You probably remember when it became fashionable for people to get their drinking water from little plastic bottles and filtered systems, rather than out of the good, old tap. For many years now, drinking tap water, in the face of all the “new and improved” ways of accessing water to consume, has been viewed little differently from drinking water out of a ditch by the side of the road.
Even while embracing the trend toward premium water, some have held its indulgence in some disdain, believing that any talk that such water is really better or healthier - or that tap water is really worse - is just hype.
Well, according to a new study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and reported by Western Journalism, it looks as though that those who’ve been careful to avoid drinking tap water for years now may have had it right all along. A report by the NRDC says that, in 2015, nearly 77 million Americans – almost a quarter of the entire U.S. population - accessed drinking water from over 18,000 public providers that were in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act. The range of violations is substantial, and included such things as not testing the water for contaminants and failing to report found incidents of contamination to appropriate authorities (or to the public).
The issue of contaminated drinking water in the United States prominently resurfaced in recent years because of the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Back in 2014, Flint changed the source of its drinking water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River…to the insufficiently and improperly treated Flint River; anti-corrosives were not applied to the Flint River, causing lead from pipes to leach into the city’s water supply at significantly elevated levels.
Per the NRDC, however, Flint is by no means the only place where dangerous drinking water lurks.
“Flint was a wake-up call for Americans, but it’s not the only place in the United States with tap water problems,” says Erik Olson, NRDC Director of Health. “Thousands of other cities and small towns across the country are serving water with lead or other contamination problems to millions of people.”
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large