Clean drinking water is essential for everyday life. Water is needed for bathing, cooking, cleaning and hydrating. For most Americans, access to water isn't hard to find - simply turn on the tap in the kitchen or bathroom.
However, an increasing number of citizens are wondering if the water that's running through their pipes is clean enough to use. According to a survey from Culligan, 75 percent of respondents reported that they believe water quality is a growing concern for Americans. About one-quarter don't believe their own water is safe enough for personal use, and the same amount worry that a water crisis could happen to them.
"One-quarter of respondents worry that a water crisis could happen to them."
Last year, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, opened many people's eyes to the potential for misinformation about where water is actually coming from and how safe it really is. More recently, many schools in all parts of the country have found that lead has been leaching into their drinking water, The Washington Post reported. This is concerning to parents, but also to the population as a whole. It's become clear that contaminants can be found even in the places people trust most – at home and at school.
"Unfortunately you find schools that are failing, and some are failing miserably," Robert Barrett, chief operating officer for Aqua Pro-Tech Laboratories, an environmental testing laboratory in New Jersey, told The Washington Post. "Before Flint, we'd get a call maybe once a month from a school. Now, it's daily."
As more stories of lead and other contamination are brought to the surface, homeowners look for information on how to proceed. According to Culligan's survey, about half of respondents would be happy to receive helpful information about what to do if there is a water contamination problem, but only 13 percent knew they should be testing their own water at home.
Additionally, nearly three-fourths say water impurities are the fault of the municipality responsible for water supply and its infrastructure. While it's true that cities have a duty to provide their citizens with safe drinking water, there are also measures homeowners can take on their own.
The first step to finding out the safety of drinking water is to determine where, exactly, it is coming from. Homes typically either get their water supply from a public water system or a private well.
Public water supplies are required to meet certain standards outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1974, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if homeowners want hard facts about the water coming through their faucets, ABC News explained they can request a water quality report either through:
For those homeowners who get their water from a private well, water quality should be tested every year. The CDC explained that local health departments or city governments can help people find the right person to test their water. Well users might also consider investing in a point-of-entry water filtration system. This is one that sanitizes all water coming into a home.
Once homeowners know the quality of their water, and whether there are contaminants, they can plan their next move. If the water proves to be clean but people still have concerns, they can invest in a point-of-use water filtration system. An example of this would be a filter attached to a kitchen sink faucet. If there are toxins such as perchlorates, arsenic or hexavalent chromium present, the homeowner should consider purchasing a reverse osmosis carbon filter.
While clean drinking water is necessary, many homeowners fear going into debt or aren't able to come up with the funds to help pay for these necessary additions to their home.
Business owners can help them out through offering financing programs. In most cases, the cost of a water treatment system can cost less than having a to purchase and carry water from a store. The ability to provide clean drinking water is not something anyone should have to compromise.