On the water front
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 08:30
In a recent posting titled "What's in your bottled water?," MNN blogger Siel Ju revealed the lack of regulation and disclosure in the bottled water industry. As a counterpoint, she said that all you have to do to learn about water quality at home is "read through your water utility's mandatory annual reports."
I don't know about you, but that still seems daunting. Not only are annual reports boring by design, but I'm not sure I could fully comprehend one written about the chemical makeup of my tap water.
It's probably this type of thinking that prompted the Village of Crestwood, Ill., to print statements like this in their newsletter:
"… we can save you a lot of time by saying that Crestwood water has passed all the tests prescribed by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] during the past year. The results were very favorable, and we have safe drinking water."
Unfortunately, when we accept watered down information like this (no pun intended) we take big risks. In the case of Crestwood, the risks involved a two-decade record of contaminated drinking water and clear negligence of EPA citations.
Hopefully, the 2005 right-to-know law -- which requires the EPA or Illinois Department of Public Health to notify citizens potentially exposed to soil or groundwater pollution -- will help curb these sorts of problems in the future. But, in the end, Siel was right. It's ultimately on us to do our own research.
To help translate your water quality annual report, I found some helpful tools through an organization called the Food and Water Watch.
Photo: (bottom) One of the closed wells - Village of Crestwood, Ill.