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HOW A MUNICIPAL WATER DISASTER CAN HAPPEN

A municipal water disaster can present itself without warning. The potential for adverse health effects can be great. Contact your city’s municipal water department for the latest report on the safety and quality of your water. The following are examples of water disasters that took the residents of these cities by surprise.

Most recently the Flint Michigan water disaster comes to mind. Flint had switched using the Detroit water system to using the Flint River. Soon after, high levels of lead were detected in tested homes. The water from the river was corrosive to the city water pipes which leached lead into the water supply. Lead poisoning can cause organ damage. In children it can cause brain damage.

Our nations capitol Washington, D.C. faced a water crisis when it was discovered that their lead levels were unacceptable. It was found that the change from using chlorine to chloramine caused premature pipe corrosion resulting in lead leaching into the water supply.

Cryptosporidium, a parasite, lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals. Feces from hosts can enter municipal water supplies by farm runoff and storm water. Milwaukee Wisconsin had a cryptosporidiosis outbreak in 1993 which caused illness to 400,000 people. Of which at least 69 people died. This incident became the largest documented waterborne disease outbreak in U.S. History. Cryptosporidium oocysts are tiny and were able to pass through the water facility’s filtration system. Milwaukee has put in place practices that has improved water quality security including water monitoring equipment and updated filters.

In 2014, the Toledo , Ohio metropolitan area residents were under an order not to drink or cook with the water. Samples taken from a water treatment plant indicated a toxin call microcystin. This toxin was a result of a large bloom of algae on Lake Erie. Microcystins form with the conditions of warm stagnant water and oversupply of nutrients. Fertilizer runoff from cropland contributing to the process. Ingestion of this toxin can cause liver damage.

It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have an emergency supply of water in an event of a water crisis. Your water supply should include one gallon of water per person for three days. Ideally This water should be commercially bottled and sealed to ensure its safety. Rotate out bottles with close expiration dates. Include extra water if you have pets.

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Reasons To Call A Water Treatment Professional And What To Expect

The loudest indicator you may want to get your water checked out is if it contains a funny taste, color, or odor. There may not be anything wrong with the water, just like seemingly clean water may have unwanted contaminants. Water that smells might have high levels of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria. Taste and color can vary along with many properties found in water. All these things can easily be explained with quick and simple testing.

If you’ve moved into a new home, especially if you’ve purchased a home, it’s a great time to test your water and make any adjustments necessary to optimize your water supply. If over time you realize that your water use appliances are working less efficiently or have residue build up, this is another indicator that your water levels should be checked and optimized for the life of your appliances, as well as other fixtures around the home. Another instance you may want to call a professional is if there is a resident in the home with a compromised immune system and you want to take the most precautions possible.

If you’ve found yourself in any of these situations, you can find yourself a local water treatment professional and make an appointment for them to come to the home and test.. Another option is to take a sample of the water yourself and mail it to a qualified laboratory for testing. If done in the home, the test only takes but ten minutes. Some of the things being tested for are the following: bacteria, micro-organisms, hardness, PH, acidity, alkalinity, sulfur, nitrite, nitrate, metals, chlorine and pesticides.

Once the results are obtained, you or your water treatment professional will be able to compare what you’ve got against the recommendations for safe levels of each element. From there you will be given the appropriate suggestions to modify your home to eliminate or balance any issues. This may include installing water filters (of many sizes, placements, types and purposes) or a water softener, and further water testing appointments in the future!

Somewhat common and potentially poisonous elements that could be found in your water include fluoride, chlorine, many types of pesticides and gasoline additives. These things can cause serious damage to vital organs with long term exposure. Testing is an excellent first step and beyond that, you may decide to just use the water for certain purposes and purchase drinking water you know is pure. A simple test is worth the time and expense if you aren’t already aware of what kind of water you are working with!