With concerns over the quality and safety of drinking water in cities and towns all over the country, and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) now under review with the Biden administration, and a new focus on environmental justice, Americans are taking a closer look at what’s coming out of their taps at home.
So how much do you trust the water at your home? A new survey commissioned by SOURCE Global, PBC, tells the story of a double standard in communities of color and those of historically white neighborhoods – and yet again the inequities are glaring.
The survey found that communities of color are increasingly concerned about the safety of the water they drink and for good reason: “Drinking water systems that constantly violate the law are 40 percent more likely to serve people of color, according to data from the EPA between 2010 and 2016, who already suffer disproportionately from air pollution and emerging symptoms of climate change.” The Hill, Changing America.
Additional findings from survey responses found that people living in communities of color are far less confident in the quality and safety of their water. Only 19 percent of Hispanic Americans and 24 percent of Black Americans are “very confident” they can drink their tap water without any negative side effects (in comparison to 43 percent of white Americans).
The survey also found that people in communities of color are more concerned about access to clean water and contamination – more so than any other demographic group. When asked if access to clean water is a problem in the U.S., Black Americans were the most likely, out of any demographic, to say it is a major problem at 35 percent. Hispanic Americans closely followed this at 32 percent, compared to white Americans at just 28 percent.
Following this lack of confidence in tap water, the data also found that 26 percent of Black Americans drink more bottled water now at home during the pandemic, followed by 20% of Hispanic Americans and only 10% of white Americans.
“It’s clear that our nation’s water issues pose an immediate and quickly worsening health risk, and that’s especially true for BIPOC communities, who are also dealing with an outsized impact from COVID-19,” said Cody Friesen, founder and CEO, SOURCE Global.
Tap Water Testing
So how can the average person know if their water quality is safe or if they need to be concerned? Professional testing is always the most accurate way to tell exactly what’s in your water. If you have concerns that your tap water is contaminated, contact your public water system company. Public water suppliers are required to provide a drinking water quality report each year, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report or CCR. The report tells where your water comes from and what’s in it. To find a report from the water company in your area, search this map from EPA.gov.
If you’re on a private well or other self-contained system, you may want to consider having your home’s drinking water tested by an independent state-certified laboratory. You can find one in your area by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visiting www.epa.gov/safewater/labs. (Note: Home test kits are also available for purchase but would typically be recommended more for tracking changes in your water [e.g., being in the process of treating your water and wanting to check progress] but are not generally a starting point to determine overall tap water safety.)
Drinking Water Solutions
Depending on the outcome of your water quality test, solutions can range from simple filters on faucets to whole home filtration systems to much larger water infrastructure projects which are led by municipalities. Or, if you’re ready to take drinking water quality into your own hands and OWN your drinking water supply for good, SOURCE® Hydropanels™ for residences could be your solution.
SOURCE® Hydropanel Technology
SOURCE water is clean, safe, delicious and comes from the sky. This simple, self-contained system uses only solar energy to draw clean, pollutant-free water vapor out of the sky and delivers high-quality drinking water directly to your tap. Homeowners, Eco-hospitality businesses, schools, hospitals, remote worksites, and entire communities all over the world are already using SOURCE® Hydropanels to sustainably produce their own clean, safe drinking water.
SOURCE replaces the need for plastic bottles or costly water filtration systems. A standard two-hydropanel array produces the equivalent of 300-600 standard 500 mL water bottles each month, on average, plus zero plastic waste.
SOURCE® Hydropanels are installed on or near your home, with flexible piping to deliver your reserve of drinking water directly to a water tap or fridge dispenser. You’ll be making your own renewable, sustainably-produced, and perfectly balanced drinking water without any additional power source or infrastructure needed.
“While tackling climate change will take decades, we have the technology and know-how to fix our water issues right now,” Friesen said. “In a time of so many daunting and complex challenges, that’s good news for America, and the world.”
Government Water Advisories
Always be mindful of any measures you’ve been instructed to take by the government, such as boiling your water before use or switching to bottled water. According to CDC.gov, your public water system is responsible for notifying residents if the water quality does not meet EPA or state standards, or if there is a waterborne disease emergency.
For additional questions regarding water quality, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Drinking Water FAQ page. You can also call the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 for information about the quality and safety of drinking water.
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