America's Drinking Water is not As Safe as we Think

America's Drinking Water is not As Safe as we Think

How often do you drink tap water? For many Americans, the answer is “every day.” Because so many people use tap water, the federal government has worked diligently over the past few decades to ensure that the water is safe to drink. However, these standards are only useful when local governments make an effort to meet them. A recent study indicates that local water systems around the country have failed to meet the standards set by the federal government.

Recent Study Is Cause For Alarm

The safety of drinking water in America gained prominence after the well-known crisis in Flint, Michigan. Residents of Flint discovered that the amount of lead in their water was considered to be dangerously high. Not only were there fundraisers to help the people of Flint, but the nation paid much more attention to water safety as a result.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently released findings that were cause for concern. The study concluded between 3 – 10% of the water systems in the United States have failed to meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards, dating back to 1982. This means that millions of Americans were exposed to unsafe drinking water. In 2015, for example, an estimated 21 million Americans were affected.

The research identified two trends that stood out:

  • Low-income, rural areas were more susceptible to receiving unsafe water

  • Oklahoma and parts of West Texas failed to meet standards routinely

Assistant professor of urban planning at the University of California, Irvine Maura Allaire said that these areas have difficulty keeping up with aging infrastructure. As a result, they struggle to keep up with modern water treatment procedures and techniques.

Issues Solving The Clean Water Crisis

The cause of contaminated water varies from town to town. Often, identifying what contaminants are in the water is not the issue. The primary four contaminants typically include

  • Lead
  • Nitrates
  • Arsenic
  • Pathogens

However, problems arise when trying to determine the cause of the contamination. Sometimes, the cause of the contamination is isolated while other times, the contamination originates at a water utility. If the contamination originates at a water facility, it is often a sign of a more profound systemic problem that can be difficult to correct.

Municipalities are going to have to come up with new, innovative solutions to bring safe drinking water to their residents. At the beginning of the 21st century, the E.P.A. issued new regulations focused on removing disinfectants from water supplies. This caused health violations to spike, especially in low-income areas. The main reason for this is because utilities had long used chemicals like chlorine clean the water.

Once chlorine and other disinfectants were banned, utilities no longer had the means to clean the water. Additionally, the cost to remove these disinfectants is high, posing a problem for utilities with limited financial resources.

The E.P.A. is going to continue to update their regulations regarding safe water. Utilities will have to find cost-effective solutions if they wish to provide their residents with water that is safe to drink.

Looking For Clean Drinking Water?

Access to clean drinking water is not something with which should ever have to worry. If you’re worried about access to clean drinking water, be sure to contact us. Their team can evaluate your home filtration system and run tests to determine if your tap water is safe to drink. If it's not, they will work with you to install a system to ensure your drinking water is adequate and meets federal standards.  

Clean drinking water is not something that you should take lightly. When working with Carolina Freshwater, you’ll be making a small investment to protect your family’s health.

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