What’s in your water?

October 2, 2017

water quality

The tap water in our homes comes from either surface water or groundwater. Public water systems provide treated water from surface and groundwater for public use. Groundwater is the source for private wells.

How do you know if the water in your home is safe to drink?

Owners of private wells and other individual water systems are responsible for testing their own water to ensure that it’s safe from contaminants

The EPA is responsible for making sure that public water supplies within the United States are safe. The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act gave the EPA authority to set the standards for drinking water quality and oversee the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.

Drinking water can be tested as often as necessary depending on the location and size of the public water system. Certain contaminants are tested for more frequently than others, as set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Every community water supplier must provide an annual report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to its customers. The report provides information on local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water. Even though the annual report is public information, most communities do not mail this report to residents. For example in Silt, the report is available upon request at the town hall.

Most people are unaware of the contaminants lurking in their drinking water. Now you can find out online at the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Tap Water Database.

How to use the Tap Water Database

Click here to access the database. Click on your state or enter your zip code.

For example, my zip code is 81652. When I enter it, I am provided with a list of all local districts that provide drinking water from Aspen to Battlement Mesa. Along with municipalities, all subdivisions, homeowners associations, mobile home parks, resorts and ditches that provide public drinking are listed.

Next, click on your drinking water source. From there you will learn how many contaminants, their names, and the levels found in your drinking water. Click on the plus sign to the right of the contaminant to find out the levels contained in your drinking water.

For example Silt’s bromodichloromethane levels at 10.1 ppb far exceed national and state standards at about 4.5 ppb. Actually Silt has high levels of 6 out of 7 contaminants. We don’t drink Silt tap water and haven’t since 2010. Plus we have a water filtration system in our home. We do what we can to reduce our exposure to the contaminants in our water.

EWG’s Tap Water Database is a smart, comprehensive and detailed resource which will help you decide whether you should continue to drink your tap water. No matter where you live in the U.S.

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