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Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to trust their tap water — and they have reason not to

Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to trust their tap water — and they have reason not to

Black and Hispanic Americans are drinking more bottled water during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not because of marketing. A new survey found that these communities are less confident in the quality and safety of their tap water than white Americans.

More than a third of Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are concerned about contamination and think access to clean water is a problem in the United States, according to a new survey commissioned by SOURCE Global, a hydropanel company, compared to 28 percent of white Americans.

“Lack of trust leads to lack of security and a lack of access,” said SOURCE CEO Cody Friesen.

So how do you fix that?

“We unwind or correct what is otherwise a massive gap starting with trust issues to infrastructure issues and leapfrog to technology providing a solution.”

Their mistrust is grounded in the experiences of the more than 30 million people in the United States who lived in areas where water violated safety rules in early 2019. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency between 2010-16 shows that drinking water systems that constantly violate the law are 40 percent more likely to serve people of color — and take longer to become compliant.

“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 Neil Grimmer, brand president of SOURCE Global, in a release.

SOURCE wants to do for drinking water what solar did for electricity, taking “the brain trust” from the renewable energy industry and applying it not only to infrastructure but also social equity. The company is partnering with local community leaders, such as Reverend Leo Woodberry in Florence, S.C., to address environmental racism. There and in other parts of the United States, where poor, nonwhite Americans suffer from a lack of clean drinking water, the company’s solar powered hydropanels allow communities more control over their water quality.

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