What Are You Drinking, Anyway?

Posted by Trish Riley, January 18, 2009

How Clean Is Your Water?

Our water is constantly contaminated. Pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides flow from farms, lawns and gardens into our water supplies; oil and dirt wash off our roads and driveways into our creeks and sewers; and even the pills we take flow from our bodies into our water supply system through our own waste. All of these chemicals are found in our lakes, creeks, and even drinking water. Parade Magazine helps you figure out: What’s in your water?

The Associated Press conducted an excellent survey of water quality around the country.

What can you do about it?  Alachua County water officials report that local water supplies are safe for drinking, although no plans were underway at the time of the AP report (March 2008) to test local water supplies for pharmaceutical contamination. Alachua County Environmental Prevention Director Chris Bird was quoted in the Gainesville Sun suggesting that testing would be a good thing. In the meantime, using filtering systems on your home water supply seems prudent, although the usual systems, reverse osmosis and charcoal activated filters, may not be sufficient to filter pharmaceuticals out of public water supplies.  Personally, I dream of creating a cistern rainwater collection system for my home, equipped with both the filtering systems available. Rainwater isn’t clean, but it hasn’t been processed and doesn’t come from contaminated groundwater supplies. Collecting rainwater also is a nice method of capturing and reusing a natural resource. Is this the best plan to ensure freshwater for my home? I’m not sure…  I welcome input from scientists in the know!