Why filter your water?
Did you know that the Clean Water Act of 1972 was more about decontaminating our lakes, rivers and other bodies of water from industrial pollution than providing clean drinking water to our homes? The Act did, however, lead to the development of how municipalities treat the water that is delivered to our homes.
The basics of municipal water treatment are as follows:
• Filtering through screens to remove large sediment and debris. This leaves suspended particles and dissolved substances in the water.
• Gravity filtration – this means they let the water sit still until sediment drops to the bottom. Then the sediment is removed through various means. However, this still leaves dissolved substances and small suspended particles in the water.
• Then the water is disinfected with chlorine. There are also other various treatments that are done on this level in different municipalities, but they all add chlorine.
All of this sounds pretty good, right? Well, there are a couple of catches. Herbicides, pesticides, trihalomethanes, pharmaceuticals, radioactive compounds and so many more contaminants are still in that water. Also, there is very little regulation about what that water encounters in the pipes on the way from the treatment facility to your home; very old pipes contain lead or have rusted. Workers have regularly encountered dead rodents and one community even found snakes in their pipes! Yum! Can I get you a glass of water? But this is only part of the problem.
Were you aware that chlorine was used extensively in WWI as a chemical warfare agent? Remember, too, what bleach is…. Chlorine! Do you still want that tall glass of water unfiltered?
As you might imagine, adding chemicals to the water for disinfecting is quite controversial. Adding chemicals may kill off the contaminants that will most likely lead to a sudden illness, but chemicals can have seriously harmful side effects over time.
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