Water, in its natural state is inclined to bacterial and microbial growth. It is also the universal solvent, wearing away or washing out anything it comes in contact with and absorbing contaminants along the way. Drinking water operators, rather tap water suppliers or water bottlers, must be knowledgeable in proper drinking water treatment in order to protect the health of water drinkers. The Safe Drinking Water Act amendments of 1996, under the direction of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), require all municipal water system operators (tap water suppliers) be educated and/or trained in drinking water treatment. It also requires drinking water operators be certified as competent to treat water by EPA or by an EPA-approved authorities such as the Department of Natural Resources here in the state of Missouri.
The certification is pursuant to federal guidelines for determining the level of competency needed for the type of water treatment being performed. The State of Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) also require ongoing training to maintain, review and update drinking water treatment skills for tap water suppliers. These are very important requirements as they help to greatly reduce the opportunity for operator error, often the cause of contamination problems. The FDA, on the other hand, does not require drinking water operator education, training or certification in water bottling plants in any state. Not even the supervisory personnel at water bottling plants are required to be certified as competent.