Every year during the month of August we celebrate National Water Quality Month. It makes sense that it’s during the hottest month of the year, too. This is the season when hydration matters the most — for our plants, our furry friends, our families, and our own bodies. Last year we discussed the myriad of ways in which water matters to our lives. And this year, we’re putting all of our focus on the positives: how to have healthier water in your own home.
Because no matter if you’re on well water, city water, or just looking to filter contaminants in your kitchen, there are so many ways to get clean, healthy water for your whole family.
1. Get clean drinking water from your kitchen faucet
Most cities source their water from the closest river, aquifer or lake. At Aquasana (headquartered in sunny Austin, Texas), our water is sourced from the Colorado River as it runs into Lake Travis and Lake Austin.
But no matter which municipality you’re drawing water from, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that each municipality test and release an annual water quality report (every July 1st) called the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). This report will tell you everything you need to know about the quality of the water as it leaves the treatment facility and reaches your home.
Using Austin for an example, a recent Water Quality Report revealed contaminants present in drinking water, including, “viruses and bacteria…pesticides and herbicides…organic chemicals, from industrial or petroleum use, [and] radioactive materials, which can be naturally-occurring.”
But here’s the thing. That report shows what happens after treatment, not before. And even though the EPA says these contaminants are okay in small amounts, that doesn’t sit well with us and shouldn’t sit well with you either. As a matter of fact, it’s actually during the treatment process that some byproducts can end up in your water in trace amounts.
After the treatment process, it’s that same water that travels through your pipes to your kitchen, picking up minerals and pollutants along the way.
Additionally, there are contaminants like PFAS’ that are in everyday items we use, like non-stick pans, that in turn end up in our water and stay there after treatment. Even the pipes built into your house—which, in many older houses are made of lead—are contaminant-incubators, leaving you with lead in your drinking water.
The solution here is simple: invest in a drinking water system. Aquasana drinking systems use NSF Certified Claryum filtration technology to reduces 99 percent of lead plus 76 other contaminants — 15x more than the leading pitcher filter. They’ll filter after the water has entered your pipes and is in your home, but before you turn on the faucet. They’ll make all the difference between contaminated water, and clean, healthy water for your fruits, veggies, pets, and family members.
Aquasana drinking systems use NSF Certified Claryum filtration technology to reduces 99 percent of lead plus 76 other contaminants — 15x more than the leading pitcher filter.
2. Well users: protect your water from the outset
Now imagine that you’re on your own couple of acres of land with a beautiful skyline uncluttered by buildings. You’re on a well water system. How do you know? You don’t pay a water bill. In the United States, more than 13 million households use community or private well water, not from a municipal/federally-regulated source. Private well owners are responsible for their own water quality management.
While private wells are not totally unregulated, there are no laws in place (from the EPA or otherwise) that dictate how often, if ever, private well owners should get their water tested for contaminants.
And here’s what’s worrisome about that: after a flood, drought or otherwise, your groundwater could experience serious contamination from nearby manufacturing plants, livestock yards, septic tanks, and more. For example, according to a study conducted by the United States Department of Interior, 23 percent of private wells (and again, that’s a total of 13 million people that use wells across the U.S.) contained a level of water contaminants high enough to cause a health concern. And with no regular testing requirements placed on your private or community well, it’s even more imperative that you’re regularly testing your well water for contaminants.
Regardless of your well or community water setup and the contaminants present therein, it’s wise that you invest in a whole house system for well water, including UV filtering, that can target bacteria before it enters your home’s water supply.
3. Parents, take a page from Flint
Even in the US, there are whole cities struggling to keep lead contamination under control. The residents of Flint, Michigan, for example, are still dealing with the effects of the lead contamination that resulted from switching their water source to the Flint River.
And while it’s truly a failing of our government system to hold it’s departments in check, if you’re feeling powerless and looking for an organization or way to help out the residents of Flint, Michigan, there are options. The United Way of Genesee County is an organization that acts as a fundraiser to help purchase resources for Flint residents. Up until recently, 100 percent of funds donated went to the purchase of bottled water, filters, emergency support services, and prevention efforts. As of April 2018, the state of Michigan discontinued the distribution of bottled water for Flint residents, and the organization has had to pivot strategies; they are now using 100 percent of the funds for the purchase and distribution of bottled water only. You can donate to Flint Water Fund here.
But the crisis in Flint? That’s just in our own neck of the woods. Across the globe, developing countries still struggle to get clean water in more rural communities. Improving water quality in these places could save lives— particularly those of women, children and the elderly— by reducing the amount of time needed to haul water from place to place each day. Charity: Water is a nonprofit organization that aims to solve this exact problem by helping to deliver clean drinking water to developing countries around the world. You can donate to Charity: Water here.
In the meantime, invest in a whole house filter designed to protect your whole home from lead. The ultimate protector — the OptimH2O whole house filter is tested and certified to reduce more than 99 percent of lead and cysts, 98 percent of PFOA/PFOS, and also tackles chlorine and chloramines.
4. Bottle your own clean water during back-to-school
Water Quality Month also happens during Back-to-School month, and our most important community members — our children — are also the most vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water.
Kids across the United States drink 2.5 times more water than adults in proportion to their body weight, making them more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults.
Additionally, according to EatRight.org, it’s recommended that children aged 4-8 years old drink seven cups of water per day; girls aged 9-13 should drink 9 cups per day and boys, 10 cups; girls aged 14-18 should drink 10 cups per day and boys, 14 cups.
So, here’s one item on our back-to-school shopping list that will give your child access to clean drinking water whether they’re at home, or in the classroom: a reusable water bottle. Our BPA-free clean water bottles come in both borosilicate glass or plastic, making them nearly unbreakable. And if you pour clean, filtered water from Aquasana into their bottles, you know they’re getting the healthy minerals their growing bodies and minds need.
Before your kids get their syllabi, sit down with them and discuss water fountain hygiene, worries, etiquette, and more, and give your kids the gift of clean water.
5. Check for filter certifications
Whether it’s a whole house system or a drinking water system, water filters can help you to breathe easy, cook fresh, and drink clean, healthy water.
But before doing research into your next water filter, make sure you’ve looked for products with independent certifications. A manufacturer can say, “removes up to 99.99 percent of fluoride”, but without the certification to back it up, you might end up paying for that placebo in more ways than one.
First, look for a certification seal from NSF International or IAPMO — both are third-party, nonprofit water filter testing organizations that set standards for consumers. For example, the seal on the Aquasana NSF Certified UV Filter means that it’s proven to reduce 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses present in your tap water. You can start by checking out our list of top 5 drinking water filtration types to see which filter type is right for you.
Safe drinking water is something that we Americans often take for granted (well, most of us, anyway). It’s treated, it’s clean, and it comes straight from the faucet right whenever we need it, right? As we’ve learned, that’s not always the case. Water infrastructures vary all over the world— and not everyone has access to clean water. If you start by reimagining healthy water, protect your well from the outset, understand the levels of lead in your water, stay cool during back to school and make a note of the NSF seal on filtration products, then you’ll understand the clearest path to clean water.