Most of us take for granted that we will have safe, clean tap water coming out of our faucets and think nothing of the dangers presented by not filtering and/or purifying our water prior to use.
- Cryptosporidium, a gastrointestinal parasite, contaminated the municipal drinking water of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1993 and caused one hundred deaths. ( source )
- A deadly strain of e.coli bacteria found its way into the municipal water supply of Walkerton, Canada in 2000 causing hundreds of residents ill and eventually taking the lives of seven people. ( source )
It sounds shocking that such horrible water quality tragedies could happen in modern times given the frequency of municipal water testing, but two very important facts stand out if you take the time to think about the way in which municipal water systems operate:
- Municipal water systems test for a set number of water quality parameters and sometimes rare, unusual, and often not-tested-for water vermin like Cryptosporidium can easily slip past even the most stringent water testing programs. Example: Milwaukee, WI in 1993.
- Municipal water systems test water at the point of distribution, not use. This means the water leaves water treatment facilities fully tested and approved for consumption… but keep in mind that the water must travel through many miles of piping and plumbing with literally thousands of joints and welds where harmful contaminants could find their way into the water if only one of those places has cracked or otherwise become deficient.
So as you can see, even the best water treatment plants in the world with the best records for drinking water quality cannot issue a 100% guarantee that your tap water will contain no unwanted contaminants. Once water leaves their grounds its quality can change for innumerable reasons and in innumerable ways… so ultimate responsibility for making sure you have safe, clean tap water falls on… your shoulders.
Installing the correct point-of-use water filtration and/or purification system (i.e. countertop, undersink, whole house, shower, etc.) can negate pretty much all the possible risks associated with water contamination between the distribution point and your favorite glass.
Take the time to learn about the different point-of-use water treatment options you have available and, of course, don’t forget to test your drinking water periodically, even after installing a filtration/purification system, to make sure it continues to function properly!