American Cities Consider Expensive Treatments to Quell Growing Concerns with Water Quality

Filter system for water treatment on blue backgroundYou may think that little filter in the refrigerator is protecting you from harmful contaminants in your drinking water, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Toledo, OH is one of many cities that is dealing with growing concerns from the public regarding the quality of water coming from municipal sources.

Toledo is a particularly surprising place for city water filtration to be an issue, considering how close in proximity the city is to the Great Lakes, the world’s largest surface source of fresh water.

However, algae in Lake Erie being fed by overflowing sewers and agricultural runoff once made the city’s water system so toxic that it was forced to cease operation for two days in 2014.

Now, Toledo legislators are debating whether to spend millions of dollars for a more advanced city water filtration system to prevent this disaster from reoccurring.

The Dispatch also references the tiny town of Pretty Prairie, KS, where officials are calling for a new treatment plant to remove nitrates from farm fertilizers that end up in the water system.

The cost? $15,000 for each of the town’s 310 water customers.

Pretty Prairie resident Emily Webb, who is currently pregnant, says that she is considering moving because of the damage she fears the water will do to her unborn child.

“It just kind of scared me,” she said. “Now, we don’t drink (the water) at all.”

In a town as small as Pretty Prairie, $15,000 per person for water treatment is simply unfathomable. However, it should be noted that larger cities are feeling the effects of improper water treatment as well.

As local Grand Rapids news affiliate WZZM reported, the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Michigan recently invested in a staggering $20 million water treatment to deal with water contaminated by the use of deicing fluids from airplanes.

Water treatment is so costly for these cities because it’s impossible to put a price tag on the effects of untreated water. It can lead to an array of health effects, damaged fixtures in the home, and even more expensive future repairs.

“Investing in a filtration system for your home is the best option in this situation,” says Joy Parker, CWS1, Managing Member, “Law makers can take years to decide on the best route to take and during that time you and your family are being exposed to potentially harmful contaminates. Adding a filtration system will ensure that the water in your home is safe for consumption.”

As for Pretty Prairie, leaders acknowledge that the high price of municipal water treatment may drive some residents away from the town.

Toledo doesn’t have the means to move forward with their plans, and its only option is to put limits on when and where farmers can spread fertilizer and manure on fields.

“We have a real dilemma on our hands,” said Richard Anderson, author of a water treatment report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We know we need to increase spending on water, but many houses can’t afford it, and Congress won’t increase funding.”

In the meantime, all you can do is invest in water filtration for your home and cross your fingers.

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