A clean water supply is a basic need for every human on the planet. The far-reaching benefits of good water quality are not to be underestimated. Still, in today’s modern world, many risks threaten our water supply. Clearly, vigilance is necessary to ensure that the water we are drinking is safe.
What exactly is threatening our water supply? What are the benefits of good water quality in the home? Beyond that – how can we ensure our water supply at home is safe?
As experts in the water testing field, the Air Quality Consultants team is here to address these important questions. First, let’s make an honest appraisal of threats to our water supply here in Virginia and nationwide.
Threats to Good Quality Water Supply
The President’s Cancer Panel published a 2010 report known as Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now.
Here are just two examples the report gives of threats to America’s water supply:
“Disinfection of public water supplies has dramatically reduced the incidence of waterborne illnesses and related mortality in the United States, but research indicates that long-term exposure to disinfection by-products such as trihalomethanes may increase cancer risk,” explains the report.
Yes, ironically, in an effort to clean the water supply, another risk has arisen from the very disinfectants used for the cleaning.
Another toxic chemical known as trichloroethylene (TCE) – found in industrial solvents such as paint thinners, adhesives and spot removers – has been classified as a possible carcinogenic, AKA cancer causer. Studies have revealed TCE to be strongly linked with kidney and liver cancer and possibly cervical cancer, leukemia, and other forms of cancer.
“TCE now is the most frequently detected organic solvent in groundwater and is present in as much as 34 percent of the nation’s drinking water supplies,” the report reveals.
Beyond these two cancer-causing chemicals potentially lurking in the water, what else could be threatening our water supply?
Consider this incomplete list of a few other threats to the American water supply:
- Pesticides / herbicides
- Fecal contaminants
- Industrial chemicals
- Bacteria (E. coli, coliform, etc.)
Professional Virginia Water Testing
Benefits of High Water Quality
1. Promotes Overall Health
In view of the above risks threatening to compromise the quality of our water supply, it’s no surprise that the quality of our drinking water is directly related to our overall health.
The Mayo Clinic outlines just how important water is to the healthy function of the human body. “Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water:
- Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
- Keeps your temperature normal
- Lubricates and cushions joints
- Protects sensitive tissues.”
Drinking enough water every day is important, to be sure. However, it’s just as important to ensure that the water we drink is not just the right quantity, but also the right quality.
2. Saves the Environment
Most homeowners who doubt the quality of their tap water supply seek safety by opting for bottled water instead. Still, this solution does not come without environmental cost.
Go Green explains that “Despite the fact that tap water is declared safe for consumption by the EPA, 1500 plastic water bottles are being used every second in the United States alone.”
To get a snapshot of the environmental impact of mass bottled water consumption, Go Green discusses the increasingly well-known fact that water bottles finally end up in overflowing in landfills, floating out at sea or in rivers, or littering sidewalks.
“It was approximated that 46,000 pieces of plastic trash are floating on the ocean per square mile. This plastic is killing animals, leaking chemicals and disrupting ecosystems,” they report.
Yes, a single plastic water bottle can take as much as one thousand years to decompose, and in the process releases more toxic, cancer-causing chemicals into the soil and water. Not to mention the amount of fossil fuel and energy used to manufacture water bottles.
Achieving high quality, safe-to-drink tap water in the home works to greatly minimize the demand, production, and consumption of plastic water bottles.
3. Protects Hair and Skin
Some homeowners reason that because they have chosen not to drink their tap water, it is unnecessary to act to improve the quality of the water in their home.
Still, our daily activities involving water reach beyond simply drinking it. Every day we bathe or shower using tap water as well as use it to frequently wash our hands. Our bodies come into frequent contact with the tap water in our home.
Impurities in the water supply can actually damage human hair. For example, excess chlorine acts to break down proteins in the hair. Chlorine can also irritate the skin when showering.
Other chemicals in the water can lead to skin dryness and irritation. Exposure to chemicals through bathing (such as the ones discussed at the outset) may even increase risk of cancer.
4. Extends Life of Your Appliances
High quality softened water can actually help your appliances run at top efficiency, including washing machines, water heaters, dish washers, and more.
In a Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) study conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute, data revealed that softened water helped major home appliances operate more efficiently in the long-run when compared to machines operating with hard water.
In regards to water heaters, “the researchers found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years. Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent. Scale buildup shortened the lifespan of the heating elements inside electric water heaters, and some tankless water heaters using hard water failed after just 1.6 years.”
Even the most high-end appliances will not be able to function properly long-term if the water is poor quality. Imagine the compounded cost of operating and frequently replacing major appliances simply because of low water quality.
5. Good Quality Water Saves Money
Achieving good, quality tap water in the home may require an investment of time, energy, and resources. Still, the return on investment may be more substantial than you think.
Poor water quality can stain clothes, damage plumbing, hurt appliances, and force you to look outside the home for drinking water. All of these consequences of contaminated water represent wasted time and money.
Even more important, however, is the fact that unchecked water quality problems pose a serious health threat to you and your family. This could lead to the stressful medical bills and emotional pain associated with health problems.
6. Protects Pregnant Mothers and Babies
Clean, high quality water is especially crucial to the health of expecting mothers, developing babies, nursing mothers, and newborns.
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact sheet regarding Home Water Testing advises “Test for nitrate in the early months of a pregnancy, before bringing an infant home, and again during the first six months of the baby’s life.”
Indeed, studies have revealed that exposure to nitrates as well as other harmful contaminants in water (lead, pesticides, etc.) endangers the development of infants in utero as well as newborn babies.
Pregnancy is a time to be extra vigilant as to ensuring and maintaining a high quality water supply in the home. In fact, clean water is important at all stages of life.
Test Your Home’s Water Supply for Good Quality
Professional water testing is the best way to investigate the state of your water supply. With some water contaminants, such as odorless and tasteless lead, there is no way to tell if your water is unsafe except for testing.
The previously quoted EPA document further recommends “Test water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps or the well casing.”
Water testing is a worthy investment. Be sure that when you hire a local Virginia Beach water testing company, you opt for a professional, experienced water tester partnered with a certified lab. This will ensure that your investment is worthwhile and the results are accurate.
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from safeguarding your family from the threat of contaminated water. Stop guessing – start testing!
Contact Air Quality Consultants today to schedule professional water testing in your Virginia Beach or Richmond home. We look forward to helping you and your family take positive steps toward achieving high quality water in the home.