Water quality is in the news now perhaps more than ever before, and the public is taking note. Federal and state laws require that communities provide safe drinking water for residents, but new research continues to emerge that seems to suggest that in many cases, while this water legally meets current standards and regulations, it may not necessarily be safe.
An article by Charles Duhigg in the Dec. 16, 2009, issue of The New York Times revealed the following worrisome data:
- The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulates 91 contaminants, while more than 60,000 chemicals are used in the U.S.
- No chemicals have been added to the list since 2000.
- Standards for many of the chemicals regulated by the SDWA have not been updated since the 1980s, even though recent studies show there may be health risks at levels lower than previously thought.
- Since 2004, 62 million Americans have been exposed to water that did not meet at least one government health guideline—but because these guidelines are not included in the SDWA, the water was still legal.
A report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which provided the data for the newspaper article, found that 316 pollutants have been detected in tap water, more than half of which are not subject to regulation.
Still, efforts to tighten the SDWA are met with opposition from lobbying groups representing industries that would face costly measures to reduce pollution, as well as from citizens who resist change because they do not believe water that is classified as legal could be harmful to their long-term health.
The EWG recommends home filtration as an additional measure to protect consumers. Their website contains a detailed guide that allows consumers to find a water treatment technology and product suitable for their specific local water quality, and the Water Quality Association wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to their coverage of water quality, emphasizing the importance and availability of home filtering systems.
While public awareness is increasing, as a water treatment professional, your public presence should also be increasing. Significant change in federal regulations is unlikely to happen soon, while more efficient and effective treatment technology is continually evolving. As concerned consumers will be actively seeking ways to improve their water quality, there has never been a better time to position yourself as a resource for treatment knowledge and a provider of treatment solutions.
Here are some ideas to increase your public prominence:
- Compile a fact sheet ready to distribute explaining how your products can improve the quality of your local water and provide your customers with safer water for their homes and families.
- Display this information prominently on your website.
- Get in touch with your local newspaper and television news station, and offer yourself as a resource for information and interviews on this timely subject.