Four Steps/Methods to Fix Your Water
- Flushing: Run cold water taps for two minutes before using water for drinking and cooking. When water hasn't been used for several hours and sits in your pipes for long periods of time, water quality can decline.
- Cold Water Use: Do not use hot tap water for drinking and cooking. Hot water dissolves contaminants and may contain metals, sediment and bacteria that build up in the water heater.
- Water Filters: Routinely replace filter cartridges. Bacteria and metals can build up in filter cartridges. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for filter replacement.
Faucet Aerators: Routinely clean faucet aerators and replace them as needed. Sediment and metals can collect in the aerator screen located at the tip of your faucets.
According to a 2017 article in the journal Applied Water Science, most contaminants can’t be easily detected and testing is needed to identify them.
If you have reason to believe your water supply is contaminated, switch to using bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing your teeth and making ice.
In some situations, boiling your water will make it safe to consume. If your water authority issues a boil water advisory, bring your water to a vigorous boil for one minute. This will ensure that all bacteria and other microbes are killed and will make the water safe for drinking, cooking and ice making.
Unfortunately, boiling water won’t get rid of other types of contaminants and may even make the water worse. Boiling water that contains PFAS, for instance, will actually concentrate the chemicals and increase your health risks
On a household basis, there are also a number of things you can do to reduce the pollution of our water.
Do's and Dont's
You and your family can help keep your water supply safe by abiding by the following do’s and don’ts.
DO Catch Runoff. Use gravel, paver stones and other porous materials to stop the flow of stormwater around your home before it pours into storm drains.
DO Pick Up After Your Dog. Pet waste is laden with bacteria and can easily contaminate storm drains and water supplies. Pick up poop in a recycled bag and put it in your garbage.
DO Maintain Your Car. When your car leaks oil, coolant and other fluids, rainwater takes it right into the groundwater. Keep your car in good condition and also wash it in a commercial car wash. It’s better than discharging polluted water down your driveway.
DO Shop with Pollution in Mind. Reducing your use of harmful chemicals can also go a long way. When possible, choose non-toxic cleaners and pesticides and opt for phosphate-free detergents.
DON’T Use the Toilet as a Trash Can. Don’t flush tampons, baby wipes and other non-biodegradable products. Also avoid flushing old prescription medications and take them to a prescription drug drop-off point instead.
DON’T Use the Sink as a Trash Can. Never dump paint, oil or other household chemicals down the drain. This also goes for fat, oil and cooking grease. Instead, keep it in a jar under the sink and dispose of the jar in the garbage when it gets full.
Finally, if you see someone pouring oil down a storm drain or dumping waste in a stream, report them to the authorities. You may first want to try contacting your local government, but if that doesn’t work, you can contact your state environmental agency. The EPA also has an online form where you can report environmental violations.