Is Your Water Clean?

There are three absolute essentials to human life. Those are Air, water, and food. In fact, humans are only able to go minutes without air. Days without clean water. And weeks without food. In this post I will be discussing water. In the U.S., the majority of the tap water comes from rivers, streams, lakes and ground water. This is the case regardless of if you have municipal (city water) or your own well.

If you have city water it means that it comes from a utility company. The utility company charges you for the water because they have invested a lot of resource on cleaning and purifying the water that comes out of your tap.

Is City (or municipal) Water Clean?

The utility company cleans your water because it has become so polluted, that basic treatment has proven ineffective in removing all the contaminants (Environmental Working Group [EWG], 2017). Essentially, the water you are getting have been subject to further chemical treatment in order to make it clean. I wonder what chemicals are involved in the cleaning process? And how much cleaning the water contributes to the problem?

The answer is quite a bit. It is true, using disinfectants in the water can save lives from antimicrobial diseases. At the same time, it creates a host of other problems. Especially when it mixes with plant and animal waste. This has led to the discovery of over 600 disinfectant byproducts being found in treated drinking water (EWG, 2017).

Is Well Water Clean?

If you are drinking water out of your own well or spring and think this topic doesn’t apply to you. You may or may not be right. This likely means that you are getting your water straight out of the local water shed. Which may or may not be a good thing. If the utility companies that are supplying municipal sources are getting their water from the same places that feed the water table that you dug a well into, then how clean can you really hope the water to be? When was the last time you had it tested?

Why Our Water is at Risk.

The first thought that comes to my mind when I first came across this information (after holy shit! Of course) is, where is all the pollution coming from? Followed very closely by the thought, why not protect the water sources and water sheds instead of cleaning the water after it is already polluted?  Both of which are fantastic questions that deserve an answer.

Where is the Pollution Coming from?

The sources of the pollution range from the naturally occurring heavy metals, nd other elements leaching into the water. To modern agriculture practices. In agriculture there are millions of tons of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers dumped onto the now nutrient deficient soil. The runoff from these fertilizers end up in the local water table. There are also untold amounts of pesticides and other chemicals being applied to crops and ingested by farm animals.

Although it is a shame, it is still true. There is still the need for ongoing efforts to keep the various industries from dumping chemicals directly into the water (EWG, 2017). There has been plenty of reference to the toxicity of some of our modern industries and the possible consequences. This has come from many different groups including parts of the scientific community and popular culture. Which has produced images such as neon green ooze being dumped into waterways and three-eyed fish. There have even been comic book heroes, and villains, that have come out of the toxic slime.

There is interest in protecting them, the issue seems to be one of a lack of support for federal programs that provide the funding (EWG 2017).

Other Issues to Consider.

It seems that a lot of these chemicals are being dumped legally as there is no enforceable standard that is in place. The Safe Drinking Water act has not been re-approved since 1996 (EWG, 2017). In other words, some of the chemicals in use, may not have been discovered the last time anything was reevaluated. At least not in terms of what a safe is or is not safe in our water supply.

On top of this, s the human population grows the amount of chemicals and synthetic materials being found in the water supply has increased. Consider the amount of pharmaceuticals and over the counter medications being ingested and subsequently excreted out into our toilets. The toilets then get flushed and return to the same utility company that will clean it and run it back to you out of your kitchen sink. Even if there are measures in place to remove the pharmaceuticals from treated water, they typically aren’t effective enough. There have been reports of traces of these medications being found in American drinking water (EWG, 2017). The sheer amount of chemicals being used in personal hygiene products that get washed down the drain is outrageous. The chemicals come in the form of shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, antiperspirants, makeup, acne treatments, hair dye… The list seems endless.

What to do.

First things first, let’s find out what exactly is in your drinking water. Take a look at this EWG page to find out what’s in your water. All you have to do is enter your zip code to find out what contaminants were detected in your local water and at what levels. If there is more than one utility that comes up associated with your zip code, simply locate your water bill and check to see who supplies water in your area.

Now that you know what you are up against you can begin to make better choices when it comes to the quality of the water to which you are exposed. I sell a line of shower head water filters and a 10 cup counter top water filter for drinking water. These are the same shower head filters in place on all the showers at my house. I also utilize the 10 cup counter top water filter for my drinking and cooking water. You can learn more about the products and purchase them here.