How is your home tap water?
We rely on tap water for many of our daily activities. From cooking and cleaning to drinking, many of us rely on tap water (or municipal water) to flow through our pipes.
In fact, here in the US, less than 1% of municipal water is used for consumption. Other activities like bathing, watering gardens, cleaning and cooking utilize the rest of the water consumption.
How Safe Is Your Tap Water?
In general, tap water is safe.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates municipal water. Although most of the tap water processed is not consumed, all of it is treated to meet EPA drinking standards. Most cities and towns process water at treatment plants before EPA compliance testing. Upon testing, the water enters our community.
However, as we all know, the quality of tap water varies from town to town and home to home. To learn more about your home tap water, then the Environmental Working Group constructed a tap water database. The database identifies local water quality based on zip code.
It is important to note that disinfecting municipal drinking water is one of the major public health advances of the 20th century. However, the disinfectants themselves react with naturally occurring materials in the water. These chemical reactions form unintended byproducts.
Although tap water meets EPA standards, water processing involves chemical compounds, which impact the water. For example, removing contaminants change the pH balance. Therefore, treatment facilities add chlorine or fluoride, which improves water safety. Plus, local environmental conditions impact groundwater (which may cause hard water).
If you have questions or concerns about your municipal water, the water company produces an annual report. Also, the EPA provides additional information about drinking water.
Why is it important to take an active role in understanding your tap water? Balancing the risks of microbial pathogens and disinfection byproducts remains a challenge. As the EWG outlines, contaminants may remain after tap water passes EPA standards and enters your home.
Benefits of Tap Water
Although the municipal water system is not perfect, there are plenty of benefits of tap water.
For example, fluoride improves dental health. In general, tap water provides some health benefits. As Dr. Carly Steward explains:
“In general, there are no major health advantages to drinking bottled water instead of tap. It’s also interesting to note that bottled water may contain less fluoride than tap water, a chemical known to assist in good oral health. Under most circumstances, tap water works just fine. Regardless of its origin, make sure you drink enough and you will have fewer health concerns.”
Plus, tap water comes in many refreshing flavors!
Dangers of Bottled Water
Bottled water remains the primary alternative versus tap water.
Keep in mind that although some bottled water comes from springs or other similar sources, more than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal supply. Yes, a quarter of bottled water is the same as the local tap water!
Plus, the safety concerns that occur with tap water typically exists with bottled water as well.
Eric Goldstein, co-director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), explains that bottled water and tap water must adhere to the same EPA standards.
“But no one should think that bottled water is better regulated, better protected or safer than tap.”
In fact, in the last major study (which tested over a 1,000 bottles from over 100 brands) of bottled water safety, the NRDC found that:
“at least one sample of a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens, in levels exceeding state or industry standards…Samples of two brands were contaminated with phthalates, in one case exceeding EPA standards for tap water. These chemicals, used to make plastic softer, are found in cosmetics and fragrances, shower curtains, even baby toys, and are under increasing scrutiny.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottling companies, but considers bottled water low risk. This means the FDA does not inspect plants annually and consider it the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that the product complies with laws and regulations.
Plus, if bottled water manufacturers find contaminates in their water, they are not obligated to inform the public.
Bottled water may be scary, but it comes in handy. If you need bottled water, then look for bottles with the NSF International or the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) logo or certification. These non-profit organizations perform annual unannounced tests to ensure the plant is up to FDA standards.
Tips to Identify Safe Water
In the US, the federal and local regulations and water treatment facilities work. It may seem like the dangers are lurking in the pipes, but these are simply warning signs to understand our home water. There is no perfect water. There are ways to identify safe water and ensure your home and family remain healthy.
- Test the Tap Water
Simply test your tap water (or test your well water if you do not have tap water).
As a free service to our neighbors, we are offering a no cost and no obligation water analysis. The water analysis provides you with the facts about your home so you can make the appropriate water treatment solutions.
- Find a Canteen
If you enjoy water on the go, then use a canteen. A reusable stainless steel or lined drinking container contains less dangers than a plastic water bottle. Be sure to clean the canteen daily.
- Drink Cool Water
Not storing bottled water properly increases your risk. Try not to drink water from a bottle that has been sitting in high temperatures (like a car on a summer day). Store bottled water away from heat or chemical and do not reuse plastic bottles.
- Add a Water Filter
Depending on the tap water test, consider adding a water filtration system. Water filtration removes particles and/or pollutants from water.
At SolvIt, we offer water filtration solutions for every need and budget. Our individual solutions provide you with a steady supply of clean home water for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing.
Give us a call now at 860-544-2466 to schedule your free water evaluation.