Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Water You Drinking…Are You Sure?

Back in the ’80’s, I worked in a restaurant overlooking scenic Indian Lake, Ohio. It is a reservoir that provides water to its community of locals and tourists. The running joke among the restaurant waitresses was “Why the water glasses are tinted brown? Because it makes the lake water appear clear.” That statement has stuck with me over the years, especially when I travel to areas outside of Cincinnati (which, as we frequently note at Allied, has the best water quality in the country. Thanks, MSD!).

City Water = Best Bet for Ease of Use
According to www.epa.gov, municipal water starts with one of two sources: groundwater or lake/river/stream water. Municipalities collect the water, then filter it to remove sediment. From there, the water is chemically treated to disinfect it (i.e., kill micro-organisms and bacteria), stored, and released on demand to the public.

Municipal water systems ensure that safe drinking water is available from the reservoir to the point where the city pipes connect to you household pipes (at the street). Homeowners are responsible for ensuring water safety from the street to the tap. For that reason, many homeowners will install filtration systems to remove the ubiquitous chlorine taste and smell. Overall, municipal water in Ohio is readily available and user-friendly. Just turn on the tap and bingo! Good, safe water.

Country Water = Usually Good; Approach with Caution
By country water, we mean non-Cincinnati water (a.k.a. well water). Commonly found in rural areas, campgrounds, state parks, lodges and cabins. A few scenarios to consider:

• A spring-fed country home in West Central Ohio was locally known for over 200 years for it’s limestone-filtered, spring fed water. Then, an overly wet spring caused changes in the local geology and e. coli bacteria seeped int the home’s famous spring. Luckily, the home owner was able to install an whole-house reverse osmosis filtration system that filters the bacteria.

• Roadside rest stops may or may not have potable water.

• State parks and campgrounds offer water, but keep in mind that the water source may be in proximity to the RV waste dumping station and grey water stations. We’re talking fluids here – it’s possible for them to co-mingle.

• If in doubt about the quality of water at your destination, take some along.

Cemetery Water = Always Bad
Ever notice the ubiquitous old hand pump in almost every cemetery? With rare exceptions, there should be a posted notice advising that cemetery water is non-potable. Why? Pause and give thought to all the centuries of nasties leaching into a cemetery water supply: Generations of decomposing bodies that died from tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, cancer, leukemia, AIDS, ebola, scarlet fever, strep…well, you get the picture. Consider cemetery water to be contaminated. Let’s just leave it at that.

Good Drinking Water – Keep Some on Hand
According to Cincinnati’s favorite survivalist Creek Stewart (from Milan, IN), remember the rule of 3: “Humans can live 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.” Our brains are 75% water, so make sure to get the good stuff! Our favorite transportable water approaches include:

• Water backpacks (hydration systems) – easy to use, inexpensive, and packable. Just keep them dry when not in use.

• Store brand bottled water – no need for the fancy brands, save money and go for the least expensive.

• Repurpose sturdy plastic juice containers into water bottles and fill as needed for road trips (avoid milk jug-types of plastics as they retain odors and split easily).

• A family of 5 uses at least 5 gallons of water per day just for drinking, cooking, hand washing and tooth brushing. Bathing/dish washing requires extra water.

• In a prolonged power outage, your water heater tank holds at least 40 gallons of drinkable water. Have some clean containers on hand into which the water can be drained.

Water You Waiting For? Following on last bullet above, if your water heater is over 20 years old, you may want to consider replacing it. Not only will you have a reliable supply of hot water and a more energy efficient hot water heater, but you’ll have less tank mineral sediment to filter should you have drink that water. Call Ray today for a free phone consultation, estimate, and suggestions. (513) 396-5300.