A new year brings a reminder to keep an eye out for scams or misinformation about the safety of your drinking water. There are misleading claims being made by companies hoping you'll buy a product to help you lead a healthier life, free of contaminated drinking water.
We encourage you as a responsible consumer to get to know your local water source. Your drinking water likely comes from one of two sources: surface water or groundwater. Surface water is the water that sits or flows atop the ground — rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and oceans. Groundwater is the water beneath the Earth’s surface, which may come to the surface via seepage, springs or man-made wells.
If you get your water from a water system, the source water is collected, treated and delivered to your home through an extensive network of pipes and service lines, where it eventually arrives at your tap.
The false claims you may read or hear about might claim that your water is not safe to drink from the tap. In 1974, the federal government established the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect the public from water-related illnesses. This law requires water systems to regularly test their water supplies and meet strict federal water quality standards.
In fact, many states have stricter requirements than federal standards. Water providers conduct thousands of tests each year to verify that the water supply meets these standards, and the Safe Drinking Water Act requires they provide annual water quality reports (Consumer Confidence Reports) to customers.
So, it is highly unlikely that you'll need to further treat or filter your water once it flows from your tap. People who have medical conditions that might put them at special risk should discuss the need for a water filter with their doctors.
In the rare event that additional treatment becomes necessary, various home treatment devices ranging from small faucet-mounted filters to "whole-house" systems to water softeners. While we cannot recommend specific brands or products, the following information should be helpful. For specific project information, contact NSF International, Consumer Reports or the device manufacturer. Maintenance is important with any home treatment device because a poorly maintained filter can reduce water quality.
You can remain confident that your drinking water is safe to drink. So fill a glass with tap water and toast to a healthy 2020 for everyone!