor 84 potential contaminants in drinking water. Vermont has 73 water supply systems, New York has 26, and Québec has one in the Lake Champlain watershed. The City of Burlington, Vermont and the Champlain Water District, which serves many cities and towns within Chittenden County, Vermont, are among the largest water suppliers in the Basin.
Most of the Plattsburgh, New York area uses ground water for drinking water, and relies on a reservoir outside the city. The US EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Information System contains information about public water systems around the country and also lists violations of EPA’s drinking water regulations.