Tap water is supposed to be safe
No matter where you live or what you need it for, you should be able to get clean, safe water out of your kitchen sink whenever you twist the knob or pull the handle. And for the most part, that’s what you get; the United States has some of the widest access to clean, safe water of any nation on the planet.
However, even if America is doing well, the national water supply could still use improvement
Even though clean water is widely available, many communities aren’t getting water that’s safe to drink even though it goes through a water purification plant. In part that’s because the list of contaminants these plants have to remove hasn’t been updated in a decade but are also other factors like corruption and a lack of funds. As a result, contaminants like the ones that follow have crept into many municipal water supplies.
Chlorine and disinfection by-products
Chlorine is an essential part of any water treatment process. Pair it with sodium and chlorine is nothing but salt, but on its own chlorine is a deadly yellow-green gas. The chlorine used on drinking water is very carefully calibrated to kill microbes but do nothing to bigger life forms like humans and pets, but this chlorine also creates disinfection by-products. These by-products have been linked to certain cancers when in large concentrations.
- Arsenic is a naturally occurring but dangerous element that can cause birth defects, abdominal pain, and eventually death if you’re exposed to too much. A water supply can become contaminated because of arsenic leeching into the ground water thanks to mining activity and runoff from fields where arsenic used to be used as a pesticide.
- Lead in the water has been a big problem for centuries depending on where you live. Even now, some old homes in America have lead pipes that put the heavy metal in the water supply, and lead is at the heart of the still-ongoing Flint water crisis.
- Radioactive elements can find their way into ground water, including uranium and dissolved radium.
You aren’t supposed to pour cleaning supplies or chemicals down the sink, and you aren’t supposed to dump expired drugs down the toilet, but many people do just that anyway. Not only is this hazardous to the ecosystem, it’s hazardous to the communities that rely on the ground water these chemicals seep into. Dangerous chemicals can go completely unnoticed because they’re invisible unless you specifically test for them.
Assorted dangerous chemicals can enter water supplies thanks to agriculture and industrial runoff. In 2007, Los Angeles had to drain two of its reservoirs because they were contaminated by bromate, a possible carcinogen created by the reaction of natural bromide with chlorine in the disinfection process. Chromium, another dangerous chemical, enters water thanks to its industrial uses.
Tap water is mostly safe throughout America, but we can do better. That’s why many people use home purification systems and filters to get their water that much cleaner. We at Carolina Fresh Water are happy to offer our products to customers who know their water could be safer.