How do I know if water quality in my home is safe?The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an organization that is responsible for making sure that U.S. public water supplies are safe. Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, which gave the EPA authority to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee those who implement these standards. If you want to take a look at the water quality in your home for yourself, the EPA makes this possible by requiring each water agency to provide households with a Consumer Confidence Report each year. This water quality report contains details about any contaminants that may be present in your water as well as the health risks that this may pose. Your water agency will typically send your report with your bill or make it available as a PDF for those who have online billing. If you want to get more information about your water quality, you can also use the EPA website to find your CCR online.
Should I have my water tested?If you use public water systems for your home water, then you will have access to the Consumer Confidence Report. However, you may still want to have your water tested if you suspect that lead is in your home plumbing materials or water service lines. Testing is the only way to see if lead is present in your water. Also, if you are considering a home water treatment unit, then you’ll want to have your water tested to find out what elements you may want to remove. If you have a private water supply, it is your responsibility to ensure that it’s safe. It is highly recommended for those with a private water supply to routinely test for common contaminants. Here are some other factors that may indicate you should have your private water supply tested:
- There is a pregnant mother, nursing infant, or new baby in the home.
- You experience taste, odor, or staining issues.
- There was a chemical or fuel spill/leak near your water supply.
- Family members are experiencing unexpected illness.
Do I need a filtration system?According to the EPA, more than 90 percent of the water supply in the U.S. is safe to drink straight from the tap. That being said, some people may still need a water filtration system in their home in order to improve the quality of their water. If you have had your water tested, and there is a high level of lead or other contaminants such as radon, then you may need a water filtration system. People who have compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, may also want to implement a water filtration system.
What can I do to prevent water pollution?There are many simple things you and your family can do to prevent water pollution in your neighborhood and surrounding communities. Here are just a few ways you can promote clean and safe water in your community.
- Pick up after your pets.
- Avoid using fertilizers that contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Fix any leaks on vehicles and use a liner to collect oil and other materials when working on cars in the driveway.
- Do not flush unwanted or expired medications down the toilet or drain.
- Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps or cleaning products.
- Choose non-toxic household cleaners and products.
- Do not put anything but water into storm drains.