We’ve all become somewhat aware of the current water situation in Flint, Michigan. It’s a very complicated case pertaining to who’s responsible and what homeowners can do. First, let’s go into detail about the three grades of water.
Utility grade water – This is water that you can use to wash your car, fill up a swimming pool, or water your lawn. It’s to be used for tasks that are utilitarian in nature.
Laundry grade water – This is the water that you use for doing laundry, washing dishes, or flushing toilets. It doesn’t have to be consumed, so non-potable water can be used for these kinds of tasks.
Drinking grade water – This is what you’ll use to bathe/shower with, drink, put in a water bottle, use for cooking, etc.
What can you do with water that’s contaminated with excessive lead? It’s not going to be harmful if it’s used as utility grade water. The problems come from trying to use it for drinking or showering. It’s even worse if you have young children in the home.
Never assume that everyone else is doing their job. Unfortunately, it’s simply not the case. Not everybody cares as much as we do. If you’re using water in your home for important things like drinking and bathing/showering, you have to be knowledgeable about the water’s quality.
Interestingly, all municipal water systems have a public record of the contents of the water. (Just like in Flint, Michigan.) The report was printed and published—it was publicly available for anyone who took the time and effort to look. All you have to do is go online or request the report. Unfortunately, not everybody is aware that’s the case. The EPA mandates that all municipal water systems test the water on a daily basis and release the records to the public.
There’s an acceptable level and an unacceptable level of materials in the water. We shouldn’t presume that everything is within operating limits. In fact, if you look at the water reports, there are days (and even months) when it doesn’t pass. Sadly, you can’t assume that your water is safe to drink.
Lead isn’t going to kill you in one month, but small children will start to have side effects in a short time. If you’re worried, get a comprehensive test done. For around $100, it’ll tell you everything that’s in your water. It’s not that expensive to get a complete idea of the arsenic levels, chlorine levels, copper levels, etc. It’s just a matter of taking a sample and getting it tested at a lab. They’ll give you a written report that details anything you should be concerned about.
When it comes to actually improving the quality of the water you consume or use to bathe/shower, there are two different types of filters:
Carbon filters – These filters essentially remove chlorine from the water. (You’ll often find them in a refrigerator’s water/ice dispenser.) In my opinion, water with chlorine isn’t drinking water quality. Chlorine is a chemical that I don’t think children should be consuming. Even though there’s a regulated limit, you have a choice to remove it from the water.
Reverse osmosis – This type of system removes molecules down to .002 microns, which is extremely fine. (You can see objects as small as 20 microns with the naked eye.) Reverse osmosis is going to remove any types of contaminants from water that would be potentially harmful.
If you’re concerned about the water quality in your home, or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.