Is Your City Water Department Hiding Something?

The Flint Michigan water scandal keeps appearing in the media as more details are uncovered. It has recently been discovered that the water department in the area was using creative ways to ensure the lead levels were not reported. This has resulted in a criminal complaint being filed against the Department of Environmental Quality in Michigan, with one of the main points being the “technical reasons” test results showing the highest lead levels were omitted. Is Your City Water Department Hiding Something

The Controversy of Pre-flushing

Another point detailed in the filing was that the instructions for taking water samples instructed running cold water for approximately five minutes and waiting six hours to draw a water sample. This practice is called pre-flushing, and it is controversial, as while not against EPA regulations it is not considered to be “best practice.” Research on Michigan department operators found many do pre-flush, which can lead to disguised results. This can be a particular concern if water travels to your home through any lead pipes.

Your Annual Water Quality Report

All utility companies are required by EPA regulations to produce an annual water quality report. This should detail the contaminants found in water supplies and what actions were taken. Unfortunately, pre-flushing may mean that these results may not be as accurate as they should be. The EPA has strict regulations for a number of contaminants including lead, but if water departments are using questionable methods to get around the regulations, it could lead to consumer issues.

Water Testing

The most accurate way to determine if your water contains contaminants is to have your water tested in a laboratory. Homeowners with a private water well are familiar with this process, as the responsibility for water quality remains with the property owner. In most cases, this is a simple process, and there are testing kits available that can be sent to a lab. The difficulty with water testing is that you need to take a sample correctly. As found in Flint, pre-flushing can compromise a sample and compromise the results. While most test kits do provide instructions to obtain a sample, some people do find this process intimidating. If you want to have complete confidence, a professional water treatment technician can perform water testing at your home. Some contaminants can be detected on site, but the technician can send samples to a certified lab for any more sophisticated test that may be required. A technician can not only test your water, but recommend water treatment devices and systems that can address your specific water quality issues.

While the EPA does regulate public water supplies, the Flint Michigan water crisis has highlighted that the system does have flaws. So, if you want to have an assurance of your water quality, you may wish to consider a final barrier of protection. There is a variety of systems available that can be used to address any water quality issues. A fully WQA certified water treatment specialist can not only help you to determine contaminant levels in your water, but also guide you through the myriad of options that meet or even exceed the industry standards.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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