What are the criteria for good water quality?
Again, it will depend on who you ask or where you do your research. That being said, we can all agree that high quality tap water will contain the lowest levels possible of contaminants. Contaminants can include bacteria, organic, or made-made chemicals and compounds such as pesticides and residual pharmaceuticals. Most people are not immediately affected by water contaminants in tap water. However, over long periods of time, contaminants have been known to cause severe illnesses, such as cancer and liver damage. It is also important to note that even chemicals that are used traditionally in water supplies such as chlorine and fluoride can have dangerous effects on health.
An investigation by the Associated Press turned up significant quantities of pharmaceuticals in the tap water of 24 major cities. Some of the drugs found included anticonvulsants, antibiotics, sex hormones, and mood stabilizers. Note: Please do not throw old or unused medications down the toilet! Also, do not dump any chemicals or drugs down the drain. Contact your local public works department regarding proper disposal.
Other criteria for determining good water quality include: air quality, distance to primary untreated fresh drinking water, dependence on snow pack and water tables, history of trends of drought or saltwater intrusion, and population growth trends.† The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains data regarding the water quality of the nationís watersheds. The EPA bases their water quality criteria on how effectively the watershed supports its designated use. For example, Aspen and Vale Colorado come in at the top because their watershed supports its designated use by 99 percent.
No study can cover every city or town. Studies are often based on the most populated cities. Look into getting your local report and it never hurts to use a good water filtration system.