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Drinking Water-Which is Best?
Water, if it is to be considered drinking water, must be capable of human consumption, causing illness or disease. Drinking water must be potable, i.e. clean or drinkable. All life on Earth needs drinking water. In particular, humans need at least 64 ounces or 8 cups of drinking water per day for optimal health.
In the United States, your drinking water can come from one of several sources.
Public drinking water system
The term “public water system” generally refers to any water system that has 15 or more connections or serves 25 or more persons. Water systems serving less than this are considered private water systems. Public water systems may be operated by cities or towns, state or federal agencies, other political subdivisions such as water districts and cooperatives, or private, for-profit corporations. Regardless of who owns and operates a public drinking water system, that system must meet all requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Private drinking water system?
The term “private water system” generally means any water system that serves between 1 and 14 service connections. The private drinking water system is not regulated by the government. However, owners of private wells and unregulated systems often have resources.
What can be done to keep our water clean?
Government laws are meant to keep our water clean. But do they work?
According to a national survey by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the proportion of rivers and streams with “good” water quality dropped from 65 percent in 1998 to 61 percent in 2000. Estuaries with “good” water quality dropped from 56 percent to 49 percent. percent in the same two-year period.
In a report, the EPA explained, “Wastewater treatment efficiency may level off, which, coupled with population and economic growth, may reverse hard-won water quality improvements. By 2016, pollution levels may be similar to levels observed in the mid-1970s.”
What do we do to keep our drinking water clean?
Such reports do not apply to drinking water from a kitchen or bathroom faucet. Is our drinking water clean?
The purity of tap water should not be taken for granted. A study of the drinking water systems of 19 American cities found that many cities rely on pre-World War I drinking water supply systems and treatments. These aged pipes will break at some point. When they do, they can leach contaminants into the drinking water they deliver. These old-fashioned water treatment plants were built to filter particles from the water and kill some of the parasites and bacteria, but many of them are unable to remove modern pollutants.
On a more positive note, many US cities have upgraded their systems. They provide good drinking water because:
* They protect the sources of their water (lakes, streams, reservoirs and wells) against pollution
* Provide good quality pipes and maintain them at all times
* Have modern purification equipment large enough and high-tech enough to keep our drinking water clean.
The Safe Drinking Water Act, a national law to protect tap water in the United States, oversees local government regulations for drinking water.
Bottled drinking water
If you are concerned about drinking water, you can choose to buy bottled water. American citizens spend billions of dollars on bottled drinking water every year. Some people use it instead of other drinks. Others use bottled drinking water because they like the taste or think it’s safer than tap water.
Bottled drinking water comes from sources similar to tap water. It comes from rivers and lakes or underground aquifers. The taste and quality of bottled drinking water varies from brand to brand. It can even vary within the same brand, depending on the source of the particular bottle. Even bottled drinking water can contain at least small amounts of impurities. It may meet USFDA standards, but those standards do not require absolute purity.
Purified drinking water
Finally, you can choose to purify your water through one of the many filtration systems available. Purification systems can be as simple as a jug filled with water and fed through a filter. You can connect a filter to the faucet in the kitchen or to the water line under the kitchen sink. You may get your purified drinking water from a carbon filtration system or invest in a reverse osmosis system.
Purified drinking water is more expensive per gallon than tap water, but can provide peace of mind and/or the health you desire.
Drinking water, if it is to be considered drinking water, must be suitable for human consumption, causing illness or disease. The challenge may be smaller or bigger where you live, but it’s worth meeting.
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