A Texas town is facing a serious health crisis as black contaminated water is pouring out of the town’s residents’ faucets, according to an Fox News article written last night. This comes on the heals of a serious political scandal as the town’s “mayor, city manager, mayor pro tempore, a city councilman and a former councilman were arrested earlier this week.” Not only have the residents been left with little to no government representatives, they also have “no water to drink.” Concerned citizens have banned together and are donating bottled water to the town until the municipal water is safe.
According to Fox News, “Joel Barajas – the only City Council member not facing criminal charges – told the San Antonio Express-News that he was grateful to residents elsewhere in the region who donated water. The city has blamed the water problem on dirt and mud build up in a water tank that was flushed, the newspaper reported.”
Despite the water bottle donations, the town’s residents are not happy. “We didn’t get a warning” one resident said, “We didn’t get a warning that this was going to happen.”
The Laredo office of the Texas Commission on Environmental is investigating the reports of black water and a water department employee said residents should boil water before using it.
While the people of this Texas town have real signs that they should be worried about their water, your water doesn’t have to be completely black to be unsafe. As we know, the people of Flint (and many other towns) have been dealing with a serious health crisis as unsafe levels of lead were found in the drinking water. This was exceptionally scary because heavy metals like lead, and contaminants like E. coli or Giardia do not change the look or taste of your water. That means that you can’t tell if your water is contaminated by taste or look alone.
So how can we be sure that our water is safe?
“This is reminder to all of us,” says Fresh Water Systems Water Quality Specialist Geoff Dethloff, “that even if we have a municipal water source, we are not immune to having contaminants in our water.” Dethloff goes onto explain that while black water is not a common problem, we should be aware of what could potentially be contaminating out water. Fresh Water Systems offers a number of water quality tests that you can do quickly and easily. There are at-home test kits and lab send-in test kits depending on what you prefer.
“If you are concerned about bacteria or particulate matter,” says Dethloff, “you should look into getting a UV system [for the bacteria], and a filter [for the dirt.” Fresh Water Systems offers the Viqua IHS UV system, which filters our sediment and also disinfects your water.
If you have any questions, please call us at (866) 986-8895. One of our certified water quality specialists will be happy to assist you.
On the way home from work, you are stuck in traffic.
With the cars at a standstill, you decide to look for a different song or voice on the radio. Flipping through the stations, suddenly you hear the news announcer say, “The water municipality has issued a ‘boil order’ for the Smithton area.”
Wait! That’s where you live! So, what does that mean for your family tonight? How does that affect your supper or evening plans? Ultimately it means that whether you are washing grapes or making a cup of tea, all of the water used will have to be brought to a boil for at least two minutes before consumption. Even taking a shower during a boil order can be risky.
Boil orders can be issued by water municipalities for several reasons. First, they can be issued because of natural disasters. Due to the record amount of rainfall in Colorado this month, many communities and towns have experienced horrific flooding, damaging property, and costing lives. Flooding washes away top soil, damages entry points of water pipes to homes and businesses, and exposes underground main pipes that were previously buried. Flooding can also compromise the quality of well water, introducing bacteria and contaminants into the water supply. (For more information on natural disasters and water related safety, see the CDC’s page on “Water-related Emergencies.”)
Natural disasters are not the only cause for boil water alerts. Any loss of pressure to a water main can create a high risk of bacteria intrusion through backwash. This drop in pressure can be caused by pipe breaks or even an industrial or traffic accident that compromises the integrity of the pipes. System maintenance on our aging infrastructure of water supply systems can also cause the water delivery mains to be compromised. In the midst of constant testing, the municipalities may issue an order because of unsafe testing results for everything from turbidity to the presence of fecal matter.
If you live in Canada,
this website offers a simple way to find out when and how long your
boil alert will be on. In the United States, however, residents are
dependant on their local news agencies. In a recent article titled, “Boil Water Orders Abound in the US,” in the industry-leading Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, author Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD noted that in the first 14 days of August 2013, there were at least 29 US regions that were under an alert. These alerts covered both large and small areas, with some covering a few blocks and others including entire communities.
When a boil order is issued, all water used for ingestion, including washing fruits and vegetables and using coffee makers, must be boiled. Government agencies even warn that after hand washing, antiseptic washes should be used to keep bacteria from being accidentally ingested.
If you are concerned about the safety of your water, there are other options besides boiling tap water or purchasing expensive bottled water. The AquaCera countertop filtration system offers a simple and easy to use option for filtering drinking water. To provide water for a larger household, the AquaCera Gravity Water Filter System offers an excellent and safe option, providing your home with safe water, even during a boil order. A whole house Trojan UV System is also a great way to protect your family during natural disasters or boil alerts.
If you are concerned about the safety of your water, call our water experts at 1-877-335-3339.