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Water Quality Issues

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The news has been filled in recent days with stories about contaminated drinking water. You do not want to wait until your town becomes a news story before you take action. You need to find out now if your water is fit to drink. You can take several steps to ensure that you and your family are safe from unsafe substances.

Color and Smell

Often, the way your water looks and smells is an excellent indicator of its potability. If your water comes out of the tap looking red or brown, you probably have too much iron in your water supply. Too much iron is usually more of a cosmetic problem, leading to stained fixtures, but it can be a health problem for people with hemochromatosis, a disease that allows you to absorb too much iron into your system, damaging internal organs. If your water is blue or green, it could mean that it contains too much copper. At a high level, copper can cause serious digestive problems.


Unfortunately, many water problems are not detectable by sight or taste. In those instances, you have to rely on testing done by federal or local agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency posts their water quality results every year on their website. If you have concerns, you can also ask your supplier to test your water for you.  If you have a private well or other source of water on your property, you will need to pay a water testing service to evaluate your water. You may use a home kit for testing, but these are not particularly sophisticated. They may serve as an indication that more in-depth testing needs to be done.


If you do have a contamination problem, you need to have a purification system installed as soon as possible. For many people, a whole-house filter is the best solution. These systems can remove sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and other harmful substances. Considering what dangers lurk in the water table, a quality filtration system is an excellent investment.

On the local level, you can push for an improved water and sewage treatment plant. Towns and cities with aging plants and infrastructure raise the likelihood that your home's water will be contaminated. Although federal regulations are in place, they do not mean that your city is in compliance. Timely upgrades to physical plants are essential to your community's health.

Although municipalities are under federal guidelines for water quality, you need to be proactive in protecting your home's water. You have to be even more diligent if your water comes from a private supply. If your water looks and smells bad, you may well have a serious problem. Other non-visible threats exist as well. Check the EPA website and consider paying for individual testing to keep you and your family safe from water contamination.