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Over 4 Million Americans Are Likely Drinking Contaminated Water Every Day

An extensive USA Today Network investigation has concluded that smaller water utilities around the nation aren’t made to enforce national regulations of drinking water quality. Utilities that service communities of 1,000 people or so are not required to treat their water to prevent lead contamination until after high levels of lead have been detected and verified. If safety tests are missed or if the utilities simply neglect to treat lead-contaminated water, state regulators still do not intervene to make them comply with the law.

These new findings illuminate a problem that has plagued rural communities in the United States for decades. Innocent families could be consuming water tainted with lead and other chemicals for years, even after the water utilities and local government officials in their area are made aware of the problem.

glass of water in front of pipeline leading in to river

The exhaustive investigation conducted by USA Today was meticulously researched so the results could be as definitive and detailed as possible. Investigators reviewed millions of records from the Environmental Protection Agency and from water utilities in all 50 states. They visited several small communities around the country, conducting over 100 interviews with families that are stuck drinking untested or lead-tainted water.

Some of the most damning findings highlight the sheer volume of innocent families exposed to contaminated water. Over 100,000 people get their drinking water from utilities that discovered high levels of lead in their water and then simply failed to treat it. Even for utilities that did eventually treat the lead-tainted water, the treatment plan took a year to develop and longer to implement.

Perhaps most alarmingly, over 4 million Americans drink tap water from utilities that do not conduct proper water testing or skip required tests altogether. Thus, this water cannot possibly be verified as safe to drink. Skipping required tests is a flagrant violation of federal safe drinking water laws, yet hundreds of water utilities have not tested for lead in over five years.

How can this happen? Why are so many families exposed to potentially dangerous and even life-threatening water? Much of the answer lies in funding, or lack thereof. State and federal regulators are more lenient with smaller utilities because those tiny communities do not possess the resources, motivation, or knowledge to fix contamination problems.

For context, a standard large water system in Louisville, Kentucky, staffs 435 employees and has an operating budget of $127 million per year, with the highest-paid employee earning $141,276 last year. The water utility in Ranger, Texas (a city where lead was identified in the water and failed to be properly treated) employs seven people who earn $8.50 to $12 an hour. The budget for the entire city, not just the water department, is $3.2 million.

But for families around the country who are drinking mystery water, ignoring proper treatment is far from a satisfactory answer. While governments may fail to properly treat your water, there are concrete steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from harmful chemicals and lead poisoning.

If you are unsure about your water quality, the first step is to take your own water test. Pelican Water offers a Rapid 12-Point Water Test that checks for Chloride, tannins, total coliform (bacteria), and more. Results of your water test are e-mailed directly to you with detailed information about what’s in your water.

The best water filtration system that reduces and virtually eliminates lead and other contaminants is the Pelican Water purification system. The triple filter design greatly reduces unwanted elements in your drinking water, making it safe to drink. If you use private well water, you can take your safety in your own hands and find a well water treatment solution once you’ve taken a certified laboratory water test. You can easily order these at Pelican Water here.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s water infrastructure a “D” last year in their annual report card. More and more contaminations are likely to happen as our pipes erode and our infrastructure weathers away. Purchase some peace of mind and keep your family safe with a water filtration system from Pelican Water.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter