National Drinking Water Safety Week
Dr. Joanmarie Pellegrini
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Every year the Federal Government, along with organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Water Works Association, kicks off a week-long awareness campaign about our drinking water supply. This week many of us are aware of the issues because of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the water main break in Boston. The motto for this week is “Only tap water delivers”. This motto is intended to highlight the importance of public water supply and safety and the need to reinvest in our water supply infra-structure. Americans have the luxury of a very safe and abundant water supply. However, this does not come without hard work and expense. Some of our infra-structure is aging and will require expensive upgrades and repairs. Very few Americans ever have to worry about turning on their faucet and getting contaminated water or not getting any water at all. That is because our local water companies work diligently to provide a clean and safe water supply. As a consumer, though, we need to do our part to protect our water supply and to support funding initiatives to keep our systems in good repair.
We can protect our water supply by respecting our reservoirs and aquifers. This means not polluting around them and obeying the laws about land use around the reservoirs. It also means limiting some activities such as fertilizing, spraying pesticides, dumping near reservoirs, and using gasoline or other types of engines on our reservoirs.
Tap water is very safe and often safer than well water. It may even be safer than some bottled water. It has the added benefit in most communities of providing a source of fluoride. Bottled water is generally not recommended because of the impact on the environment from the wasted bottles. It also is far more expensive than tap water. There is no data that bottled water is safer or better for you than tap water in the US or Canada. There also is only minimal data that fluoridated water poses any risks. Certainly, we have seen a decrease in dental decay because of fluoride.
Up to 20 percent of New Englanders have a well for their water source. The well water is usually tested when the well is first drilled and again if the house is sold. However, it is recommended that the well water be tested more frequently in order to check for contamination. Below, I have an address for Maine’s website on well water information.
Below are some websites for further information:
This is a PDF put out by the Federal Government to explain many of the issues that affect our drinking water supply. There are also resources listed for obtaining information on water safety.
This is the Center for Disease Control’s website on drinking water:
Maine also has a website for information on how to get your well water tested and what to do if you think there is a problem with your well: