Learn more about your local water supply
I think the water crisis in Flint, MI, a couple of years ago made everyone question the safety of drinking unfiltered tap water.
A recent report shows that almost 70% Americans believe their community’s water is at risk, especially in more urban areas. No wonder we’re buying more bottled water than ever!
But, despite some significant fails, our tap water is some of the cleanest and safest in the world. And do we really want to spend all that money on bottled water?
Rather than worry needlessly about what’s in your tap water, check out some of these resources for more information about your local water supply.
EWG’s Tap Water Data Base
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an environmental advocacy group out of Washington, DC.
They just released their updated Tap Water Database. Plug in your zip code and then scroll down to find your community’s water utility.
The site lists the levels of common contaminants, and compares the quality of your local water against state and national averages.
BUT…keep in mind that EWG uses contaminant guidelines that are much lower than those set by the EPA, which oversees our country’s water quality. So don’t be too alarmed when you see that your tap water frequently exceeds EWG’s strict standards.
EWG is a lobbyist group, after all, and not above using a little dose of fear to manipulate us into action.
Still, their website is easy to use and provides useful information about water safety, water filtration systems, and bottled water.
EPA’s Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires local water utilities to provide an annual CCR or Consumer Confidence Report.
These are published every year on July 1, and look back over the previous year’s water quality measurements. (I don’t know what went wrong in Flint!)
Use the site’s interactive map to select your state and then scroll down or use the search box to find your local utility. Sadly, this government site isn’t nearly as user friendly as the EWG database, and it could take longer to find what you’re looking for. 🙁
When you do finally get to your local water utility, bookmark it for future reference. It provides more information about your community’s water infrastructure, what the potential problems might be, and what’s planned for future improvements.
And if your water looks or tastes funny, you can find out why or report a problem.
CDC’s Drinking Water Homepage
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which guides us in all things public health, doesn’t provide local water quality reports, but its Drinking Water page is crammed with all sorts of information, such as:
- how public water systems work
- the difference between public and private systems (wells)
- fluoridation facts
- water safety when traveling or camping
- the health benefits of water
- water advisories
- how and when to get your water tested
- …and so much more!
Although we should feel pretty comfortable about the safety of our tap water, it never hurts to keep track of what both local and federal agencies are doing to keep our infrastructure maintained and safe for future generations.
Here are some related posts on tap water safety: