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Is Athens Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 7:47 pm, July 27, 2022

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Athens?

Yes, Athens's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Athens has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page or the city's water provider website.

According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Athens's water utility, Athens-Clarke Co Water System, had 1 health-based violations and 1 non-health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for Athens was resolved on Sept. 30, 2021. This assessment is based on the Athens-Clarke Co Water System water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.

While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.

The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.

Water Quality Report for Athens Tap Water

The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Athens tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.

Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.

EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.

We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Athens's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.

Athens Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years

Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Athens-Clarke Co Water System for Athens in Georgia. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.

From July 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2021, Athens had 1 health-based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Maximum Contaminant Level Violation, more specifically, the violation code was Maximum Contaminant Level Violation, Average which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: TTHM.

For the compliance period beginning July 1, 2021, Athens had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Other Violation, more specifically, the violation code was Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report which falls into the Other rule code group, and the Consumer Confidence Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Consumer Confidence Rule.

Is there Lead in Athens Water?

Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Athens water system, Athens-Clarke Co Water System, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.003 mg/L of lead in Athens water. This is 20.0% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Athens contained more lead.

While Athens water testing may have found 0.003 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.

No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.

Are there PFAS in Athens Tap Water?

Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be at least one military base - Winder Barrow County Airport (enclave) - near Athens with suspected leaks.

With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Athens has been evaluated for yet.

Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.

Athens SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years

Compliance Period Status Health-Based? Category Code Code Rule Code Contaminant Code Rule Group Code Rule Family Code
07/01/2021 - 09/30/2021 Resolved Yes Maximum Contaminant Level Violation (MCL) Maximum Contaminant Level Violation, Average (02) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220) TTHM (2950) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220)
07/01/2021 - Resolved No Other Violation (Other) Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report (71) Consumer Confidence Rule (420) Consumer Confidence Rule (7000) Other (400) Consumer Confidence Rule (420)

What do these Violations Mean?

Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.

Health Based Violations

  1. Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
  2. Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
  3. Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.

Non-Health Based Violations

  1. Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
  2. Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
  3. Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.

SDWA Table Key

Field Description
Compliance Period Dates of the compliance period.
Status Current status of the violation.
  • Resolved - The violation has at least one resolving enforcement action. In SDWIS, this indicates that either the system has returned to compliance from the violation, the rule that was violated was no longer applicable, or no further action was needed.
  • Archived - The violation is not Resolved, but is more than five years past its compliance period end date. In keeping with the Enforcement Response Policy, the violation no longer contributes to the public water system's overall compliance status. Unresolved violations are also marked as Archived when a system ceases operations (becomes inactive).
  • Addressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and is addressed by one or more formal enforcement actions.
  • Unaddressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and has not been addressed by formal enforcement.
show details
Health-Based? Whether the violation is health based.
Category Code
The category of violation that is reported.
  • TT - Treatment Technique Violation
  • MRDL - Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level
  • Other - Other Violation
  • MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level Violation
  • MR - Monitoring and Reporting
  • MON - Monitoring Violation
  • RPT - Reporting Violation
show details
Code A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.
Contaminant Code A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.
Rule Code Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rule
  • 121 - Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 122 - Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 123 - Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Ground Water Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 331 - Nitrates
  • 332 - Arsenic
  • 333 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 111 - Revised Total Coliform Rule
show details
Rule Group Code Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
  • 120 - Surface Water Treatment Rules
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Groundwater Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 330 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rules
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
show details
Rule Family Code Code for rule family.
  • 100 - Microbials
  • 200 - Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 300 - Chemicals
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
show details

For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.

Athens Water - Frequently Asked Questions

To contact customer service for the Athens water provider, Athens-Clarke Co Water System, please use the information below.
By Phone: 706-613-3289
By Email:
By Mail: 800 Water Works Drive
ATHENS, GA, 30601
Already have an account?

Existing customers can login to their Athens-Clarke Co Water System account to pay their Athens water bill by clicking here.

Want to create a new account?

If you want to pay your Athens-Clarke Co Water System bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Athens water bill.

Want to pay without an account?

If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Athens water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.

Starting Your Service

Moving to a new house or apartment in Athens means you will often need to put the water in your name with Athens-Clarke Co Water System. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.

Start Service Form

Want to create a new account?

Leaving your house or apartment in Athens means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Athens-Clarke Co Water System. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.

Stop Service Form

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.59 in USD (1.5-liter)


Athens tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 10% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 25% Low
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 90% Very High
  • Water Quality 75% High

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Athens, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Related FAQS

Athens Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report)

The EPA mandates that towns and cities consistently monitor and test their tap water. They must report their findings in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Below is the most recent water quality report from Athens's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.


WATER SYSTEM # 0590000



YOUR WATER IS SAFE as treated and delivered by Athens-Clarke County. It meets or surpasses all state and federal standards for safe drinking water.

Working to protect our water sources

North Oconee


In order to protect public drinking water supplies at the source – our rivers, lakes and streams – the State of Georgia established a Source Water

Bear Creek Reservoir


Assessment Program. As part of this program, Athens-Clarke County and the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission completed a Source Water





Oconee River

Your drinking water comes from three sources: the Bear Creek Reservoir, the North Oconee

River, and the Middle Oconee River. Before it

ever reaches the faucet, your water travels through a carefully monitored, reliable treatment process.

Assessment of the Middle Oconee and North Oconee rivers. Both rivers have been ranked with a medium level of pollution susceptibility. Based on the results of the Source Water Assessment, the county developed a Watershed Protection Plan for safeguarding our water resources. Copies of the report and plan are available at the Public Utilities Department Administration Office, 124 East Hancock Avenue in downtown Athens.



money-saving, water efficient showerheads, faucet aerators, toilet flappers and tablets, and spray nozzles given out in 2019–2020


An average of

50 films

submitted for promotion of WATER CONSERVATION since event began in 2013 – winning films shown on FaceBook and YouTube

189 ARTIST-CREATED RAIN BARRELS auctioned off at the Roll Out the Barrels event since it began in May 2011


estimated gallons of water saved annually with the February WaterSense SHOWERHEAD GIVEAWAY

An average of

1,000 ATHENS



attendees to the annual


Visit for upcoming events and workshops.


This chart shows the findings of Athens-Clarke County’s Public Utilities Department (ACC PUD) water testing after treatment and how they compare to national standards. ALL RESULTS MEET OR EXCEED EPA STANDARDS. Contaminants are measured in:

  • parts per million (ppm) – the equivalent of one drop of water in 42 gallons
  • parts per billion (ppb) – the equivalent of one drop of water in 14,000 gallons

Better than




Typical Source




Maximum Level

Detected Level

EPA Standard







(what we found)


















AL (ACTION LEVEL) The concentration of a contaminant, which if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.






Sustained Excellence Award, PUD Water Conservation Office



Comprehensive Education Program of Excellence in Water & Wastewater

Platinum Award, North Oconee Water

Reclamation Facility (10th)

Have questions about your drinking water quality?



Pure water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. However, all drinking water comes from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or wells. These sources are never purely hydrogen and oxygen. As water travels over land or through the ground, it dissolves natural minerals, and is subject to potential “contamination” by a variety of naturally occurring and man-made substances.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general public. Immuno-compromised individuals, such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders,











Haloacetic Acids



Corrosion of

household plumbing systems

Corrosion of

household plumbing systems

Water additive that promotes strong teeth

Runoff from fertilizer use

By-product of drinking water chlorination

Soil runoff

Corrosion of

household plumbing systems

Water additive for disinfection

  1. ppm

0.00 ppb

  1. ppm

10.00 ppm

0.00 ppb

0.00 NTU

0.00 ppb

4.00 ppm (MRDLG)

AL 1.30 ppm


0.052 ppm



0.00 over AL




AL 15.00 ppb


1.07 ppb


0.00 over AL








Max 1.09 ppm

4.00 ppm


Average 0.71 ppm



(actual range



0.41–1.09 ppm)




10.00 ppm


0.92 ppm




80.00 ppb


65.85 ppb**

(annual average)


Range ND–83.30 ppb




TT = 1.00 NTU


0.36 (highest single





TT = 95% of


99.69% 0.3 NTU

samples ≤ 0.30 NTU




60.00 ppb


35.00 ppb**

(annual average)


Range ND–39.00 ppb

4.00 ppm


Max 2.00 ppm



Average 0.80 ppm

contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

MCL (MAXIMUM CONTAMINANT LEVEL) The highest level of a

contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.


The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.


drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contamination.




Platinum Award, Cedar Creek Water

Reclamation Facility (10th)

Platinum Award, Middle Oconee Water

Reclamation Facility (8th)

Platinum Award, JG Beacham Drinking

Water Treatment Plant (13th)

2021 Water Reclamation Facility

of the Year, Cedar Creek Water

Reclamation Facility

J.G. Beacham Water Treatment Plant

13 years with

0 violations

some elderly people, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

To ensure that our tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Water Test Results at left detail the EPA’s ideal goal and highest level allowed.

EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available by contacting the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).


Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk.

More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with private service lines and home plumbing. ACC PUD is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for

30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested.

Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to

Better than








Maximum Level


Range of


Annual Average

EPA Standard










































Total Organic









present in the




















  1. measurement of the clarity of the water.
  1. (TREATMENT TECHNIQUE) A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

minimize exposure is available from the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or at


With the use of filtration, UV treatment, and disinfection, our treatment process consistently removes viruses before delivering water to you.

*EPA regulations require testing every three years; latest testing done in 2018. **Annual locational average.

All ACC PUD records are available to the public.

This report contains important information on the quality of your drinking water, as required by the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Mayor and Commission review and approve all major water and wastewater projects at City Hall meetings. These are open for public comment and televised on Facebook, Youtube, and ACTV Cable Channel 180. Find pdfs of ACC PUD water quality reports at

Would you like more information on water quality?

Contact Laurel Loftin at 706-613-3729, email, or visit

¿Habla espanol? Este Informe

contiene información muy importante sobre su agua beber. Tradúzcalo ó hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.

Find the faucet icon hidden in this water quality report and enter to win a bucket of water gifts! Tell us at Entries are accepted until July 31, 2021.

124 East Hancock Ave.

Athens, Georgia 30601

Water Bill Questions




Water Conservation


To Report a Water Leak


Emergencies 706-613-3481

Printed locally on recycled paper.

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage


Permit No. 135

Athens, GA


Athens - Clarke County Water System

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Utility details

  • Serves: 120266
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Surface water
  • Total: 17

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Chloroform
  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Dichloroacetic acid
  • Nitrate and nitrite
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Trichloroacetic acid

Other Detected Contaminants

  • 1%2C4-Dioxane
  • Chlorate
  • Chromium (total)
  • Dibromoacetic acid
  • Fluoride
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Monochloroacetic acid
  • Strontium
  • Vanadium


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

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