Bad News About Your Drinking Water...
During the 1990s, then-U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros traveled across the country. He saw many infrastructure problems needing attention. But none topped the water issue.
Here’s what he said at the time. “One of the most consistent and distressing problems I saw first-hand was the inadequacy of water infrastructure throughout the country.”
Unfortunately, some things never change. Nearly three decades later, the quality of America’s drinking water is still in trouble.
A report from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa declared this. “Our aging water infrastructure, particularly lead pipes, solder and faucets, represents a community health hazard of enduring significance.”
Water Tank Wasn’t Cleaned for 48 Years
For some time now, Americans have been aware that lead from pipes leading to homes has leached into water. High-profile cases in Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey put the country on alert.
But another issue has come to light with water storage tanks. Last year in Delray Beach, Florida, people noticed discolored and smelly tap water.
The problem was traced to one of the city’s water storage tanks. That’s where sediment had accumulated. Then it traveled into people’s homes through faucets and icemakers.
And get this – no records could be found of the tank being cleaned since it was built in 1972.
Insects, Feces and Dead Animals
If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip the next few paragraphs. Insects and animal feces have been found in some U.S. water storage tanks. They can cause diarrhea or respiratory infections.
Pigeon droppings and other animal excrement in those tanks have sickened entire communities.
If you think that’s gross, just wait. According to USA Today, inspectors have discovered even more disgusting things in water storage tanks. Including floating, bloated snakes, mice and raccoons.
Experts don’t know how many illnesses have been caused by these contaminations. But they estimate tens of millions of illnesses are related to contaminated water.
No Federal Laws to Help
There are no federal regulations governing water tank maintenance. It’s up to individual states to decide how often to clean tanks. Some states don’t require routine inspections.
Here’s what the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators learned from its survey. Only nine of 41 responding states require inspectors to check for sediment buildup or animal carcasses inside their tanks.
Even when states require inspections, they might not always occur. Delray Beach is a prime example.
And problems won’t be discovered if records of cleanings are falsified. One former city manager said there is “widespread corruption” in this area.
‘It’s a Real Problem’
In 2002, the EPA reported that one in four water storage tanks “have serious sanitary defects.” And as many as nine of 10 had “minor flaws that could lead to sanitary problems.”
As recently as 2015, sediment in 18 water storage tanks was analyzed. In at least a dozen of them, the legionella bacterium was discovered.
This is unacceptable to Erik Olson. He is the senior strategic director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“EPA basically lets the states pretty much do whatever they want to do. Without any meaningful oversight or auditing. It’s a real problem.”
A Very Costly Solution
So what would it cost to solve this dilemma? The EPA estimates the cost at $47 billion over 20 years for tanks to be upgraded.
There have been meetings to discuss the issue. But a decision could take years to make. And even then, new laws would require years to take effect.
Kristina Mena is a water safety expert at the University of Texas Health School of Public Health. It’s located in El Paso, Texas. She said the elderly and children are most at risk.
“When there have been waterborne outbreaks, those are the people that are going to have the more severe illness that may require hospitalization,” she said.
It Only Takes a Small Opening
How do insects and animals get inside water storage tanks? Usually through small openings where a steel-plate roof or wall has corroded.
Chip Stein is the managing principal at Tank Industry Consultants. He said this problem does not happen overnight.
“This is just neglect of inspection,” he said. “For a hole to have corroded through that plate… that tank probably hasn’t been looked at for 20 to 40 years.”
He said utilities need to inspect and clean the inside of their water storage tanks on a regular basis. Then they would be unlikely to contain sediment or animal contamination.
Contaminated Tanks Just One Problem
Contaminated water storage tanks represent only one problem affecting America’s water quality.
Water treatment plants aren’t always 100 percent effective. And pipes carrying water from plants to homes and businesses can pollute water.
Many times water pollution issues remain undiscovered. At least until well after people have been consuming contaminated water.
The best thing to ensure that your family has clean drinking water is to acquire a reliable water purification system.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn my recommended solution is the Patriot Pure Ultimate Water Filtration System.
Easy to set up and use, it’s intended for your kitchen countertop. But you can take it anywhere. Including in your RV on the way to your cabin or campsite.
A single filter provides 5,700 gallons of fresh, clean water. It holds over two gallons of water. But at only 22 inches tall and 8½ inches wide, it doesn’t take up too much space.
The Patriot Pure removes up to 99.9 percent of contaminants from your drinking water. Including heavy metals such as lead, copper and aluminum. As well as bacteria and viruses, arsenic, chlorine, fluoride and pharmaceuticals.
Plus volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and cysts. And perfluorinated chemicals.