Did you know that Americans collectively use almost 350,000 million gallons of water each day? It’s no surprise that water is an integral part of our lives, from showering in the morning to cooking our food and being our main source of hydration. Water isn’t always safe, or good for us, just because it comes out of the tap however. As the National Resources Defense Council points out, “dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk, and continues to threaten both quality of life and public health in the U.S.”
Three Common Sources of Tap Water Contamination
- Did you know there are over 2,000 water contaminants that can be present in tap water? One major source of contamination is deteriorating plumbing. Even though water treatment plants and other systems keep water at safe levels as determined by the EPA, aging pipes often carry water after this point into households and businesses. This can allow bacteria to leak in, and also is a main source of lead contamination, as many pipes laid before the 1990s used lead soldering.
- Each day, waste from dishwashers, clothes washers, and toilets goes to sewage treatment plants. Sometimes, the wastewater is discharged into nearby waterways.
- Runoff from pesticides and fertilizers used in farming and on residential lawns can carry chemicals into local water supplies. As NRDC points out, “old-fashioned” water treatment plants are built to keep out particulates and kill parasites, but not so much to remove newer contaminants like arsenic, and pesticide chemicals.
Three Solutions You Can Employ for Cleaner Water
- Countertop water filtration system — this is a great solution for office environments, which frequently have a water cooler. Water coolers, although they usually contain bottled water, can be a potential source of contamination; a Scottish study found that 40% of tested coolers had bacterial contamination. Countertop filtration systems can dispense cold and hot filtered water.
- Bottled water — bottled water goes through filter systems that make it cleaner than traditional tap water. However, this isn’t usually a lasting solution. Not only are plastic water bottles bad for the environment, but they are expensive to use as a constant source of water, and they often lack fluoride, a health additive found in tap water.
- Sink water filters — fitting over your water dispenser, sink water filters can help ensure that the water you use for drinking and preparing food is clean and safe. Like countertop systems, they can remove multiple harmful chemicals and compounds, including chlorine.
Do you use water filters in your home? Let us know in the comments. Links like this.