How do you know your water is safe?

Our government bears the responsibility of monitoring and maintaining water quality for two primary sources of water.  The first is recreational water, which includes the ocean water that beach-goers, fishermen, and shellfish harvesters work and play in.  State and local agencies frequently take samples of recreational water and monitor its contents to ensure it is safe.  According to the latest 2014 Water Quality report for Orange County, these agencies have collected over 7,000 water samples while performing over 23,000 tests.

Drinking water in California, however, is heavily regulated and controlled thanks to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65.

This acts protects the citizens of California by helping to ensure their drinking water is free from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other harm.  The act also establishes timelines and notification requirements for companies using or disposing of chemicals known to be deadly or hazardous if they enter the water supply.

To know more about your local drinking water, visit your state or city’s website.  Most government agencies will publish an annual report informing the public about the quality of their drinking water and any important events that affect it.

What is in your water?

According to the city of Huntington beach’s latest annual water report, fluoride occurs naturally in most of the water supply for Orange County, and the city has also been adding some since the 1970s.

The report states that although the water in the city passes all state and federal guidelines and requirements, there is nevertheless a good chance that small amounts of minerals and other materials will be found in your water at levels deemed not to be a health risk.  The report lists all the chemicals and other substances found in your water and the levels at which they occur.

How can you avoid water contamination?

If you don’t trust your water source or you want to make sure all foreign substances are removed before letting your family drink, what can you do to help improve your water quality?  A water softener, water filter, or reverse osmosis machine can help you, by themselves or in combination with each other.

Water softeners remove calcium, magnesium, or other chemicals from your water.  These machines are especially useful if you notice spots on your dishes after you run the dishwasher or hard water stains or buildup in your shower or bath.  Studies have also shown that softer water can help preserve your clothes and extend their useful life.

Water filters are also a popular choice.  You can install either a consumer (i.e. at the tap) filter or get one for your entire house.  Filters can hook up to your tap, but you can also get water bottles or other containers with filters attached.

Reverse osmosis machines can be complicated and generally require professional installation, but the benefits can be enormous as this water is considered to be equal in quality to bottled water.  The advantage is that, once installed, this water is available in your home at your convenience, thus eliminating the plastic waste from countless water bottles.

A fourth option is a backflow prevention system.  While not directly filtering your water, this system helps to prevent backflow incidents so that your water does not become contaminated in the event of a reversal of pressure in your water delivery system.

(Note: Baird and Crockett Plumbing Service Inc. has been installing filters, softeners, reverse osmosis devices, and backflow prevention systems for over fifty years.  They are your trusted neighborhood plumbing and water experts, and you can rely on them to get the job done.  Call Baird and Crockett today with any questions you may have about devices for water filtration.)