You have the new home, the new community, the new school district. Your home has all of the newest bells and whistles. But does the most basic of human needs meet high standards?
Water quality is not uniform in the United States. Drinking water quality is dependant on safe sources, competent processing, and ongoing monitoring by regulator, and out of those dependencies, you essentially have three drinking water choices. You can install a well on your property. You can use tap water from a local water company. Or you can rely on bottled water. Not all choices are equally available everywhere.
Let's start with well water. It may be a good option if you can install a well that produces healthy water. However, will you monitor it often enough to make sure that it does not become contaminated? Many people do not monitor enough. And you need to understand that a person with well water depends not only on his or her own on site activity to preserve water quality, but on activity of neighbors as well. And that might not be easy to regulate.
If public tap water is available, that might provide you with an option. The benefit of tap water is that in many places you are going to receive a product that is administered by professionals. There are water quality engineers who on a regular basis will be evaluating the treatment of the water that your family is drinking, the quality of the distribution system, and ultimately the quality of the end product.
The federal EPA has strict standards that are applicable to water from the tap. If water providers fail to meet certain quality standards, they can be fined and in rare instances, even have criminal penalty exposure.
Every year, many public water providers in the United States are required to provide reports relating to the quality of the water. If you want to know how good or bad your water is, you can ask your water provider for the most recent report. Most of this information is also available online.
The interesting thing about these reports is that they are intended to instill public confidence. However, in many instances if you review the report you will find that while the water quality may be legally acceptable, sometimes it is just barely legally acceptable.
For example, you might find that there are very high levels of pesticides in the water. Perhaps they are still within the "safe" range, but the levels may be high and persistent. You might also find that there are bacteria or microbe problems associated with the water.
In these instances, the question you have to ask yourself is whether you are satisfied with water that just barely meets safe levels. Personally, I would rather not have any pesticides in my tap water. I would run rather not have a high level of bacteria in my water. And I would rather not have any microscopic organisms in my water that can make me ill.
Keep in mind that some contaminant levels are normal, safe and acceptable. The question might be whether levels that approach the high end of a range considered to be "safe" are acceptable to you and your family. That is a personal choice that you have to make.
The next option is bottled water. There are people who seem to think that bottled water is always better than tap water. That is obviously not true. Some tap water is very good. Some bottled water is very good.
Bottled water and tap water actually are very similar in that the quality of the product is dependent on the source of the water and subsequent processing. If the water comes from a well that is in a highly industrial or agricultural area, the water might be negatively impacted. Wells can be installed to protect the water inside them, but that is not always fail safe. Mistakes happen and human error happens as well.
Bottled water companies often treat their water before selling it to the public. There are various kinds of treatment mechanisms that are available. In the end, the bottled water providers are supposed to provide you with a quality of water that more or less is the same as the quality set by the EPA for tap water.
There are some people who drink bottled water exclusively and rotate the manufacturers. In a way I think that might be a good idea. This way, even if one product is deficient on one occasion, it can be offset with water from other providers and other sources.
Finally, if you are going to rely on tap water, you might decide to engage in home filtering. According to some estimates, over 40 percent of American households treat their drinking water in one manner or another. Treatment ranges from simple pitchers that cost under $20 to sophisticated systems that can cost hundreds of dollars.
Water filtration systems can improve the taste of water. For some people, that is all that they're looking for. Other persons use filtration systems because they have health concerns.
Water filtration pitchers are inexpensive. They can help with taste and some, but not necessarily all, contaminant removal. Filters must be changed as directed.
Another kind of filtration system consists of filters that are attached to faucets installed under the sink. These filters generally rely on the same kind of technology as pitcher filtration systems.
Reverse osmosis systems force water through membranes under pressure leaving contaminants behind. They are very effective for many contaminants .
More sophisticated systems are also available. Some systems work better in treating some pollutants than others. Which means you really need to understand what is you are drinking before you purchase a filtering system.
Persons with compromised immune systems may have special concerns that impact upon the correct filtration choice. Their doctors should help them make these decisions.
In conclusion, there are numerous drinking water alternatives. Which one is appropriate for your family? It depends on the quality of the local water supply, your required level of safety, and your budgetary concerns.
There are experts in water treatment who are available to guide you through the process. Local regulators may also be able to provide guidance.