Anyone interested in water quality issues for their home will encounter the term “safe water” frequently, and yet many people don’t know what this means. This term is most often used to describe drinking water supplies and how safe they are to drink or use in your home. Safe water needs to contain low concentrations of contaminants that could have a detrimental effect on your health. Let’s take a closer look at what “safe water” means for you and your family.

Potentially Harmful Contaminants

Drinking water safety can be compromised by many potentially harmful contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, cysts, chemicals, disinfectant byproducts, pharmaceuticals, and metals. When water needs to be defined as safe water for human consumption, a risk assessment is required in order to discover the likelihood of that water causing harm. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility of determining the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) of potentially harmful contaminants that may be in our water supplies. The MCL of a given water source is calculated using a number of key factors, such as contaminant occurrence statistics, health research, risk assessment, and an economic analysis. At the moment there are more than ninety different contaminants that the EPA considers to be a problem. These contaminants each have an MCL rating that describes the potential danger for users.

City Water Supplies

The EPA has the responsibility to regulate nationwide safe water standards under the Safe Water Drinking Act. Every water supplier is obliged to meet the standards set by the EPA for MCLs, and any violations must be reported. This information is readily available so that water consumers can have a better awareness of the water quality in their area. Each water supplier should provide their customers with a Consumer Confidence Report that will detail all of the contaminants found in local water supplies. This report will also show where the water is sourced from and any other pertinent water quality details. Water consumers can also check the EPA’s website for up to date information on the water quality in their communities.

Is City Water Safe?

The water supplied by your municipality is disinfected at the water treatment plant, but there are a number of problems that could still occur. As the water travels to your home, it could pass through a supply pipe where a break has occurred due to corrosion, ground movement or heavy rainfall. Any break in the system can allow contaminants to enter the water and the safety could be compromised. Safe water is a subjective term; some people are more susceptible to contaminants than others, and they may feel the effects earlier or to a greater extent than others. Even water that hasn’t been compromised can be a problem for some users. For example, chlorine is used to disinfect water in many areas, and some people dislike the “swimming pool” smell and odor. For these reasons, many people choose to have domestic water treatment solutions installed to ensure that they have a supply of safe water in their homes.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.