Raw source water quality can vary widely around the United States, with factors like human activity, geography and natural composition to consider. Industrial pollution or organic contaminants can sometimes taint the quality of this source water, and it must be treated. Most residents expect the water that flows from their pipes into their glasses, bathtubs, etc., is clean and fit for consumption, but it’s also possible they are unaware of the amount of work or systems that need to be in place to make this happen.
Key to this process of getting clean water to residents is the water treatment stage. Most municipal water networks will have multiple systems that work together to pump water through distribution pipes into homes. Sometimes, depending on the size of the municipality, where and when water is treated can impact the quality of the water that residents consume. We saw what happens when a municipality fails in properly managing its water in Flint, Michigan — where inadequate testing and inadequate water treatment, in combination with corrosive water leaching lead from pipes, resulted disastrously for communities.
The Flint water crisis likely increased the public’s knowledge of just how precarious municipal water can be. Without a solid treatment plan in place, water can flow through the distribution channels with high levels of arsenic, lead, iron and other contaminants. Regulatory pressure is mounted on utilities and municipalities to adhere to strict water quality standards or otherwise face consequences.
Whether it’s filtration, reverse osmosis or ion exchange, the water treatment method used by municipalities should ensure that the water flowing into homes is clean and contaminant-free.