Is Your Water Safe to Drink?
It’s true that the United States enjoys a much higher quality of drinking water than many other nations. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that there are still many water quality issues across the country. Obviously, incidents like Flint, Michigan’s issues with lead in the water supply capture the country’s attention. However, similar problems are going on all around the country on a less severe scale that nonetheless have a negative impact on the quality of tap water.
Concerned about the quality of your home’s water? Have it tested.
Just like any other piece of infrastructure, the many components (e.g. pipes and mains) that work together to bring water to our homes have a limited lifespan. Unfortunately, for a great deal of the U.S.’s water infrastructure, that end time is upon us now. Much of the water infrastructure in this country is around a century old. Conditions are so bad that the American Society of Civil Engineers, in a 2017 review, issued a “D” grade for the quality of drinking water systems.
This inevitable deterioration over time results in regular problems, such as leaks and breaks. This wastes a massive amount of water. Additionally, when our water infrastructure is this old, we can encounter problems in which our water isn’t as pure or safe as it should be. For example, old lead pipes can result in tap water with elevated levels of lead (as in the case of Flint, Michigan). In other cases, smaller or poorer municipalities don’t have the money in their budgets to invest in the equipment necessary to filter out certain harmful contaminants like arsenic from the water supply.
Unreported Water Quality Problems
A Government Accountability Office report published in 2011 discovered that some states incorrectly report (or don’t report at all) many water quality violations. Smaller and poorer communities tend to experience the most severe of these violations, but even major metropolises like New York City have encountered problems with the safety of public water. With all of these problems going on, roughly one in four Americans receives tap water that is either not safe to drink or that has not properly been tested to meet federal standards.
How To Ensure You Have Safe Water To Drink
As much as we would like to count on the source of our water to notify us if there are any problems with its quality, this is unfortunately not enough. The only way to guarantee your water is safe and pure is to have it tested. Various tests can be conducted to search for different potential contaminants. Once you identify what’s really in your water, various measures can be taken to remedy the problem, such as installing a water softener, specialized filter, water conditioner, or purification system.