For many people trying to get and stay healthy, drinking more water is at the top of their to-do list. We all know that drinking at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day is recommended for optimal hydration and that choosing water over coffee, soda, or other sugary beverages is the healthy way to go. But is all water safe and healthy to drink? Must we invest in water filtration systems or bottled water in order to achieve our health goals, or is good old-fashioned tap water good enough?
The answer, it seems, varies by region. If you ask an Arvada plumber, for example, he or she will tell you that Denver is home to one of the more high-quality city water supplies, with clean, safe drinking water flowing out of taps all over town. This is because, according to the Denver Water website, our water supply is 'sourced from 100% surface water that comes from rivers, streams, and reservoirs fed by high-quality mountain snow.'
Unfortunately, this is not the case in other cities across the United States. In fact, an estimated 25% of Americans drink from water systems that violate the Safe Water Drinking Act, according to Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. This means that roughly a quarter of water supplies in the U.S. contain potentially dangerous levels of contaminants such as lead, carcinogens, and harmful organisms.
We've all heard about the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, in which drinking water was contaminated with lead and possibly Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaire's Disease. Flint made national news in 2014, after budget cuts led the city to change its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River. This change led to murky, foul-tasting water flowing from taps in households across Flint, exposing between 6,000 and 12,000 children to high levels of lead. Since the effects of lead poisoning are far more detrimental to children than to adults, this led to a national public outcry resulting in a number of Flint government officials resigning or being fired.
The Flint water crisis was ultimately resolved in 2019, and the story's national attention has prompted water treatment reform in other cities. But does this all mean that tap water is now safe to drink?
Here's the bottom line: all tap water, even the purest, cleanest drinking water available from a city water supply, is going to contain at least trace amounts of minerals, organisms, and other microscopic contaminants. While your city's water supply is likely not as dangerous as Flint's was for the second half of the last decade, investing in a water filtration system is your best bet to have ultimate peace of mind.
Water filtration systems are available in a variety of sizes and styles, at price points that meet nearly every budget. They are ultimately far more affordable than having to purchase bottled water- not to mention infinitely more eco-friendly. If you wish to improve the taste of your water as you strive to achieve your hydration goals, now may be the time to look into a water filter that meets your needs.