In 2010, 3,600 Mgal/d (million gallons per day) was the estimated amount of water consumed by United States residents each day, according to the United States Geological Survey. However, while water is essential to life, many people do not know what they are drinking or where the water is from.
Living in the United States, it is nice to know that the water is safe for drinking. However, that does not not mean one should just ignore the contents of their water, and it turns out that barium, fluoride, and lead show up in more places than just the periodic table.
According to Stow’s 2015 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), 1.02 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride, 0.045 mg/l of barium and .005 ppm of lead were detected in the water. But what are the side effects of these elements? Fluorine has been added to water since 1945, for it has been known to help strengthen teeth.
“In 1945, Grand Rapids [, Michigan] became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water,”National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says.
On the other hand, Barium is different. Studies collected by the Agency For Toxic Substances And Disease Registry show that excess amounts of barium in the body has the potential to cause numbness and abdominal cramps. While the amount of barium found in Stow’s water is far below the hazardous limit, the presence of barium is still something to be aware of.
With the recent Flint, Michigan water crisis, the idea of lead laced water was in the mind of millions. Even though 1986 marks the year of congress banning the use of lead in solder and pipes, the dangers still lurk from the years prior. Artifacts have shown that lead piping was used in the gutters Pompeii; furthermore, CNN concludes that “5,300 U.S. water systems are in violation of lead rules.”
According to the World Health Organization, “There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.” Levels as low as .05 ppm have the ability to decrease intelligence in children. With that being said, it is nice to know that Stow has very minute traces of lead.
But where is our water coming from? Before being purchased from the city of Akron, much of Stow’s water is taken from the Cuyahoga river “via three impounding reservoirs,” as noted in the CCR. The water is then transported and stored Lake Rockwell Reservoir in Franklin Township until further treatment. Finally, the water moves through booster pump stations located on Marsh rd and North main street before being distributed throughout the city.
With an approximated 3,600 million gallons of water per day being consumed in the United States, it is nearly impossible to know where all of it is coming from or how safe all of it is. With that being said, it is reassuring to know that the people of Stow will be in no danger any time they turn on their faucet.