Do You Know What’s in Your Water?

By Michael Younkin, Commentary Editor

  Most people never take the time to consider where their water comes from or what is in it. They assume that it comes from a company or a well, and that whoever drilled their well or sends their water bill tested it and takes care of it. On Monday, February 21, Barbara Nealon’s AP Environmental Science class had the chance to see a presentation from the York Water Company to find out where our water comes from, how our water is treated and what is in it.

  J.T. Hand, a representative from the York Water Company, explained where our water comes from, as well as the contents of water.

  Believe it or not, our water at the school does not come from the York Water Co., but instead from a well. Our water is tested, thankfully, by Randy Buffington, the head maintenance man at Susquehannock. However, when people don’t have someone like Mr. Buffington to test their water for them, they end up in serious trouble, as seen by the situation in Flint, Michigan.

  Two years ago in Flint, the mayor and other elected officials switched the water from Detroit’s water line to drawing water from the Flint River. This was all well and good… until people started to get sick from the water. When it was tested, they found coliform bacteria in the water, which, put simply is bacteria found in human waste. To fix this, the mayor told everyone to boil their water before using it, which does indeed take care of the bacteria, but there was still another problem.

  After this problem was dealt with (sort of), it was noticed that the water was extremely aggressive on metals and that it was leaching lead out of the pipes. The chlorine used to treat the water and get rid of the coliforms was causing lead to seep into the water, which causes another assortment of issues from birth defects to brain damage.

  Clearly, it is important to know what is in your water, if this is what can happen when you don’t. However, the issue remains of knowing what is in our water.

  Many believe that it is only good to drink pure water. They don’t want anything in it except H2O. Believe it or not, this is actually harmful. Water needs minerals in it to be beneficial to us. Our water also is slightly above 7 on the pH scale, as most companies try to shoot for 8. This is because 7 is too hard on the system and can cause harmful parts of it to wash out into our water.

  To know what is in your water, you can contact your local water company, or, if you’re on a well, you can send it away to get it tested. You should do this, ideally, once a year.

  Make sure that you are not one of the victims, and know what is in your water.