Your Drinking Water and Your Health

Your Drinking Water and Your Health by Brian Oram
Even though 60% of the human body is water, water is a resource that is often taken for granted. The primary concerns with water relate to having adequate quantity of the proper quality. In terms of hydration, drinking water is probably one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. Water is used in your body to help maintain your temperature and ensures the proper operation of your circulatory, digestive, and neurological systems. Water is one of the pathways that potential contaminants and disease causing agents can enter the body, so the quality is also important. Therefore, we need drinking water of adequate quantity of the proper quality.

When the body is not properly hydrated, our body’s response is to make us feel thirsty, but if you miss this clue watch out for dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, confusion, palpitations, and fainting. If over hydrated, you can become water intoxicated or hyperhydration. If hyperhydration occurs, the kidneys can not process all the water and the system becomes overwhelmed. There are phone apps and other tools to help you to remember to drink enough water, but our general recommendation is if you feel thirsty it is time to get a drink and given a choice pick water.
Water comes in many forms, which can include premium bottled water, tap water, spring water, carbonated water, soda, coffee, tap water, nutrient infused water, juices, and purified water. Of all these, it is my professional opinion that we just need to drink water. The two most common sources of drinking water for a community is either public water or a private water source. A public water source is always regulated by both the federal and state governments and many may call this city water or tapwater, but well or spring water may be from a public or private source. If you get your water directly from a well or spring, this is a private source and this is not commonly regulated.

If you get your water from city water, the most common health concerns are related to the presence of chlorine-by-products or corrosive by-product in the United States, the public water supply systems are disinfected using various forms of chlorine and phosphate is added to attempt to control corrosion. The chlorine is used to disinfect the water, but it can react with naturally occurring organics to form trihalomethanes, i.e., a potential carcinogen; while phosphate will react with the metals in the water to form a scale or coating on the inside of the piping, see “Flint, Michigan”. If you are on well water, the most common problems are the presence of bacteria and elevated levels of salts in the water, like nitrate, chloride, and sulfate, or corrosive water. In some cases, the water may contain elevated levels of radionuclides and trace metals, like arsenic, iron, lead, and manganese. The quality of the drinking water depends on type of water, location, level of treatment, the condition of your plumbing, and your home or house. In some areas, the community is concerned about pipelines and natural gas development, but a hidden problem may be the existing quality of their drinking water.

For citizens, our general recommendations related to drinking water are:
1. City Water Customers- Review any annual “Consumer Confident Reports” produced by your water supplier and act accordingly.
2. Private Water Sources –Get your water tested, at least annually, and have the results review by an expert.
3. Look out for potential problems with your drinking water, based on what you can see, taste, smell, or otherwise detect with your senses or problems that may be caused by the water.
4. Download our free “Know Your H20 Phone App” or visit our website – all Free.
A few short phrases we should try to remember.

We ALL Live Downstream !
Groundwater and Surface water are Connected!
We are Part of the Water Cycle – Not just an Observer!

Websites of Interest
Consumer Confidence Reports
https://www.epa.gov/ccr/ccr-information-consumers

Neighborhood Hazardous Reports and Water Testing
http://www.knowyourh20.us

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Starting Off the New Year Right – Drinking Water Water Resources Sustainability

Starting Off the New Year Right

by Brian Oram

Happy New Year, I would like to propose we make one additional commitment this year.  This commitment is to care about the water we drink as we try to remember how we impact or influence the quality and quantity of the water resources.  Although it is the beginning of a new year (wishing you GOOD Luck in 2017!), for the water cycle the new year started in October.  This is the time of the year when the aquifer begins to recharge. Many people are unaware that the aquifer must recharge, it is not infinite.  In Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States, we are blessed with having abundant water resources, but something we should not take for granted.   In 2016, we had an interesting election year that brought up many concerns. Also in the news, came a reminder of the limitedness of the water.  A number of regions of Pennsylvania were put on a drought advisory and many small streams, springs, and even a few shallow wells dried up, i.e., no water.  With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, I would like to suggest a few small steps to help move us forward in a positive direction.  These steps are as follows:

  1. Learn about how and where you get your drinking water – Does your water come from a private source or city water supply source?
  2. If the water is from a private well- When did you have the water tested? For parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, it is not uncommon for about 40 to 50% of private wells to have a problem that may make the user or a guest sick.
  3. If you are on a city water source- Have you ever looked at the Annual Confidence Report about the quality of your drinking water? The most common problem with community water sources is elevated levels of trace metals like lead and chlorine by-products like trihalomethanes, i.e., suspected carcinogens.  For information on water testing, please visit water-research.net.
  4. Are you using your water wisely? There are ways to use our drinking water resources more efficiently.   A website titled, wateruseitwisely.com, offers over 100 tips on how to best use water.  My favorite tip is “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four”.  There are over 4 million households in Pennsylvania, this one lifestyle change could save 41.6 billion gallons of water.  This is only one change!
  5. Our surface water and groundwater are connected, and “we all live downstream”. This phrase means that how we use the groundwater resources directly impacts the surface water resources and we all are interconnected.  Therefore, when using cleaning products, chemicals, or managing a waste we all live downstream from someone else.   For example, the biggest source of man influenced global oil pollution is not massive spills or leaks.  Only 8% of man influenced oil pollution comes from pipelines and major releases. The biggest sources are the small leaks from our boats, cars, and other means of transportation and the improper disposal of waste oil by individuals.
  6. Know Your H20? – it is important to know how you can influence the quality of the water resources, but it is also important to know the historic hazards in your community that may be contributing to a problem. With this in mind, it is important to learn about the historic hazards in your community and surrounding your home.  The Keystone Clean Water Team offers neighborhood or community hazard survey reports for communities within the Unities States.  The 501 c3 offers a few free reports each month.  To get more information about this program, please visit – knowyourh20.us.

The best way to start off the New Year is not with a significant lifestyle change, but baby steps.   Make a few basic commitments and make small changes that will help you and your family save and conserve water, check the quality of your drinking water, learn about the hazards in your community, and perhaps implement 1 item each month that will save and conserve water.   It is important to remember that the less water you use, the more money stays in your pocket.

A few short phrases we should try to remember.

We ALL Live Downstream !

Groundwater and Surface water are Connected!

We are Part of the Water Cycle – Not just an Observer!

You can help – Make A Donation !

 

 

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