The Importance of a Clean Drinking Water Supply
It is very easy to take our supply of clean drinking water for granted. Using dirty water for not just washing, but also cooking and drinking is a major cause of disease and infection in most of the third world even today. Here in Nebraska as in most of the developed 1st world we enjoy water that is mostly free of microorganisms and other contaminants. This said, the water that we drink here, even here in our state, is not perfect either as it may contain trace elements of agricultural, petrochemical and manufacturing chemical byproducts that in themselves can be quite harmful even though not detectable by taste or the naked eye. For this reason alone, it always a good idea to have you water supply (especially if it is well water – which is not EPA regulated to begin with) tested by a water treatment professional.
A Short History Lesson
The beginnings of modern, western public health policy and the realization surrounding the critical importance of clean drinking water can be traced back to1854. It was during this year in London that a severe outbreak of cholera infected part of the population. Doctor John Snow investigated the matter and discovered that all the dead people had drawn water from the same community water pump. He then went to the pump that was located on Broad Street and removed the handle so that it couldn’t be used. Further inquiries established that the community pump had been drawing water from a water source that had been contaminated with waste. The outbreak of cholera was brought under control, and no new cases were reported. It is for this reason that Doctor John Snow is seen as the father of modern public health.
The War on Disease
It is widely regarded by most scientist that our ability to treat water-borne diseases has greatly benefited the developed world. This single factor alone has increased the lifespan of the population and removed the vector by which many diseases would have entered the body.
Many of the waterworks that were developed to improve the water quality here in the United States still stand today as monuments to the desire to live healthier lives. Water treatment has moved on over the decades from sand filters and polished brass fittings to more advanced methods. One aspect that has not changed over the years, even here in Nebraska, is the use of chlorine to kill microorganisms in municipal water treatment supplies.
Chlorine, a Double Edged Sword
The use of chlorine has undoubtedly helped provide clean water for developed nations and saved millions upon millions of lives. Even today, in an age of smart phones and tablets, in many areas of the world, where chlorine isn’t used to treat water, it isn’t hard to find incidences of cholera or other water borne illnesses. Despite its beneficial qualities for killing microbes, chlorine does have a downside that until recently wasn’t clearly understood. Chlorine is a toxic disinfectant and like other chemicals that are used for the purpose of microbiological sanitization when they react with organic materials they produce new chemical byproducts. These byproducts are absorbed into the body or ingested and can cause a variety of cancers and other health issues depending upon the intake level and the concentration of the chemical.
Removing Chemicals from Drinking Water
No matter what the level, it should be considered a priority for every family to secure a reliable supply of fresh, clean drinking water free of chemicals. This may seem self-evident, but water should be free of any type of chemicals, even chlorine, to ensure that chemical byproducts cannot cause health problems. This can be easily accomplished with the installation of a whole house water treatment solution or even simply an under the counter Reverse Osmosis unit in your kitchen. These water treatment systems use a combination of filters, semi-permeable membranes and media to ensure that the water coming into your home is free of contaminants.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state and Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.