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How to Find Information about Your Local Water Quality

Water quality is an important issue. Excessive contaminants in drinking water can cause persistent issues for you and your family. As evidenced by the 2014 water crisis in Flint Michigan, contamination of drinking water can have lasting effects on local populations.

Contaminants can be introduced into drinking water in a variety of ways. In Flint, Michigan, proper measures were not taken to prevent corrosion in the transition from the city of Detroit to the Flint River. As a result, lead from old pipes contaminated the drinking supply. For three years, Flint residents have had to boil water or buy bottled water to have access to clean drinking water.

To this day, Flint continues to struggle with the contaminants in their water. Needless to say, clean drinking water is a significant issue and one that causes widespread concern.

This situation may have caused you to question your own drinking supply. Is your water contaminated? How would you know? And most importantly, where can you find that information? Here are some tips.

Government resources for water quality

If a community water system serves more than 100,000 people, they are required to post a consumer report. The EPA provides a link to Consumer Customer Reports (CCR) by area. This is a good place to get started. �Your CCR tells you where your water comes from and what’s in it,� according to the EPA�s website.

If you live in an area that is not serviced by a community water system, directly contact the utility for water information.

If you are unsatisfied with the information you receive from your local water supplier, you can check with your state�s governing office to identify what you can do to find helpful information. The EPA provides a link for finding state offices.

In addition, the EPA also maintains a system called the Safe Drinking Water Information System to help inform consumers about their local drinking water. The agency openly admits on their website that there is a lack of transparency in reporting: �EPA is aware of inaccuracies and underreporting of some data in the Safe Drinking Water Information System.�

Other resources for water quality

If the EPA lacks the information you are seeking, you can perform an internet search for the specific utility. Often, smaller utilities will include water quality reports or water quality information on the town or individual utility website.

The Environmental Working Group also offers a National Drinking Water Database that allows you to perform a search and find information about what�s in your water.

If all else fails, you can always perform a quick test of your water at home. Home testing kits are available at local area stores that allows you to easily do a quick check for contaminants in your water. Check out lifehacker�s post for more info.

Want to know more about what utilities are required to tell their customers? Check out our post discussing regulatory compliance and water quality.

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