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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Drinking Water

The Division of Water works to ensure public health protection through primacy of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the provision of potable water. Potable water is defined as finished water, after treatment, that is safe and satisfactory for drinking and cooking. Public water and water distribution systems in Kentucky are regulated by DOW. 

"Primacy" refers to primary enforcement responsibility awarded to the state by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1977. Learn more about Kentucky's primacy of SDWA.

Use the public access drinking water database to find information about water systems in Kentucky excluding bottled water and semipublic water systems. Questions regarding the drinking water database should be directed to Jerry Pike at 502-782-7039.

List of drinking water acronyms and their definitions


The water quality in private wells and cisterns used for drinking water is not regulated by the state or EPA. Learn more from EPA about private drinking water wells.

Contact your local health department to have well water tested. 

For more information on wells, including a directory of certified well drillers, visit the Division of Water groundwater management Web page.  


Public drinking water systems may be publicly or privately owned. System classification is based on the number of individuals served or the number of service connections. In general, a public water system serves at least 25 people or has 15 service connections for at least 60 days per year. Public water systems are further classified into community water systems or noncommunity water systems.

Public water system services include collection, treatment, storage and distribution facilities under control of the operator of the system and used primarily in connection with the system as well as collection and pretreatment storage facilities not under control of the operator of the water system but that are primarily used in connection with the water system [401 KAR 8:010, Section 1(102)].


As a condition of primacy, the state must adopt and administer state rules that are at least as stringent as federal requirements. If the state did not administer the SDWA requirements, EPA would directly enforce the requirements in Kentucky.

Access to public water supply regulations for Kentucky is available from the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), Title 401 KAR Chapter 8.

Access to the drinking water federal regulations are available at 40 CFR part 141 and 143.