While necessary to all life on Earth, water can spread diseases and cause major health problems. In the following Q&A, water experts from Green Water Technologies offer general information regarding water contamination and safety.
Q: The EPA regulates water in the US, so why is water quality still an issue?
Green Water Technologies: The EPA regulates the water quality of municipal water supplies, but 15% of all people in the US rely on private water sources such as wells. Even homes with a public water supply are not immune from contamination; the EPA only monitors water from treatment facilities, it cannot track potential chemical, bacterial, viral, or parasitic intrusions in every pipe in America. Plus, homes built prior to the mid-1980s often run lead and copper pipes, which can add these heavy metals to the home’s water supply.
Q: What are some common waterborne diseases?
Green Water Technologies: Waterborne illnesses are not a common occurrence in the US, but they do happen. In 1993 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, doctors were bombarded with cases of intestinal disorders, which were linked to cryptosporidium. There are around 30,000 cases of dysentery in the United States every year.
Q: In case of a water precaution alert, how can I protect my family from diseases?
Green Water Technologies: If you have been warned that a waterborne disease outbreak is possible, the best thing you can do is boil any water used for cooking, drinking, or teeth brushing. Boiling does not eliminate radiation or chemical contaminants but does kill most viruses, bacteria, and organisms.
Q: Does contaminated water taste different than safe water?
Green Water Technologies: It can, but not always. Some contaminants are so small they are not visible to the human eye and can’t be detected by taste alone. If you believe that your water has made you ill, contact your local health department to inquire about water testing in your area.