This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
The news about the contaminated water in Flint Michigan has been very disturbing to say the least. It is bad enough their drinking water has been polluted for the last couple of years, but they are still being billed outrageous amounts of money for water they are barely using. Now there could potentially be another town that has lead contamination in its water supply.
How do you know if your tap water is safe?
Examine your water
Color In my last residence, the water coming out of the tap had a brownish tinge and had a lot of sediment. At first I thought we had old pipes, but I talked to the neighbors who had lived in the neighborhood for years and said their water always had sediment. They said this was normal and were not too concerned about it. I read up on it and found that a reddish or brownish tinge in water indicates manganese or iron in the water. The presence or iron and manganese is generally harmless, but they may also cause a metallic taste or smell. This brings me to the next things to look for.
Smells and Taste Notice the smell of your tap water. Generally, I notice a heavy chlorine smell, caused by the processing of water in the treatment plant to kill bacteria and viruses. You should be wary of rotten egg smells or chemical smells as they may indicate contamination. The water should not have any odd tastes or smells.
Because I did not like the color and taste of the water, I started using my Berkey water filter on a daily basis. I even posted about it here. I have since moved away from that area but continue to use the Berkey.
You need to continuously monitor your water. Last week, I noticed the water coming out of the tap in the kitchen and bathroom was brown when I first turned it on. I called the building manager and he said the water company flushed out all the fire hydrants in the area and the brownish water resulted. He said their own water in the office was the same brownish color.
How does this happen? Fire departments flush hydrants from time to time to ensure the hydrants have adequate flow and pressure. When a hydrant is flushed, the flow reverses in the water main. The sediment in the system enters the residents’ pipes, resulting in brown water. The brown water may include sediment and rust particles but is considered safe. Nevertheless, residents are advised to let the water run clear before using the water. We did let the water run for a while and it eventually turned clear.
Here is an article I wrote a while back regarding water contamination and backflow: What You Need to Know about Water Contamination
Review your water quality report
Public water suppliers are required by law to provide their customers with an annual water quality report, also known as Consumer Confidence Report. If you live in an apartment you may not receive one directly and you will have to check with your building manager for a copy. Or, ask the manager for the name of your water company and find the report through their website.
You can also access these reports via the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
If you get your water from a well in your property, you will not get this report and may have to get your water independently tested. Here is some additional information on private water wells
Have your water tested
You can have your water tested by an independent testing laboratory . You can find a list of Certified Laboratories here.
Or you can call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 to find To find a state certified laboratory in your area.
Home Testing Kits
The TDS EC Meter is one way you can test your water and is available from Amazon.
Before purchasing your water test kit, take a look a this PDF for some additional information: Home Water Testing
© Apartment Prepper 2016