Small drinking water utilities do not have to abide by the same safety regulations as large drinking water plants and as a result, rural water often remains contaminated. Here is the USA Today with details. Here is a report by the National Institute for Health saying the same thing. Access to uncontaminated drinking water has been one of the most significant public health initiatives in human history, along with treated waste water. How can we have such different water quality standards for rural vs urban drinking water?