Water is one of the most vital pieces in the puzzle of living a healthy life. It’s a resource that flows naturally and nourishes our bodies. But because water comes from the earth, it isn’t always the best it can be. Our water is teeming with natural and man-caused contaminants that can lead to short-term and long-lasting health effects.
Every year, tens of millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water. We admit, it’s hard to screen for every contaminant that lives in our water, but there are resources to help us identify contaminants that make our water unsafe. How do you know if your water is safe to drink? Check out five ways to tell below.
Use Your Resources
Many organizations and initiatives nationwide have developed programs, systems, and maps to educate the public about their water supplies. Because the more you know about your water, the easier it is to identify trouble areas. Even the EPA has a few tools that you can use to gain insight into your drinking water’s overall health. One of them is the Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT), which provides information on chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants that potentially threaten drinking water.
Another one is the Environmental Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database. It offers a database of water quality reports that are searchable by zip code and water company. There’s also a list of chemicals that are found to be higher than the “healthy” and legal limits.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is a daily routine to protect us from germs and bacteria, especially in a post-COVID world, but it can also give you insight into your water’s safety. If you notice your hands feel slimy or like they have a film on them after washing your hands, chances are your tap water is hard. Another way to tell is if you find a residue on your dishes after washing them, or your hair and clothes feel rough and dry despite using softeners or sulfate-free shampoos. It’s not your products; it’s your water.
Hard water is the most common water problem we encounter. Approximately 80 percent of the United States has hard water flowing in their homes, and they drink it daily. Most hard water doesn’t cause immediate or life-threatening issues, but sometimes other metals like aluminum and lead can be present. Hard water can bring expensive damage to your appliances over time, but its most significant harm is that its taste causes a decrease in water consumption. What causes hard water, you ask? It’s a build-up of calcium and magnesium in the water source.
Your Water Is Colorless
We love the natural colors found throughout the world, just not in our water. Having colorless water isn’t a surefire way to vet your water supply as safe, but it’s a strong indicator that something may be wrong if you start to notice a brown, orange, yellow, green, or blue tinge to your water. In fact, for the residents of Flint, Michigan, it was their first sign that their water was contaminated. Unlike a few of the other entries on this checklist, having colorful water can be potentially dangerous:
Yellow: Having a yellow tint to your water can mean there are small traces of rust, iron, and oxygen in your water supply, especially if your hot water is yellow. If your cold water is yellow, it could just be your local utility clearing out its pipes. In extreme cases, yellow-tinted water suggests the presence of chromium 6, which is a cancer-causing chemical.
Brown and orange: The presence of these colors can signal the further presence of rust, which can breed harmful bacteria, and excess iron or lead.
Blue or green: Tinges of blue or green suggest elevated copper levels that are often caused by corroded pipes. In small doses, copper isn’t harmful to us, but high levels can cause kidney damage and anemia.
Check the Smell
Clean, safe water doesn’t have a smell, so if your tap water has a scent (which is sometimes accompanied by a taste), then it may not be safe to drink. It all depends on what kind of smell wafts out of your faucet. If you smell sewage or rotten eggs, your water likely has an excess of hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas that turns into sulfate. If a heavy bleach smell greets you when you take a sip, then a chlorine amount is likely to blame. Smelling fishy? That’s barium, a naturally occurring chemical that seeps into water supplies through drilling.
Like many others on this list, ingesting small amounts of these chemicals isn’t harmful. For example, chlorine can be used to disinfect water. But when you have excess amounts of any chemical, metal, or other contaminants in your water, it can have various adverse effects like dehydration, stomach pain, diarrhea, and dermatitis.
Get Your Water Tested
Perhaps the best way to tell if your water is safe to drink is to have it professionally tested. Using a store-bought water testing kit is still an approved way to test your water, but often they only scratch the surface of what might be contaminating your water supply. Experts say that whenever we drink a glass of water, we’re exposed to more than one hazardous chemical, most of which, like arsenic and nitrates, are invisible to the naked eye.
The most effective way to rid your water of potentially harmful contaminants is to filter it using Reverse Osmosis. The process, which is at the center of Puronics’ line of residential filtration systems, is achieved when water is passed through a semi-permeable mesh. Contaminants, which are too big to fit through the mesh’s pores, are trapped, and the clean water particles can pass.
Before you rush to install a filtration system, we highly recommend taking one the Science of Water’s free water tests to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about your water. After our team has evaluated your water sample, we can get to the bottom of all your water problems.
The Science of Water: Providing You with Safe Water to Drink
Having safe water to drink isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. We at the Science of Water are dedicated to providing you clean, clear, and nutrient-rich water throughout your home.
With our team’s help, you’ll never again have to question whether or not your water is safe to drink.
Contact our team at (352) 745-7070 or (904) 580-0000 to start the journey to having the best water you’ve ever tasted in your home!