At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them

photo: lead levels - At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them

More than five years after Flint’s water crisis first hit the news, the city has successfully lowered the lead levels in its water.

The most recently available testing , from the second half of 2018, puts the lead in Flint’s water at 4 parts per billion. That’s well below the level, 15 ppb, that the federal government currently regards as dangerous for public health.

No amount of lead in water … [more…]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

photo: dead bird consumed plastic. There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Photo: An albatross that has succumbed to starvation due to overconsumption of plastic particles. Chris Jordan via Ars Electronica on Flickr.

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970

You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use … [more…]

‘You Just Don’t Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessary’

photo: a hill town alongside a small river or large creek. 'You Just Don't Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessary'

Rockcastle Creek flows past residential homes and businesses along Route 3 in the town of Inez, the county seat of Martin County, Ky. A giant coal sludge spill in October 2000 contaminated the county’s rivers for miles, and locals still don’t trust the water. Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR

Aleigha Sloan can’t remember ever drinking a glass of water from the tap at her home. That is "absolutely dangerous," the 17-year-old

[more…]

As Climate Warms, Algae Blooms In Drinking Water Supplies

Photo: warning signs. As Climate Warms, Algae Blooms In Drinking Water Supplies

Photo: A toxic algae bloom in Oregon’s Detroit Lake caused havoc in May, when toxins made their way into the city of Salem’s drinking water. Oregon has since enacted rules requiring water systems to test for algae toxins. Dirk VanderHart/Oregon Public Broadcasting

The vague warning jolted citizens in and around Salem, Oregon to attention on May 29.

"Civil Emergency in this area until 1128PM," read the text message alert. "Prepare

[more…]

What’s Best for Kids: Bottled Water or Fountains?

photo: drinking fountains vs. bottled water in schools. What's Best for Kids: Bottled Water or Fountains?

Tap water may be better for kids than sugary sodas, but many schools have lead-contaminated water (file photo). This story is part of a special series that explores the global water crisis. For more clean water news, photos, and information, visit National Geographic’s Freshwater Web site.

As the U.S. taste for bottled water grows, environmentalists have been trying to sell people on good old-fashioned—and free—tap water. But tap water’s … [more…]