Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes America's Water Crisis
Ordinarily, we might not associate a pandemic with a water crisis. The two issues seem to be pretty different.
But there is definitely a link. And the pandemic has actually served to shed light on the problem of contaminated water.
Flint, Michigan is the poster child for lead contamination in water. The situation has improved there over the past couple of years. Although many people are still leery about drinking tap water.
But in other areas of the country, lead in water coming out of faucets remains a dilemma. Including Newark, New Jersey. And Denmark, South Carolina.
Stuck Inside With Bad Water
What's the link? For one thing, the pandemic has kept many people indoors. Including in towns where water is contaminated.
One Denmark resident recently sent an email to the founder of Denmark Citizens for Clean Water. It read: "Please help me. I'm stuck in my house and don't want to drink the water."
It's crucial to have clean water for drinking. But that's not its only purpose. Frequent hand washing is a key component of staying healthy during a pandemic.
Nobody wants to wash their hands and their bodies with dirty, smelly water. And they certainly don't want to drink it either.
'It's Just a Catch-22'
Marc Edwards is one of the Virginia Tech University civil engineering professors who helped expose the Flint water contamination crisis.
He also went to Denmark and took water samples from dozens of homes. There he saw a leaky sewage pipe.
But he said the town's mayor denied his request to test a well for possible bacterial contamination.
"It's just a Catch-22," Edwards told Vox, a news and opinion site. "If (these communities) don't engage in rigorous hygiene, they're endangering themselves to coronavirus. And if they do, they're fearful of the water."
Bottled Water Shortage
Even for those who can get out of their homes to acquire bottled water during the pandemic, the process can be challenging.
In Martin County, Kentucky, grocery stores are running out of water. The stores still carrying it have restrictions that are not high enough for most families.
Some agencies and Good Samaritans are doing their best to deliver bottled water to those in need.
But social distancing that the virus demands creates problems. Both for the deliverers and the recipients.
Clean Water Becoming Unaffordable
A third way COVID-19 is contributing to the water crisis is the large number of job losses.
A national assessment revealed that some 15 million Americans have seen their water supply shut off recently. Why? Because they lost their jobs and couldn't afford their water.
Just in the Great Lakes region alone there are tens of thousands of people unable to access affordable water.
Despite the fact that this area of the country contains approximately 20 percent of the world's surface freshwater.
Problem Is Widespread
Flint, Newark and Denmark are only a few of the places in the U.S. that have had major water contamination problems.
Between 2015 and 2018, approximately 5.5 million Americans received their water from systems exceeding the federal lead action level.
Many of the tens of thousands of community public water systems in America don't have the resources to comply with public health standards. That puts everyone at risk.
In most cases, water leaves treatment plants lead-free. But lead gets in the water on its way to homes and businesses. And many lead pipes are 50 to 100 years old.
No National Standards
One of the biggest issues in ensuring that people have access to clean water is in the rules themselves.
The Environmental Protection Agency puts out regulations regarding water safety. Including legal restrictions on contaminants in drinking water.
But they are only regulations. There is no national standard insisting that local and state governments follow those guidelines.
Many officials of municipalities believe in those regulations. And they'd like to adhere to them. But there's nothing in the budget to make it happen.
Government Help Is Unreliable
In some places, including Newark, local governments have gotten involved to help during the pandemic.
More than one-half of the city's lead pipes have been replaced over the past year. And filters were distributed to homes.
According to Miller Berry, that's not the case in Denmark. Here's what the founder of the Denmark Citizens for Clean Water says.
"We've gotten zero help from the state of South Carolina. We've gotten zero help from our county. And we've gotten zero help from our city officials."
Patriot Pure Pitcher to the Rescue
It seems these days we see reports of contaminated water almost everywhere. From contaminants like lead, fluoride or even polio in the tap water of our own homes.
In fact, the New York Times wrote a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. They found that U.S. residents have a 1-in-4 possibility of having tap water that is either unsafe to drink or has not been monitored for contaminants.
It's becoming more and more clear that the government is not able to protect your family when it comes to the water supply. And with the current pandemic, the situation is even more critical.
You must take matters into your own hands if you want to ensure your family always has clean, pure water to drink.
That's why I'm excited to tell you about the revolutionary water pitcher: the Patriot Pure Pitcher.
It gives you all the convenience of a water pitcher that fits directly in your fridge. Yet it can filter out truly scary stuff that other pitcher brands fall short on removing.