Ordinarily when a water treatment facility’s product tests positive for too great a concentration of a heavy metal such as lead, copper, iron, mercury, etc. all sorts of people — especially environmental watchdog groups — lay the blame on the doorstep of the water treatment facility.
But not this time. Environmental Working Group (EWG), a lobbying group hailing from Washington, D.C., regards the finding of hexavalent chromium in several public water supplies as a problem, yes, but not necessarily all the fault of local water treatment facilities.
Instead, EWG would like for people to place the blame with the sources of chromium contamination.
Makes perfectly good sense to us. Stopping the flow of pollutants from entering the water supply sure would take a lot of the burden off of water treatment plants and ultimately off of the end user… AKA: All of us in the general public.
A Washington D.C. based environmental group says it’s not trying to put blame on local cities for contamination of hexavalent chromium. A single sample taken an Avion Water Company customer’s tap was one of 35 taken across the country that showed levels in excess of what the State of California is proposing as a public health standard. “This is an upstream pollution problem that needs to be stopped at the source. We need better water source protection and while we do advocate all utilities do their own testing for this and let their all their customers know the results, this doesn’t mean that they’re the ones responsible for the pollution.”
Leanne Brown with the Environmental Working Group says the only consumer level filtering system that can remove this chemical is a reverse osmosis system. Hexavalent chromium can come from manufacturing, pulp mills, and leather tanning. ( source )
So where does that leave average people like us? In the exact same place as before this result… in charge of making sure we have safe, clean drinking water going into our glasses.
Obviously a problem with chromium-6 pollution exists in this country and we, as end users, will not know whether or not we personally have chromium-6 (hexavalent chromium) in our own water supplies unless we perform testing on a periodic basis.
How to test for chromium-6 (hexavalent chromium) in your water
As usual, nothing beats laboratory testing of your water by a certified water testing laboratory (i.e. National Testing Labs)… but that does not mean each and every test needs to get shipped off to a lab.
Periodic testing for chromium-6 using at-home drinking water test kits between annual (or more frequent) lab testing provides continual piece of mind and does not cost a fortune.
SenSafe manufactures a simple dip-n-read test strip for hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) that provides results in under 2 minutes… and 50 tests costs somewhere in the neighborhood of around $14.00 (about $0.28 per test!).
Detection Levels for the SenSafe product: 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 25, 50 mg/L (parts per million).
If we found one metal, might there be more?
No one can answer that question honestly… without conducting additional testing. A home or business owner might assume that the presence of chromium or other heavy metals such as lead, mercury, etc. also exist in their water supply, but as we said, without additional testing no one will know for sure.
A good way to test for metals commonly found in drinking water?
If you want a fast and inexpensive testing method for metals in drinking water that will tell you if you have a dissolved metals concentration greater than 10 parts per billion in your water, take a look at the Water Metals Check Test Strips.
While this product will not tell you exactly WHICH metal(s) your water contains, it will allow you to quickly and easily determine whether or not you will want to opt for other, more ion specific testing.