The EPA Alumni Association has recently published an essay covering the history of drinking water and a look at the future as well. The article begins before the adoption of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974 and chronicles major actions in drinking water since that time. The authors, who represent decades of EPA service, highlight federal activities and actions throughout the industry that have all been in support of providing safe drinking water. Along the way, the authors discuss regulations and program accomplishments but also consider future challenges. You can access this 13-page essay at: http://www.epaalumni.org/userdata/files/library/610_HCDrinkingLong.pdf.
The Alumni Association has created similar histories of other environmental programs that can be found on their web page that features a Half Century of Progress: http://www.epaalumni.org/HC/HCPublicIndex.cfm.