Water Mains, Problems, Risks And Solutions
If you follow the news you will see a lot of press about water quality and water systems. Since the Flint Michigan pipe crisis hurled municipal water systems into the public conscience in 2014, municipalities, states and the federal government have taken more interest in the issue. While that is most definitely a good thing, YOU as the homeowner or “end user” still need to understand these are macro or large solutions to individual or micro problems.
Legislation and policies to fix water can take months, years and even decades to put in place. When you understand that the U.S. water system of pipes and distribution literally spans millions of miles, you get a feel for the need for constant maintenance, testing and checks. While much of our water infrastructure came in the boom following WWII, a lot of it is still aging and obsolete. Sadly, this also means much of our water infrastructure is brittle and subject to breaks.
So Why Do Our Water Mains Break From Time To Time?
We’ve all heard of water main breaks when winter temps drop to extreme cold. And, we are seeing that scenario more and more these days. Droughts, floods and storms can change soil and irrigation causing older systems to crack or break. Additionally, pipes can get misaligned, disconnected, or just disintegrate over time.
A problem that may affect you personally is that smaller utilities can be at greater risk. Suburbs, small town areas and rural areas are hit particularly hard when an emergency occurs. According to a recent article in WC&P Magazine.1, “Experts estimate that 25 breaks occur every 100 miles per year. The average age of water mains when they fail is 47 years; however, 43 percent of water mains are between 20 and 50 years old, with 28 percent well over 50 years.”
Beyond Temporary Loss Of Water Supply, What Else Is At Risk From Water Main Breaks?
First and foremost, your health may be at risk when a water main breaks. When water system pipes break, the potential for contaminants, pollutants and other non-potable intruders to enter the water system is high. The CDC estimates one in 44 US residents are sickened by waterborne diseases each year, resulting in 7.15 million illnesses, 601,000 emergency room visits and 6,630 deaths.2
What Can You Do To Combat This Issue?
- Have a trusted, North Carolina Water Consultant expert (who knows your region and knows your water) test your home’s water and make recommendations. Remember, wells and municipal water are both subject to contaminants and likely need custom solutions based on where you live and what surrounds your property.
- A whole house filter or water softener will remove many every day contaminants that the municipality is not filtering, and give you safer, softer, cleaner water which affects your clothes, dishes and appliances. Plus, a water treatment system will SAVE you money on detergents and repairs over time.
- A Reverse Osmosis (or RO) Water Drinking System will remove over 90% of many contaminants from drinking water and ice for better, safer drinking water AT THE TAP. No need to buy bottled during a crisis like a water main break or boil alert.
- An ultraviolet water treatment system provides safe, bacteria free water for your home or office, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The benefit of the UV GDS Series is germicidal disinfection in your water because bacteria, viruses and other organisms are destroyed safely inside a factory sealed and tested stainless steel chamber.
- For property owners with a well, your water quality requires specific solutions, all of which can be detected and corrected by your local water quality expert.
- Not all systems are the same. Your certified water quality expert will make the right recommendations based on the science of what’s in your water and your specific needs (for example health concerns, restaurants, medical facilities).
Not all contaminants or substances can be mitigated at all times. However, your local certified water quality professional knows that a “Point of Entry and Point of Use Combination” is your first line of defense against water born illness and contamination. In many cases a basic water test is free. For more information, call North Carolina Water Consultants today.
- WC&P Magazine, Water Main Breaks and Public Health Risks, April 2021 Issue
- Waterborne disease & outbreak surveillance reporting. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/burden/findings.html. Published 2020. Accessed March 11, 2021.