In 2014, a tragedy that unfolded in Flint, Mich., drew considerable news coverage and sparked concern among homeowners far and wide. The Flint water crisis occurred when the drinking water source for Michigan’s seventh largest city was changed from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. The change was a cost-saving measure that, thanks to insufficient water treatment, exposed more than 100,000 Flint residents to elevated lead levels.
Many people may never have given a second thought to the quality of their drinking water prior to the Flint water crisis. However, in the aftermath of the crisis, which had yet to be fully resolved as of spring 2019, homeowners across the globe began to wonder about their own water and if there was anything they could do to ensure it was of the highest quality.
The Environmental Protection Agency notes that knowing some of the basic facts about water testing can help homeowners determine if they need to have their water tested.
What are some signs of poor water quality?
Unexplained illnesses might be a result of poor water quality, though such issues should always be discussed with a physician the moment symptoms appear, as they can be indicative of a host of other issues as well. The EPA notes that recurrent gastrointestinal illness might be caused by the presence of coliform bacteria in the water supply.
Changes in taste, color and odor are other possible indicators of poor water quality. The EPA recommends that people who notice their water has an objectionable taste or smell have it tested for hydrogen sulfide, corrosion and metals.
Various other factors can adversely affect water quality, and homeowners can find a list of those factors by visiting the EPA website at epa.gov.
What if my water is supplied by a public water system?
Homeowners who pay a water bill are getting their water from a public water system. The water in such systems is monitored and tested, and the results of such tests are reported by state agencies tasked with ensuring the water meets previously established standards for health. Water companies are required to notify customers if any contaminants that can cause illness or other problems have been found in their water. Water-quality reports are typically issued annually in many communities, and residents should read these reports to ensure their water is safe.
What if my water does not come from a public water system?
If drinking water does not come from a public water system or if it comes from a household well, then it’s up to homeowners to have the water tested. The EPA advises regular testing in such instances.