How safe is your drinking water? Even if you don’t drink water directly from your tap, you probably use tap water for things like cooking, making coffee, and brushing your teeth. That’s why it’s vital to make sure your water is free from dangerous contaminants. Are you doing all you can to ensure that your water is safe for consumption? How much do you know about potentially harmful substances in the water that flows from your tap?
- One of the most dangerous contaminants you might find in your water is lead. Many pipes installed before 1986 are made of lead, and though water departments typically add phosphate during the treatment process to prevent the lead from leaching into your water, this is not a fool-proof solution. It’s important to keep lead out of the water, though, because lead exposure can cause cognitive and behavioral issues in children, and those effects are irreversible. You can’t detect lead in your water by the color, smell, taste, or feel: it’s only detected through testing by a certified laboratory. There’s no safe level of lead in water, so if your home, business, or your child’s school was built before 1986, you may want to collect a sample and send it in to be tested. If there is lead in your water, a certified water filtration system can help remove it. If you have children, talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.
- Lead is not the only thing that may be lurking behind your tap. Substances like chromium, cadmium, barium, thallium, and antimony can cause short term problems like skin irritation and digestive distress but can also have serious long-term effects on the body, causing problems like kidney disease and cancer. Aluminum can cause serious problems if consumed in large enough quantities, and many chemicals found in tap water may be carcinogenic. Further, microbial contaminants like viruses and bacteria can cause illness if present in drinking water.
- How can you know if your water is safe? The EPA is a great place to start. Visit the Ground and Drinking Water page of the EPA’s website, and you’ll find information on just about everything you need to know about clean water, from definitions and standards on contaminants to how to have your water tested. Contacting your local water company with your concerns is also a good idea, and you can also test the water yourself or hire a water testing company to do it for you.
- If you use well water, it’s important to test regularly. The EPA does not monitor private water supplies, so it’s your responsibility to keep up with your well water’s safety. Your local or state health or environmental departments can help you find a state-certified laboratory to perform the testing.
- There are steps you can take to make sure your drinking water is safe.
- Test it. An at-home water analysis kit can help determine the quality of your water, or you can find a lab to test it.
- Use a water filtration system. It’s easy to find a water filtration system that’s certified and approved by NSF and ANSI, whether you’re looking for one that filters water for your entire home, attaches to your tap, or sits on your kitchen counter.
- Keep up with your system’s maintenance. A water filtration system only works if it’s properly maintained and serviced, and filters are replaced on schedule.
- Pay attention to municipal water quality. In theory, local government should pass along information about the quality of the water in your area. If you have concerns, though, contact your local or state health department for information.
- Rely on your plumber to help keep your water safe. Sometimes, even if water is purified before it reaches your property, it becomes contaminated while moving through pipes that are old or in disrepair. Talk to your plumber about your concerns, to keep your pipes in good shape.
At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, we’ve been taking care of business owners and homeowners in Seattle for over 20 years, and we can meet all your heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Our team is well equipped to repair and service every part of your plumbing, including sewer lines, water heaters, leaky faucets, clogged sinks, and more. Family owned and operated, we provide superior service at affordable prices because our customers are our top priority. For help with your plumbing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call (206) 350-0079 or contact us through our website.