As exemplified in the latest tragedy in Flint, we cannot always depend on our municipal treatment centers to keep water contamination in control. Unfortunately, a lot of treatment centers are still using outdated techniques to "purify" tap water before sending it to your home. Likewise, sometimes the contamination of your home tap water doesn't occur at the treatment center but rather on its way to your home - which is much harder for local authorities to identify and treat without you notifying them of a problem.
What dangers do these contaminants pose? What can you do about it?
The dangers of lead in your tap water
The CDC explains that lead does not always come from mass contamination but can sometimes be leaked into your tap water through old or damaged pipes. Unfortunately the only way to tell if your tap water contains lead is to test for it because you cannot see, taste or smell lead when it is present in your water.
Lead is very dangerous for pregnant women especially. Too much lead consumed during a pregnancy can result in developmental problems or even miscarriages.
According to the CDC, if you test your tap water and discover the presence of lead then you should let your water run for 1-2 minutes before using the water for cooking or drinking until you can figure out what is causing the presence of lead in your water. It is emphasized that you should only use cold water when using tap water that might be contaminated since a possible cause of lead contamination is pipes. Warm or hot water will leach lead from old pipes while cold water will not. Understand that this is recommended as a temporary solution. Whatever is causing the contamination whether it is old pipes, old fixtures or if it is coming from your municipal water source then the problem will need to be identified and resolved.
It is recommended that you give young kids and pregnant women a good quality, tested bottled water until the issue can be fixed.
What about well water?
Well water has a reputation of being as good as it gets but that doesn't mean it is exempt from possible water contaminations. Did you know that the EPA has a set of guidelines for maintaining your well? This can sometimes come as a surprise to well owners that there is any maintenance involved in protecting your well from contamination. This is especially true for wells that are subject to flooding or are on a hill where pesticides or other chemicals might wind up within the well from wash out.
If you are concerned about the quality of your well water then testing kits are available and it is highly advised that you test your well regularly. If you cannot seem to strike a balance with your well water quality then get a reverse osmosis filter installed to leave you with pure, clear water.
Are your neighbors ruining your water?
Sometimes neighbors or nearby businesses don't follow water codes set out by the EPA and FDA. This can result in possibly contaminated water finding its way into your home. Want to see if any violations have occurred in your area? Check out the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's website for regular postings of water violations.
The EPA recommends carbon based filters for proper elimination of harmful tap water contaminants. Multi stage filter designs can eliminate up to ninety eight percent of the contaminants found in most tap water.
The most reliable and best way to ensure that you are drinking quality tap water is by having a reverse osmosis filter installed. This can help improve both tap and well water quality at your home and can help you rest assured that you and your family are not consuming any harmful chemicals or contaminants.