Last week was Drinking Water Week, and to highlight this, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) put together a number of resources to help consumers learn more about their water supply and how to maintain the high-quality of water once it enters their household plumbing system. Included was the top ten tips for maintaining water quality in the home.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with ensuring that drinking water meets strict health standards in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. To this end, community water suppliers are required to sample drinking water resources on their premises at multiple stages throughout the day to test drinking water for approximately 100 different contaminants. If any transgressions occur, these must be reported so that safety protocols can be implemented. Water quality reports are freely available for customers to view.
“In the US, our water providers must make water quality reports available to their customers every single year,” said AWWA Executive Director David LaFrance. “If you have questions about your water, I strongly encourage you to go straight to the source to find the answers.”
Although the majority of treated water supplied to American households meets strict water quality safety standards, very often contaminants enter the water as it is piped from the water treatment plant to your home. Contaminants can also enter drinking water and negatively impact the quality of the water after it enters your home due to poor maintenance of household plumbing systems.
“Our water providers work very hard to be sure that the water leaving the treatment plant meets all federal and state standards,” said AWWA Executive Director David LaFrance. “As consumers, it’s up to us to help protect that water quality by maintaining our homes’ pipes and faucets.”
Ten Tips for Maintaining Water Quality in Your Home
To help homeowners maintain optimal drinking water quality in their homes, AWWA has provided these ten tips for protecting the water quality in their household plumbing systems:
1. Make sure that faucets and aerators are cleaned regularly.
2. Ensure that sinks and drains are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
3. Ensure that drains are kept unclogged and remain free from debris.
4. Always use water from the cold tap for drinking water and for food preparation.
5. Replace old pipes and plumbing fixtures with certified lead-free pipes and fixtures.
6. Ensure that cold water pipes are flushed out after home plumbing maintenance work has been conducted, or if water has been standing in the pipes unused for a number of days.
7. Your hot water cylinder should be drained and flushed annually.
8. Ensure that manufacturer's instructions and maintenance guidelines are carefully followed when installing and/or using water heaters, home water filters, water softeners, or any other water treatment device that is installed on your home plumbing system.
9. Don't connect hoses or other devices that are used for non-drinking purposes to household drinking water faucets.
10. Ensure that dangerous chemicals and unsanitary materials don't come into contact with drinking water faucets.
Home owners whose drinking water is supplied by private wells should take special precautionary measures to ensure the quality of their drinking water. Home owners should be aware of potential contamination threats in their area, and should have their water tested regularly to ensure it is safe to drink. Should your water test positive for any number of drinking water contaminants, it may be prudent to invest in a top of the range home water filter, such as a Big Berkey water filter system fitted with the Black Berkey filter elements, which is capable of removing a host of contaminants that may be present in drinking water.
Further information for maintaining household water quality is available at DrinkTap.org.