Everyone likes to think the water they drink is contaminant free, whether it is not tested at all or analyzed by the best water testing labs in the country. Unfortunately, safe drinking water is no longer something that can be taken for granted. Here are some examples of how pervasive water contamination is across the country.
The Big Picture
While it was well known that certain water systems and districts had contamination issues, the extent of contamination is far greater than most people thought. In fact, contaminants have been found in all 50 states.
Just about everyone has heard about the Flint, MI, water crisis. In April of 2014, Flint officials altered the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to Flint River.
After doing so, they neglected to add corrosion inhibitors and lead from aging pipes got into the water supply, leading to over 100,000 residents being exposed to elevated levels of the heavy metal.
In late 2013, some residents in this tiny town in southern NH had their water tested and found elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA.) PFOA is suspected to cause some cancers and liver disease as well as to exacerbate asthma and increase the risk of thyroid disease.
The chemical was traced to a local manufacturer and was discovered in several private wells as well as the municipal wells used to supply a portion of the town with water. Mitigation is ongoing, almost a decade later and some folks still cannot drink their tap water.
Flood Water Contamination
Each year, somewhere in the USA floods, usually in spring and when it happens, in that area, drinking water restrictions and bans are put into place because of contamination. A broached drinking water supply can introduce viruses, bacteria and parasites as well as chemicals into the drinking water supply that can take months and even years to fully decontaminate.
Just about every state has had at least an isolated case of this type of contamination in the last five years. With some rivers, flooding it is a common, if not annual, occurrence affecting multiple states and spanning hundreds of miles. .
Other Contamination Sources
Contamination is not just limited to manufacturers, public officials or flooding. Firefighting out west has poisoned some water supplies. Legal and illegal disposal of drugs has contaminated some areas. Multiple military bases have also contaminated water supplies.
This should make clear, you have a choice: Get searching for “the best water testing labs near me” and get your water tested or take a gamble. As these examples prove, that gamble is not one you are likely to win.