Safe & Sound

Last weekend, a friend of mine asked me, “Is tap water safe to drink?”

I told her “yes” – but that the answer to that question can be far more complicated than a simple yes or no, because tap water quality can vary region to region, treatment system to treatment system.

With so many factors influencing water quality, it is easy to see why the general public might get confused. Start with the source water – whether a municipality gets its water from a lake, river or groundwater aquifer, the potential contaminants are many and varied.

Add to that the issue of aging infrastructure. As piping systems grow older and frailer, the potential for contamination after water leaves the treatment plant also grows. We need only to look to the news to see the havoc aging infrastructure can bring – just yesterday, a water main break on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles caused 20 million gal of water to gush through university structures and surrounding streets.

Finally, as testing technology advances, we are discovering more and more “emerging contaminants.” Because these contaminants are so new, and often occurring at low levels, many municipal water treatment systems are not equipped to remove them from drinking water. Nonetheless, they are making the news, potentially causing concern among the public.

In the end, I told my friend that yes, tap water is safe – but that if she has any concerns, she can get her water tested, and, if needed, there are a multitude of treatment options that can be installed right in her own home. That is where our industry comes in. How do you answer when your customers ask, “Is tap water safe?” Tell us in the comments, or e-mail us at [email protected] 

Kate Cline is editor-in-chief of WQP. Cline can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.

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