Most of us here in Colorado don’t think about the water we drink. We turn on the tap to do just about everything: get a glass of water, fill up a pitcher for tea, add it to our recipes, and brush our teeth with it.
Then something happens. A scare. A flood. And the first thing people talk about is access to clean water.
Yes you take it for granted. But how safe is our drinking water right now? Are you putting yourself at risk every time you turn on the faucet? Should you be trusting the powers that be to ensure its safety?
The most important part to survival is hydration. Which is why here in the US, we have made it a priority to have clean, safe drinking water at our disposal whenever we need it. The EPA has the authority to monitor all public water systems, and sets guidelines to make sure it maintains the appropriate levels. So when it reaches your home, it meets the strictest of safety standards.
That doesn’t mean that your water is free from all contaminants, just that the levels in it are acceptable to the requirements in place, and they won’t pose a serious threat to your health.
Accidents happen. If the water is contaminated by something that can cause immediate illness, the supplier has 24 hours to notify its customers of the problem and steps to take to work around it.
Water can be contaminated in many ways. It can be affected by industrial waste, chemical waste from farming and spraying crops, bacteria and parasites from human or animal fecal matter, nitrates that run off from the land, minerals such as lead or mercury from an underground source.
Rules are different for public and private supplies. Right now 1 out of 7 Americans has its main water source from a well. Private wells are not regulated by the EPA, and therefore may have much stronger contaminants than the public supply. Many thing factor into its safety, including:
- How the well was built
- Where its located
- How well its maintained
- The quality of the underground water source
- Human activities in your area
In some cases, people will attempt to make their water safer by using a water filter. Four types exist: activated carbon filters, ion exchange units, reverse osmosis units, and a distillation unit. Each promises to remove certain things within the water supply.
But it is important to note that no one system will remove all water contaminants. If you have a concern, have your water tested . Follow any advice given until your water is safe once more.