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How Clean is Your City’s Drinking Water?

If your home is hooked up to city water, you probably assume that your drinking water is clean. And for the most part, it probably is. But there may be some things lurking in your tap that you did not expect.

Every city’s water is different. How clean is yours?

According to the Environmental Working Group, 170 million people in the United States are drinking radioactive tap water. EWG’s analysis of test results from public water systems between 2010 and 2015 showed that the drinking water for millions of Americans contained radioactive elements. The levels of these radioactive elements, the group says, is high enough to increase the risk of cancer.

Trace amounts of medications have also been found in drinking water supplies across the United States. In West Virginia, a chemical spill led to a water ban for 300,000 people in the state. The fiasco sickened hundreds of people and left many with a lasting fear of drinking tap water.

A report from the New York Times also found that the water towers sitting on top of thousands of buildings across the city were contaminated with coliform and E. coli. These microbes were found in towers that were well-maintained, although the city is lax in enforcing regulations for water tank inspection and cleaning.

It’s easy to find out the quality of your city’s drinking water, but what if you’re hooked up to a well? Here are four signs that your drinking water isn’t as clean as it should be.

1. Sulfur Smell

If your water smells like rotten eggs, sulfur may be the culprit. It’s normal for drinking water to contain trace amounts of sulfur, but levels shouldn’t be so high that it overpowers your senses.

High levels of sulfur can lead to dehydration and intestinal distress.

2. Pipe Deterioration

Deteriorating and damaged pipes may contaminate water. Rust and other chemicals from the pipes may seep into the water and affect its safety and quality.

If you suspect that water or sewer pipe deterioration is to blame for your contaminated water, it may be time to call in a plumber or sewer expert.

3. Strange Color

One of the first things people notice is a visual change in their water’s appearance. If your water is tinted or a strange color, stop drinking it immediately. Water is supposed to be clear.

Discolored water is usually brown or orange, which indicates higher levels of manganese or iron in the water.

Water discoloration can be caused by a number of things, including old, rusting water pipes. It may also be caused by excavation or mining near water supplies.

No matter the cause of the color change, it’s important to have your water tested for contamination and to stop drinking your water immediately.

4. Cloudy

Cloudy water may indicate a high mineral content or contamination. Water should be clear and pure, so if your tap is spouting out cloudy water, it may be time to get your supply tested.

In many cases, cloudiness is nothing more than a sign that you have hard water.