49 Million in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water. Fewer than 6% of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials. More than 20 % of nation?s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last 5 years. Illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.. In New York state, 205 water systems have broken the law by delivering tap water that contained illegal amounts of bacteria since 2004.