Up to 77 million Americans were serviced in 2015 by unsafe drinking water systems, with 18 million people exposed to excessive levels of lead and copper, a new study found, adding that penalties for violations are “virtually nonexistent.” “The actual number of violations and systems breaking the law is likely substantially higher because of probable widespread underreporting,” the authors of the study by the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) say.

According to the research, entitled “Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections,” violations were reported in all 50 states in 2015, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The top five states with SDWA violations by population proved to be Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia. READ MORE