What You Need to Know about Your Tap Water
In Canada, people take clean safe water for granted. With the twist of a knob we receive hot or cold water instantly – an overlooked convenience that millions of people in developing countries would never dare dream of.
We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country of such common luxuries.
However, there needs to be a wake up call regarding the very real threats to our drinking water. In this month’s newsletter we discuss what these threats are and offer suggestions we as individuals can take to help safeguard this vitally important resource.
Common Contaminants in the Public Water Supply
The reality is many contaminating compounds find their way into our public water supply. Yes, communities and municipalities routinely treat water for safe consumption, but they can’t catch it all. These contaminants make it into our cups through environmental conditions, pollution of ground water and from contaminants in the air.
Common contaminant sources include runoff from sewage, older buildings with lead pipes and heavy industrial activity from within the city. Pharmaceutical drugs flushed down the toilet are also on the radar of water of municipal water services
One of the biggest threats to our drinking water supply Canada-wide is nitrate. Nitrate is a common ingredient of chemical fertilizers used to keep grass on golf courses so green. It’s also found in human sewage and livestock manure.
Another major contaminant and a growing concern for most Provinces is de-icing salts that are applied to icy roads, driveways and sidewalks during the winter time.
What we can do as families and individuals is reduce our use of chemical fertilizer and rock salt. They are taking a toll on our environment, so more thoughtful application of both can make a difference.
Find Out What’s In Your Water
By law, communities must provide annual water quality reports to residents. The reading isn’t up to Tom Clancy standards, but it’s important nonetheless because it discloses information about the kinds and amounts of contaminants in your water.
That said, don’t rely on these reports too much. The information is broad and generalized, and your home may have unique issues. To ensure water purity, many households send a water sample in for individual testing. Many companies offer this service, so they are easy to find, and it’s probably a good idea if you’re looking to buy a water filtration system.
Adding In-Home Water Purification
If all this talk of contaminates has you unsettled, a filtration system can address your worries. These systems come in many different types, from whole-house products to devices that attach to individual faucets throughout the home.
Obviously, these devices vary in price and effectiveness, so getting your water tested beforehand will help you make a more informed choice.
How To Reduce Contaminants In Your Water Now
Even without professional water testing or an in-home filtration system, you can still reduce your intake of contaminants by adhering to these three easy rules:
- Don’t drink hot water from the tap, and don’t use it to boil your rice or pasta either. Hot water frees up lead particles in old pipe joints, and some hot water tanks are lined with porcelain or some other metallic substance
- To avoid plastic residues leeching into your water, don’t use plastic jugs and spoons, and don’t buy water in plastic bottles
- Fill a glass jug with tap water and store it in the fridge for a day to evaporate the chlorine. Your tap water will seem cleaner and fresher too