While the earth is covered in a lot of water, too many people lack access to it. It has been estimated that about 3.1% of deaths that occur each year are due to the lack of access to clean water. Nearly 2.5 billion people cannot get clean water. While residents of the United States are lucky to have better sources of water, using water quality indicators is still something people should get into the habit of doing. Even the nation’s capital is not immune to bad water. Several years ago, people who live there were forced to take extra steps to make the water in their home clean enough to drink or cook with.
- Talk to your water provider. The company that provides your water differs depending on the area of the country in which you live. All water companies are required to give their customers a report of the water quality analysis report that do. This is not negotiable. This is a rule set up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report is called a Consumer Confidence Report and should give you information on what they discovered from their water quality indicators. You are supposed to get their analysis automatically by the end of June. if you have not received it or need to get a new copy, it should be on the agency’s website. If you cannot find it, you should call and get it from them directly.
- You may have to do some extra work if you have a well. People who get their home water from a well do not have an agency to call about their water. The good news is that you can still get information about the quality of your water from the EPA. They keep a thorough and complete guide for each state’s private and community wells. If you cannot find what you need on their website, you can contact them directly or go through your state government office to get more information.
- Look for information from watchdog groups. The EPA Is not the only group watching the water quality indicators around the nation. There are a number of non-profit organizations who look at and keep up with the water quality around the country. One such organization is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They have put together a comprehensive database of the reports of from water quality indicators around the nation. It is very user friendly though it can be alarming to look at. The best thing you can do is get the information on their site about substances in your local water and then take that information and compare it to the limit set by the EPA.
- Look into certain contaminants. If have specific concerns about your water, such as when the residents of Washington, DC learned there were certain contaminants in theirs, you can do your own research into those. It may not be enough to find out what is in your water but if you are worried that you or your family’s health is at risk, you can look into the health impacts of each and see if you are seeing issues from your water. There are a number of groups that also monitor the water quality indicators around the nation. You need to be careful when you look at some of their data because they may not be impartial. There are some groups who are funded by companies who make water testing kits and well water test kits or they will do the testing themselves. They may be just as interested in selling you something rather than just keeping tabs on the nation’s water supply.
- Go ahead and do a test or two yourself. The easiest way to get to know what is in your water. You can get fresh water test kits and find out what is in the water that you and your family are using. If you would prefer a professional come in and do this for you, the EPA has a list of companies around the country that can help you.
It is hard to overstate the importance of clean water but you can make yours safer.