Washington state is one of the country’s leaders when it comes to sustainability and it’s no surprise because residents from Seattle to Olympia to all of the cities and towns in between are lovers of nature, spending their free time hiking and exploring the outdoors. In the northern parts of the state, residents were especially receptive to the “raw water” trend, which is controversial because it involves drinking water directly from springs and wells in its raw, untreated, unsterilized form - and it led a lot of people to develop gut issues. Either way it’s safe to say that Washingtonians make sure to lead eco-friendly lives, putting effort and research into being healthy and environmentally-considerate.
In the Northeast corner of the state, where the Rocky Mountains cut in, years of low snowpack has led to rivers drying up - though, water quantity is not the state’s only water crisis because some of the worst water in the nation is located in Washington.
Water in Washington state is contaminated at levels above the national safety benchmark. The state’s water supply is known to have pollutants including uranium, radium and radon, as well as nitrate, chromium, chloroform and arsenic. Many of these chemical impurities are known carcinogens and can lead to issues with reproduction and development as well as liver damage.
The worst part is, Washington isn’t being held accountable for its water supply issues. Back in 2019, Environment America Research and Policy Center and US PIRG Education Fund gave Washington a failing grade because the state doesn’t require lead testing in schools - even worse than that: a bill to require lead testing in schools has been stagnant in Washington’s legislature for years. Then, when Washington’s Department of Health allowed schools in the state to voluntarily submit to lead testing, the findings were absolutely shocking to residents: 97% of the 199 schools tested had a water source where lead was detected at 1 parts per billion (ppb). The EPA says that lead, even at low levels can cause behavioral issues and learning problems in children. No amount of lead is a good amount of lead - especially when it comes to the health of our children.
The Natural Resources Defense Council named Washington state as one of the worst offenders when it comes to violating water systems standards; and the EPA says that more than 1,0000 of Washington’s public water systems violated water quality standards too.
The question is, does Washington have good tap water? The answer: Water in Washington state is legally safe to drink - but is it good? No. Having a good water filtration device will provide the peace of mind knowing that your water supply is the healthiest and most pure it can be. The truth is, Washingtonians need to take their water supply health into their own hands. Further down we’ll talk more about at-home water filtration and how it allows Washingtonians the power over their own tap, but first, how did Washington’s water supply become one of the worst in the US?
How did this happen?
There are a few different factors that combine to create the perfect storm that makes a state’s water quality substandard.
- Deteriorating infrastructure - The first reason deals with the infrastructure of the municipality supplying the water. In a perfect situation, public water pipes would remain in tip-top condition but in the real world, they don’t. Here’s a common example seen in deteriorating pipes: If a water pipe becomes old and starts to leak it can create a vacuum-like situation pulling untreated water in with treated water. When you turn on your faucet, your water would be both treated and untreated.
- Deteriorating infrastructure (part 2) - Another problem with old pipes is that they can seep copper, lead and additional heavy metal impurities - inviting a dangerous and unhealthy cocktail of contaminants into your drinking cup.
- Hazardous runoff - Hazardous tap water is also caused by runoff from farms and manufacturing plants, like car-making plants and coal mining plants. Runoff seeps into our water bodies and then gets into our water supply.
- Adding chlorine - Municipalities often add chlorine to the water supply in order to improve the taste or smell of the water; but it’s not safe.
How can I find out if my home has bad tap water in Washington?
Ask your provider.
The first thing you should do is call or email your local water provider and ask them to give you a copy of the most up-to-date water quality report they have. This report will detail the exact tests done to the water in your area with the dates the tests were performed and the results of the tests. The test results will give you insight into what contaminants may have been detected in your water. After that you can decide to have further testing done or you could move forward satisfied with what the report says - either way now you have information about the likely contaminants in your water.
Send samples for testing.
The most thorough testing will occur when you send out a sample of your tap water - this will also give you the most accurate results. You should always send your sample to a certified water-testing lab because they hire experts who will know what to look for. As an example: some chemical contaminants are hard-to-detect and can be overlooked by novice testers. Professional water labs will check for bacteria, chlorine, lead and pesticides as well as any specific contaminants you request.
Test your water at home.
You can also do it yourself and if that’s something you enjoy, there are water testing kits that can be purchased to make that happen. Professional lab testing is the most accurate and thorough way to test water - but with that said, at-home water testing kits can provide you with crucial information on your drinking water.
You can buy a kit online or in your local hardware store. The test strip kit will give you instructions on how to perform a test at home. Here’s an important tip: when testing your water at home, yourself, do it twice. Testing your water two times will ensure that your results are accurate. If you find that impurities are present, consider investing in a good water filtration device. A good water filtration system will help you to eliminate many contaminants and bring your drinking water to its most healthy and pure state. Finding a good, reliable water filtration system may be a daunting task - so let’s talk about the best system available to you.
Invest in The Water Machine.
The Water Machine is the world's first all-glass, gravity-fed countertop water filter. It's design is both functional and stylish, making The Water Machine an eye-pleasing focal point in your kitchen - or wherever you decide to put it. The Water Machine features a sleek hammered-glass design and can filter up to 6,000 gallons of water over a 10-year span (if you consume a gallon-and-a-half of water a day). Water filtered through The Water Machine is crisp and clean without a metallic or plastic aftertaste; it is some of the most delicious and refreshing water you'll ever enjoy. Plus our all-glass design helps reduce plastic waste in the environment. In fact, The Water Machine is committed to environmental causes, with a portion of all of our sales going toward clean water organizations including Water.org, who has given 36-million people worldwide access to clean, uncontaminated water; and Charitywater.org, whose goal is to bring clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. Please visit their websites to see more of the amazing work these organizations do.
The Water Machine eliminates the following contaminants: Bacteria like E. coli, Chlorine, Viruses, Chloramines, Parasites, Fluoride, Heavy Metals, Trihalomethane (THMs), Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum Contaminants, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Radiologicals, Perfluorochemicals (PFOAS), and Herbicides & Pesticides.