WATER AND WATER QUALITY
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Let’s get started with a few facts……..
And a few more facts (scary!) about water quality:
- Around 70% of the industrial waste is dumped into the water bodies where they pollute the usable water supply.
- Fourteen billion pounds of garbage mostly plastic, is dumped into the ocean every year.
- 15 million children under the age of five die each year because of diseases caused by drinking water.
- In America, 40% of the rivers and 46% of the lakes are polluted and are considered unhealthy for swimming, fishing or aquatic life.
- As per U.S. EPA estimates, every year in the U.S, 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage from household, industry and restaurants is dumped in to U.S. water annually.
- Plastic waste being a major water pollutant, is causing huge destruction of marine life and is believed to be responsible for deaths of more than 100,000 sea mammals, sea birds and various types of fishes.
- Aquatic animals have faced an estimated extinction rate five times more than that of terrestrial animals.
- Cruise ships are also a major source of water pollution. They produce over 200,000 gallons of sewage which is mostly released in the ocean. Apart from that, they are also causing at least 35,000 gallons of water contamination due to oil spills.
What is Water Quality?
As defined by the World Health Organization, “Water quality is a term used to express the suitability of water to sustain various uses or processes. Any particular use will have certain requirements for the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of water; for example limits on the concentrations of toxic substances for drinking water use, or restrictions on temperature and pH ranges for water supporting invertebrate communities.”
Drinking water standards are regulations that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) sets to control the level of contaminants in the nation’s drinking water. These standards are part of the Safe Drinking Water Act that protects public drinking water supplies throughout the nation. It includes assessing and protecting drinking water sources; protecting wells and collection systems; making sure water is treated by qualified operators; ensuring the integrity of distribution systems; and making information available to the public on the quality of their drinking water.
Each regulation outlines the requirements that systems must follow. It is the role of each state and local government to make sure their utilities follow these regulations, to ensure safe drinking water for the general public.
The EPA provides a good deal of useful information for both the professional plumber and consumers. Here is a link to their website: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/water-topics For state specific information: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/state-specific-water-quality-standards-effective-under-clean-water-act-cwa
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To Test or Not To Test?
Depending on where your water is coming from will help determine if your home water should be tested. Water companies generally draw water from nearby lakes, rivers, and groundwater – and most people get their water through these companies. This water is filtered to remove harmful particles and pollutants. The water company is responsible for the cleanliness of your water and is required to meet the government mandated safety regulations. Consumers may request a regular report from the water company they use that will tell them about the safety and cleanliness of their water.
Americans that live in rural areas typically get their water from wells – about 15% of Americans. It is recommended that well owners test their water once a year with the National Ground Water Association. https://www.ngwa.org/
For more detailed information about water quality testing, visit https://www.fondriest.com/environmental-measurements/equipment/measuring-water-quality/
The Professionals Role in Water Quality
The World Health Organization has declared plumbers the most important front line health workers around the globe. The professional plumbing industry makes significant contributions every day to all aspects of water quality, conservation and water reuse.
The plumber is responsible for ensuring the plumbing system is safely installed and to help guide homeowners in their decisions about their water systems.
Plumbers will also help homeowners by providing them the information they need to determine the worthiness of investing in water treatment options for a healthy life, but also to extend the life of plumbing system, tankless water heater, fixtures, etc.
Other resources for information on water quality:
The Water Quality Association: https://www.wqa.org/improve-your-water/benefits-of-good-water-quality
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Healthy Water: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/
History of the Clean Water Act: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/history-clean-water-act
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