New Haven Register
Forum: The Real Truth About Tap Water
March 2, 2018
Recently, Hearst Newspapers took tap water to task on its pages by implying it may contain harmful contaminants and offering “myth-busting advice” from PUR, a water filtration company.
To help clear up the persistent spread of misinformation about tap water, here’s the real truth from a reputable water utility — the Regional Water Authority (RWA) — who’s been trusted for delivering high-quality water since 1849.
First, our state’s public drinking water sources use only the highest quality waters safeguarded by numerous laws intended to protect public health. Connecticut is only one of two states that prohibit discharges from wastewater treatment plants within public water supply watersheds. This means that Connecticut’s public water supplies are at little risk of exposure to pharmaceuticals and other contaminants that have been flushed into the wastewater stream.
Second, we go well beyond the minimum requirements set by federal and state standards. In 2017, the RWA performed nearly 120,000 tests on over 10,000 water samples taken from numerous locations throughout our water distribution system, at our treatment plants and in the lakes and aquifers where the water is stored prior to treatment. These test results consistently demonstrate that our drinking water meets or is better than the water quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH).
Third, before water ever reaches the tap, we take steps to protect our sources of supply and watershed areas from potential contamination. We use a multi-barrier approach that focuses on watershed and aquifer management, treatment of the water, maintaining the distribution system, and monitoring water quality to ensure consumers receive the highest-quality water possible. Our HazWaste Central program helps keep dangerous substances away from our region’s drinking water supply. And, our environmental education programs teach students how human activity affects ecological quality.
Conclusively, we believe it is neither helpful nor necessary to resort to scare tactics and myths about tap water to mislead the public and promote filtered and bottled water products. Using information out of context as is done on a website developed by PUR and featured in the news article, “The truth about tap water,” misleads consumers into thinking there are harmful contaminants in their water. For example, the website claims there is lead in water that is delivered to consumers. The truth is that when water leaves a properly operated water treatment plant, there is no lead in it. The source of lead detected in water is most commonly a home’s own plumbing system.
The hard, dry facts are that using pitcher and faucet filters or buying bottled water does not bring consumers better health. Neither the Food and Drug Administration, the EPA nor the CTDPH have found a demonstrated health benefit from drinking filtered or bottled water instead of tap water — which meets Safe Drinking Water Act standards. Wouldn’t consumers be better served with a complete, honest, equitable analysis of the facts about the quality of the water that comes from the tap? We think so.
Thomas C. Barger is manager of water quality and treatment for the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.
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