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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teacher’s Manual for The Past, Present and Future of the Safe Drinking Water Act

  • Author(s): Salzman, James
  • et al.

Thanks for considering teaching this primer on SDWA. I enjoy teaching this in the classroom and there are a lot of different entry points for productive discussion. Rather than provide canned lecture notes, below I describe the key points I raise when teaching the materials and opportunities for class discussion. The specific topics are set out in bold below for easier identification. Please contact me at if you have any questions about the materials.

When teaching SDWA, I briefly highlight drinking water issues in the news (such as Newark or PFOA and PFAS contamination in the Fall of 2019), but I then turn to history. I ask the students to place themselves 500 years ago or 1500 years ago and ask what they would do were they charged with providing safe drinking water to their community. It turns out the challenges are identical to today.

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