Over the years, the Water Quality & Health Council has written extensively about how most Americans enjoy virtually unlimited, year-round access to safe, treated, and inexpensive drinking water for pennies per gallon. This article highlights how this cornerstone of U.S. public health protection is made possible across our large nation with widely varying climates, landscapes,
Safe drinking water is an essential human need. But the vast majority of the world’s water (e.g., seawater) is high in salinity (briny) and dissolved solids, and is unsuitable for drinking and most domestic uses. (Making it potable cannot be accomplished without extensive and costly treatment compared to conventional treatment of traditional freshwater supplies.) According to the United Nations, water scarcity already affects every continent, especially in (semi)arid and rapidly growing coastal areas. And it’s not just California: Freshwater scarcity is already or expected to be a statewide or regional problem in many inland states like Nevada, Montana, and my home state of Colorado.
Conventional water treatment transforms raw water into finished drinking water that is biologically and chemically safe. We recently celebrated the 110th anniversary of U.S. drinking water chlorination, a disinfection technology that debuted in Jersey City in 1908 using a dry compound called “chloride of lime.” Today we more properly call it calcium hypochlorite. Calcium hypochlorite
In early September, Hurricane Florence became the first major hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season and wettest tropical cyclone recorded in the Carolinas. Just over a month later, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, dumping significant rainfall before doing the same in southern Georgia and in many of the Carolina counties already reeling from Florence.
Although lead has been banned in U.S. drinking water infrastructure since 1986, it is still present in older lead-soldered copper and cast iron lines serving schools and other buildings. Lead can also be present in some indoor plumbing, solder, and fixtures at older schools, including high-lead brass faucets and in some drinking water fountains. Since
Most Americans are just a twist of the tap away from safe, cheap (pennies per treated gallon), and abundant drinking water. But this remarkable public health and engineering triumph—made possible by drinking water treatment—did not appear overnight! It can, however, be traced to a pivotal day in U.S. public health history in Jersey City, New
Established in 1991 and administered each year by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), World Water Week provides a unique forum for confronting water-related challenges and their global impact on public health and the environment. It focuses on innovative thinking and positive action from scientists, decision-makers, business innovators, and especially young professionals from diverse sectors
This summer, you may have read about the growing problem of harmful algal blooms (HABs1) due to cyanobacteria in lakes, rivers, and other freshwater bodies across the United States and worldwide. In 2014, we wrote about the 500,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio, who were alerted that their tap water had been declared undrinkable.
Last month, more than 450 researchers, regulators, healthcare providers, and others met in Baltimore, Maryland, to discuss opportunities and challenges to manage public health risks associated with Legionella bacteria in building water systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of U.S. drinking water-related outbreaks, and the only one
Water Treatment Plant and TowerPhoto credit: North Texas Municipal Water District Just over two years ago, I wrote an article called Facts about Chloramine Drinking Water Treatment (see also text box below), a now century-old public health practice that continues to grow in use across the United States. About a year later, a follow up