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10

The Plain Talk Series - #34

posted on

Today's question: Is my water safe to drink?

Plain Talk answer: Tap water from public water systems in the United States and Canada is among the safest in the world, and maintaining that quality is a priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Health Canada and public water utilities.

News stories often discuss one contaminant or another found in the water we drink, and sometimes short-term disease outbreaks are traced to water supplies. However, most water utilities monitor for and control more than 100 different parameters that may affect water at the tap – from algae in the source water to lead in homeowners’ pipes. Regulatory agencies in Canada and the United States set drinking water quality standards and guidelines for community water systems that require this level of diligence. You’ll find that most water professionals consider themselves stewards of public health and safety who also drink the water that is delivered to homes in their communities.

In the United States, the Safe Drinking Water Act sets the standards for drinking water treatment; in Canada, Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality provides the basis for drinking water quality parameters. In most cases, USEPA standards and Canadian guidelines for a particular contaminant are the same.

For more information on this and many other water-related topics, check out Plain Talk About Drinking Water by Dr. James M. Symons.

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