Because water in the U.S. must adhere to strict treatment guidelines, it is usually considered safe. However, Marianne R. Metzger, director of business development for National Testing Laboratories Ltd., writes in the June issue of Water Technology that some people may still be at risk for health issues if a water system fails. Titled “Protecting sensitive customers from water contamination issues,” the article states that certain medical conditions, age and prescribed medications such as immune-suppressing drugs can all contribute to these risks. Threatened groups can include pregnant women, newborns, infants and the elderly.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend measures including boiling water, microfiltration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to combat contaminants like Cryptosporidium. Algal blooms present another risk to sensitive populations. They produce toxins that sicken and sometimes prove fatal to humans. These dangerous growths are caused by phosphorous and nitrogen, often coming from fertilizer runoff and slow-moving water, and it is important that all water professionals understand the dangers they present.

Water treatment exists to promote good health, so people should be educated about the risks present in case of system failure. Metzger discusses the need to talk about these hazards with customers so they can protect themselves even when they are not aware they possess any sensitivities.   

You can read the entire article here.