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Maryland Safe Drinking WATER Study

Welcome to the Maryland Safe Drinking WATER Study!

The overarching goal of the Maryland Safe Drinking WATER (Water Analysis and Testing for Education and Research) Study is to characterize the drinking water quality of both public drinking water systems and private wells in Maryland's underserved communities using a combination of citizen science, field-based research, and laboratory analyses. To accomplish this goal, we will collaborate with our UMD Extension partners, government partners, community partners, private well owners, and residents of Maryland who utilize public drinking water.

The water accessed by most people across the U.S. is clean and safe, however, recent drinking water tragedies in Jackson MS, Flint MI, and in our very own backyard of Baltimore City have placed national attention on the dangers and health consequences of contaminated water. Approximately 5.1 million Maryland residents are served by public drinking water systems while over 1 million completely rely on private wells as their source of water. Recent studies detected microbiological contaminants such as total coliforms and E. coli in both private and public drinking water supplies in Maryland, as well as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), aka “forever chemicals”, in approximately 1.3% of Marylanders' public drinking water. 

The results of field-based and laboratory studies will be used to conduct Safe Drinking Water Workshops with residents focused on outreach and education to understand and improve drinking water quality in Maryland. Enrollment for Phase 1 of the study is now closed. To learn more about current drinking water testing recommendations in Maryland, click here

The Maryland Safe Drinking WATER study is funded by the Grand Challenges Grants Program — the largest and most comprehensive program of its type ever introduced at the University of Maryland.

Click here to watch WMAR Baltimore's coverage of our research!

We are currently seeking one highly organized and detail-oriented student intern to assist with water sample collection in homes across Maryland and sample processing in the lab! To apply, please email a resume and cover letter to