Most of us drink straight from the tap, but the whole world was watching for the Flint, Michigan water scandal. And more and more people are beginning to wonder how drinkable their tap water really is.
In the United States, the Safe Drinking Water Act is supposed to ensure that all Americans have access to healthy, safe tap water. However, the act is being violated across the country, with the EPA unable to address those violations due to a lack of resources.
These violations are typically in two different categories. The first include health-based violations. This is when water hasn’t been properly treated for contaminants like pathogens. Reporting violations are when water providers are failing to test and monitor water quality. Under the Trump administration, the EPA is losing even more funding, putting tap water at further risk.
It may be a good idea to check your own tap water. If you live in a city or large town, your water probably comes from a municipal system, while those in rural areas are usually using shared wells. If you have specific concerns about your tap water, you can go ahead and ask your local water agency if they will test it for you. They’ll test it for things like nitrate and lead.
If your county health department or water supplier won’t test it for you, you can use a state-certified lab. The lab will usually have a suggested list of tests to do, and they’ll vary depending on if you have a specific concern about the taste or smell of your water and where you live.
Contaminated water can have serious implications, as we saw in Flint. Women exposed to high levels of nitrate during their pregnancies have seen birth defects like cleft palate and spina bifida, and babies under the age of 1 are particularly vulnerable to poisoning.
Reverse osmosis removes contaminants from water. IDE provides projects around the world with a number of options, such as the company’s reverse osmosis plant.
One thing is for sure, these days we can no longer blindly trust that our tap water is drinkable. Pay attention to your tap water, and to any changes in the smell and taste. This is particularly important if you’re pregnant, ill, or have small children. If you think there’s something not right about your water, don’t hesitate to get it tested. The expense will usually be worth it for the peace of mind if nothing is wrong, and the ability to do something about it if it is contaminated.
Have you had any issues with your tap water? Have you tested it recently? Let me know in the comments below.