What’s in Your Wa
After reading about water quality issues in the U.S. and around the world, we will be examining the water quality in our local communities. There are two types of sources for all fresh water. We get it either from underground sources, such as aquifers, or surface water from lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. In this activity, we will use an interactive website that allows us to look at our local water sources and the contaminants that can be found there.
- Mechenich, C., Andrews, E., Peterson, J.O. (2013) Home Water Safety: Evaluating the Condition of Your Public Water Supply (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [PDF, File size 99.6 KB].
1. Go to this Environmental Working Group website, The National Drinking Water Database (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
2. Click on “Find Your Water” at the top of the page and follow the directions to find your location by entering your zip code into the box on the top right.
3. When the page opens, it lists all the communities and their separate water providers in your zip code.
4. Select the one where you live or work (or closest to where you live) and click on the name of the supplier listed on the left side of the table. NOTE: If you have a private water source, such as a well, for your home, select the closest town or community near your home/work.
5. This opens to a table of contaminants tested for and a summary of all results. There will be four columns for Contaminants, Average/Maximum Result, Health Guidelines Exceeded, Contaminants Legal Limits Exceeded, then a graphic sliding scale for the testing history of results.
6. Scroll over a listed “contaminant” chemical or pollutant, and a pop-up box will give a brief description of where it came from and what it is. If you click on this, it will expand with further information.
Finally, post to the Discussion Board:
1. Tell us your location choice (town, state, etc.) and the name of the specific water supplier you chose.
2. Select one of the contaminants that are listed for your area that exceeded health or legal guidelines (or both), and one of the contaminants that did not.
3. Give a brief description of what these contaminants are and from where they come. For example: Manganese—a naturally occurring mineral that comes from mineral deposits in the soil and industrial use. (This is available by clicking on the contaminant, and a pop-up appears.)
4. How do the results for the contaminants in your water make you feel about your public water supply? Do you think that the government is doing enough to monitor and inform the public? Why or why not?
5. Discuss how this information may impact you and your family. Include any actions you may take going forward and how you might want to help your community if there is a problem.