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Can You Trust The Government With Your Water Quality?

Between the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, the black water coming out of the pipes in Crystal City, Texas, and the chemical water pollution recently discovered in Hoosick Falls, New York, it seems natural to wonder: Should you trust your government alone to regulate the water coming out of your tap, or should you take personal precautions as well?

In the United States, public drinking water is governed by the laws and regulations enacted by the state and federal governments. The most notable regulation is the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974. This is the principal federal law that applies to every public water system in the United States. Enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is intended to ensure safe drinking water for public consumption. The SDWA regulates six different contaminants:


  1. Microorganisms
  2. Disinfectants
  3. Disinfection Byproducts
  4. Inorganic Chemicals
  5. Organic Chemicals
  6. Radionuclides

While the federal and state governments have set federal drinking water standards in place, not all of the water regulations are strictly monitored. For example, according to CNN the Flint, Michigan government was “warned about not calling drinking water in Flint safe because of an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the county…nearly a full year before [they] publicly disclosed the emergency.”

Similarly, state health officials in New York were informed of the presence of harmful chemicals in the tap water of Hoosick Falls, New York as far back as August 2014, but did not immediately raise an alarm. In fact, it was not a government agent in Hoosick Falls, New York who brought the water contamination to light. It was a local resident, Michael Hickey, who did so after his father died of kidney cancer is 2013. Once this resident brought the issue to the public’s attention, the government began taking action.

While these cases are extreme, many municipalities do monitor the quality of their water diligently. However, mistakes and oversights happen, and when it is a matter of the health of you or your family, it is better to be safe than sorry.

History of Safe Drink Water Act


Always Trust The Government


Describe Government Programs As Well-Run


Think Most Ordinary Americans Can Do A Better Job Solving Problems

According to a recent study that surveyed how Americans view their government, only 19% say that they can trust the government always or most of the time. That is among the lowest levels of trust in the past half-century.  So when there is toxic water pollution, a boil alert, chemicals in the tap water, or ground water pollution, most people probably wouldn’t trust their government alone to protect them.

So what can we do to protect ourselves from harmful water pollution when federal drinking water standards and water regulation put forth by the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 are not enough?


Test Your Water Supply. 

The first step to making sure that you are adequately protected against water contaminants is to test your water supply to see what is already in it. In addition to illness, a variety of less serious problems such as taste, odor and staining of clothing or fixtures are signs of possible water contamination. Regardless of your water source, you should test your water immediately if:

  • You suspect that you or another member of your household is getting sick because of the drinking water
  • You suspect that there is lead in your drinking water
  • You live in an area where boil alerts are common
  • You or someone in your home is pregnant or nursing
  • You have or expect an infant to be living in your home
  • You notice a change in the color, taste or odor of your water

For more information, you can visit this EPA-provided home water testing resource.

Find A Filtration or Disinfection System That Works For You. 

You will require a different type of filtration or disinfection system depending on what water contaminants you find in your water or what you are worried about in the future. If you are a home-owner worried about microorganisms such as E. coli or Giardia, you could look into getting an ultraviolet water disinfection system.

If you are more concerned with fluoride, chlorine or chloramine, you might be more interested in a system that uses reverse osmosis to filter your water.

For more information on what filter works best for you, visit


Most Municipalities Do Their Job Wonderfully

Many municipalities follow the water quality standards set forth by the SDWA diligently, and those government officials work tirelessly to ensure that their citizens have access to safe drinking water. However, mistakes can happen. It takes time to notice the need for and to issue a boil alert or similar warning about unsafe drinking water due to infrastructure or a malfunction in their filtration or disinfection systems.

So why risk it? Visit today for more information.

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