Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

Why should you spend money on bottled water or expensive filters that must be replaced over and over again? Why can’t you just drink water from the faucet. I mean isn’t it safe to drink tap water? The answer depends on how you define “safe” and where you live.

Regulating Safe

If the government says the water is safe to drink, it must be safe. Starting with the 1972 Clean Water Act, the federal government started to define “clean” and “safe”. It was clear that we needed to do something about water quality. As a case in point, the Cuyahoga River was on fire. That’s right, a river in Ohio was so polluted it burned.

Cuyahoga River on Fire

The same waterways all over the country that were closed to swimming and fishing were still sources of drinking water. Is that what you call safe? So, the government acted in a broad way. Let’s break it down. Congress created laws. The Clean Water Act:

  • Set wastewater standards for industry
  • Set water quality standards for contaminants in surface water
  • Created the Office of Water.

Now it’s the Office of Water that we need to take a look at. These are the D.C. bureaucrats that develop drinking water standards. In other words, these cats define safe. So, do you think you define safe the same way they define safe?

EPA rules define whether it is safe to drink tap waterDrinking Water Regulations

The Office of Water decides what contaminants they will regulate. Then they define what level they deem to be safe. And just to keep everyone on their toes they require that the standards be reviewed and updated every 6 years.

In case you didn’t catch it, there are serious implications to “safety” here. By continually assessing and updating the standards they think they are making tap water safer to drink. But here’s the rub. When they change the standards, it means that the water you drank for 6 years and were told was “safe” is now unsafe. The water didn’t change, only the regulation changed.

Stick with me here.

The water you drank 10 years ago and were told was “safe” isn’t safe by today’s standards. The “safe” water you drink today probably won’t be considered safe in another 10 years. Now do you think tap water is safe?

How much cyanide do you feel like drinking? The government says you can have 0.2 parts per million (ppm) in your water. Does that amount of cyanide make you feel safe?

Does Dalapon sound tasty? It’s an herbicide sprayed on right-of-ways to control grass and weeds. You can have up to 0.2 ppm in your water and still be safe. That’s until they decide that level isn’t safe and decrease it. Then “safe” water suddenly isn’t safe.

Testing the Water

Now the Office of Water says the entities that supply drinking water must test it regularly and tell users when they don’t meet standards. But that still doesn’t mean the water is safe.

These guys in California were found guilty in federal court of supplying contaminated water to Monterey County residents.  Or how about the City of Pompano Beach Florida? The State of Florida rescinded their lab’s ability to certify safety for a time because they were sloppy with tests and test results. Broward New Times broke the story and forced the state to act.

Or how about when New York City had to enter into a consent decree because they got caught supplying unfiltered water from the Croton Water Supply.

Safe to Drink Tap Water?

So, tap water is safe to drink if you don’t mind Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Diquat, Ethylbenzene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Methoxychlor, Styrene, or a host of other chemicals. That’s because there are acceptable levels of those toxins. Stay within the standards and chug all those chemicals you want.

So, know you know. Tap water is safe to drink if you don’t mind chemicals and you have complete trust in your water supply. As for me, I’ll just drink my Aquathin filtered water. I know it’s safe.

 

 

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