As people, there are things we need to know about the water we consume on a daily basis and the role we should play in protecting life’s most precious resource. In addition, civilians should also know the responsibilities of their water provider to ensure that they are accountable to customers.
Water dissolves natural occurring minerals and organic matter on its way to the water body. It can also absorb contaminants on its way to the water body. General sources of contamination include runoff from agricultural land uses, marine/river dumping, and potential spills from petroleum pipelines. As a civilian, you should know the primary contaminant of concern for your water source and ask your supplier what you can do to help protect your drinking water. Communities should do everything they can to help their local utility company produce clean, safe and reliable drinking water.
Infrastructure and plumbing are essential to the delivery of safe drinking water. It is challenging to deliver clean water with aging infrastructure. Infrastructure is more than just pipes; It consist of things such as fire hydrants, water filtration plants, waste water filtration plants, dams, reservoirs and water pump stations. Although a lot of infrastructure is out of sight it should be on the forefront of your mind because of how it can affect drinking water and the environment.
Lead is a major concern to water suppliers when it comes to providing people with safe drinking water and it is usually in direct relation to infrastructure or plumbing. Lead normally enters drinking water when service pipes that contain lead corrode. Water suppliers should address aging infrastructure in a cost efficient and timely manner to prevent a water crisis. Some water providers are beginning to address aging infrastructure by using ductile iron zinc-coated pipes to extend the life of water mains for over a 100 years. The new innovative technology furthers advanced corrosion control in ductile water pipelines.
Customers also play a major role in lead prevention. Water suppliers are normally responsible for infrastructure up until the property line. The most common issue is with chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with leaded solder or lead pipes in plumbing systems. Customers should consult with a plumber to assure that plumbing systems are up to date and if necessary, upgrade systems throughout the property.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets national standards for drinking water. The Safe Water Drinking Act requires the EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water so no harmful health effects are likely to transpire. The EPA has set the contaminant level for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that causes danger to human health even at low exposure levels. Even though the EPA and state governments set and enforce drinkable water standards, it is the water supplier’s responsibility for the quality of water that flows from your tap. Water suppliers should produce clean water that meets or surpasses regulatory requirements for safe drinking water.
Municipal water infrastructure and civil engineering projects have advanced in profound ways to supply clean, safe, reliable drinking water 24/7. Enhancing infrastructure and developing new technologies to spot weaknesses before they turn into breaks can save money in the long run, prevent disruptions to daily life and protect the health of people and the environment. Water suppliers that meet or surpass all federal and state drinking water quality standards convey that they understand the value of clean, high quality drinking water 24 hours a day and are committed to delivering it reliably.
Water is one of the essential elements of health but do all people have the luxury of having drinkable water at their disposal? Are we People Of the Same Struggle? Do all of our local water suppliers address aging infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner? Are communities doing everything they can to help water providers produce safe drinking water?