Water, our Water

DSC01988Research. It is a pretty cool thing and I like to do it. I think we can all agree that water procurement will be very important in certain scenarios. When the grid is down for an extended period of time, for whatever reason, having water is essential. Now, I am sure most of us already have a decent amount of water stored. No amount of water can last forever and it will have to be augmented from some source. In my case, the Lampasas River is probably the nearest water source and I can get water from there fairly easily. Once water has been procured, as everyone should know, it must be made safe for consumption by boiling or treating and filtering. The treatment and filtering are necessary to kill microbes and remove impurities. Without doing these steps, the water will more than likely make whoever drinks it extremely sick. My thought process therefore is to determine what is in our water?

Thanks to the Clean Water Act, states must assign waterways a “use” and then identify which waterways do not meet their intended use and for what reasons. This is commonly known as a “303 d list). In Texas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is the organization that governs our waterways. Here is the link to the Texas 303 d list:

https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/waterquality/swqm/assess/14txir/2014_303d.pdf

The file is a .pdf and may be nice to save to your computer. You could even print out a copy to have information about nearby waterways in the event that computers are not working. This list provides the names of waterways and the segments that are impaired. You may see things like “chloride, sulfate, or bacteria”. Knowing this information about nearby water sources may help you in treating and filtering water (and maybe avoiding contact like swimming even during good times). The document is pretty lengthy so the search function will come in handy. Also, it is always a couple of years behind, so check back periodically for the current list.

Now that I have covered natural water sources, what about the water that comes from your tap? Well, fortunately, there is a resource out there that tells you exactly what is in your drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires an annual report from drinking water providers. This may be called a “water quality report”, a “consumer confidence report”, or something else. Regardless, it is a requirement by law and will tell you exactly what is in your drinking water. For those of you who are already aware of this, I apologize and you can skip ahead to the end. For those who do not know, these reports list certain contaminants and the legal parameters or levels that are allowed to be in the water. That’s right, I said “allowed”. The report will list things such as lead, mercury, trihalomethanes, and many others. It may also provide information about the water source, and, sometimes, the purification process. Now you will be able to see if the source has issues and how clean your tap water really is. I urge each of you to look up the report from your water provider. Here is a link to the city of Waco’s 2015 report:

http://www.waco-texas.com/userfiles/cms-water/file/cow_current_ccr.pdf

Also, bottles water companies are also required to have this same report. Here is a link to the Ozarka© brand water report:

http://www.nestle-watersna.com/asset-library/Documents/O_ENG.pdf

Well, that is it for now. In a follow up we can discuss purification techniques, storage and other aspects of water. Until then, don’t forget to leave a comment. Have you ever reviewed a water quality report? Did you know they existed? What about the 303(d) list? Thank you and take care.

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