Survey finds only 54% of Pennsylvanians trust tap water

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October 21st is the "Imagine a Day Without Water” day. #valuewater

Pittsburgh October 21 – Only 54% percent of the Pennsylvania public trust their tap water is safe to drink according to a new international consumer survey commissioned by Kemira, a global leader in water treatment chemistry. That means nearly half of Pennsylvanians are either unsure or do not trust their tap water at home.

The survey included 7,963 people from seven US states and five European countries. Kemira commissioned it to better understand public sentiments related to water and raise awareness of the challenges facing the water supply.

The survey found that public confidence in drinking water quality is generally low across the US. A mere 60% of Americans believe their tap water is trustworthy enough to drink. The top reasons people don’t trust their water are fear of contaminants, chemicals, bacteria, disease and old infrastructure.

“Everyone deserves access to clean, safe drinking water regardless of where they live,” said Michael Cavallero, Kemira’s regional vice president. “While most drinking water is safe, unfortunately that is not true everywhere across Pennsylvania or the US. As a result, the public seriously questions water quality.”

What Pennsylvanians had to say about water

There were 400 survey respondents from Pennsylvania, where cities like Pittsburgh have struggled with water quality and infrastructure in recent years. Philadelphia has also battled public sentiment issues related to water, despite having consistently high quality.

Pennsylvania had some of the lowest public confidence in drinking water of the states surveyed ─ only Florida was worse (47% of Floridians distrust their drinking water). Moreover, all of the surveyed European countries reported higher confidence in water quality than residents of Pennsylvania including Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Kemira’s survey also found that many people are unaware of basic information related to the water supply, which may explain some of the distrust. About half of the people in Pennsylvania said they do not have a good understanding of where their water comes from, how it gets to their home or where it goes after they use it.

Most of the drinking water in Pennsylvania comes from the Delaware, Susquehanna, and Ohio Rivers. Water utilities publish annual consumer reports that explain the water sources for each community, how water is treated and processed, and whether there have been issues or violations of state and federal water quality laws.

Kemira shared the survey results today on the sixth annual “Imagine a Day Without Water”, a national education campaign organized by the US Water Alliance to highlight the importance of water and the need for investment in American water infrastructure. Kemira supplies a variety of water treatment chemistry and digital monitoring solutions.

“We're thrilled that Kemira is a part of Imagine a Day Without Water. This national day of action educates our neighbors and public officials about the essential role water plays in all of our lives,” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance. “This year showed us the critical importance of water service to safeguard public health and the economy. But the infrastructure and service it takes to bring water to our homes and businesses and take it away is not free and can’t be taken for granted. We all need to educate ourselves about where our water comes from and the investment these critical systems need.” 

The full survey results are on Kemira’s website 

For more information, please contact:

Michael Cavallero
Vice President, Commercial, Kemira
michael.cavallero @

Kemira is a global chemicals company serving customers in water intensive industries. We provide best suited products and expertise to improve our customers’ product quality, process and resource efficiency. Our focus is on pulp & paper, oil & gas and water treatment. In 2019, Kemira had annual revenue of around EUR 2.7 billion and over 5,000 employees. Kemira shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.