The nose knows. Every time you sip a glass of tap, unfiltered, the smell (and taste) of chlorine might wrinkle your nostrils, or outright denude your hydration pleasure. It’s all good, though, or at least a snide better than a whiff of what the chlorine kills.
Yeah, if America knew as much about the contents of its municipal water supply as it does the surviving candidates of “The Apprentice,” or some other dumbass reality show, we could actually begin a dialogue on improving water infrastructure and safety controls.
But, as a water rights advocate-friend of mine said, “water is boring.” Until it’s not. Just ask the lovely folks in Toronto over the past few days, or the people of Flint over the past year+, or the gritty residents of Gendive, MT who dealt with a 50,000-gallon oil spill into the Yellowstone River within a 3-wood of the municipality’s intake valves.
It’s the curl of the constituents’ nose-hairs that finally gets some action.
Agricultural run-off, fracking wastewater disposal, and burst oil pipelines are now a daily occurrence in North American waters. And the incredible reality is how few people know about it. If it’s not happening in their backyard, it ain’t a problem.
Guess what, my friendly readers? The problem is everywhere. The EPA sets water quality guidelines for municipalities to follow. Chunky acronyms ( NPDWRs, CCLs, UCMs) that you’ve most likely never heard of represent measurements with significant meaning to your health.
Meanwhile, EPA and DEP monitoring manpower is severely under-staffed, AND they can only test for “known” contaminants. That UCM measurement is all about the “unknown” or unregulated contaminants flowing into the water supply.
I’ve been saying for a decade-plus. Filters on your taps, including shower head filters, is the best defense. And over the next 4-years, I believe taking certain health decisions into your own hands is even more critical. Sadly, when it comes to water safety, it’s the Cost Of Doing Business, because your EPA will not have your back. Plus, it’s so damn boring.
Evil Erin, “He nose if you’ve been bad or good,” December 12, 2008 https://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/
USDA NRCSTN83003-a, “Water Flows Off a Tennessee Farm After a Storm, April 25, 2013 https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/