Water quality. What are we drinking?

Water. It’s in our coffee, tea and everything else we drink. It makes up 60% of our body. Yet we don’t really bother knowing what else is in the water we consume, either at home or at work. We just assume that it is safe to drink and not contaminated by metal, pesticides or pollution.

I live in a house that was built in the 60s. From the 30s to the 80s, lead pipes or solder was used in a lot of homes between the public supply and the house. The town’s network of pipes could be made of many kinds of material including cast iron, steel, copper, cement and plastic. They are most definitely cracked somewhere, letting precious water out and pollutants in.

I work in an office block in town, the water arrives at the office in pipes that could be hundreds of years old, enters the building into pipes made of who-knows-what, and in some cases the water could even be contained indefinitely in some kind of tank. If I were working on a boat, ship, ferry, train, plane or off-shore oil rig, the water I drink would be transported and stored in a variety of containers for any length of time.

Before the water even enters the system to our homes or work places, it is collected, treated with chemicals and then distributed.

Together, all of this information reveals that it might just be a good idea to get a better understanding of what we are actually drinking at home and at work.

But how can we be sure that what we are drinking is safe?

I asked myself this question a few years ago when we moved into a new home. I have three children under 5, and I was worried that they could be slowly getting poisoned through the water we cook in, bathe in and drink.

Being a problem solver by nature (I thought I was a creative person, but it turns out my ability lies in being able to design solutions), I set about finding a way to affordably and efficiently test the water. It wasn’t long until I discovered test kit packs that allow a person to easily and quickly test the quality of water using litmus style tests. I instantly bought a pack and tested my home’s water (which turned out to be fine). Despite the result, I opted to install a counter top water filter, which all of my family use to drink from. The taste of the water is incredible – there is no strong chlorine smell or taste (it’s great with whiskey too).

I started to ask around if anyone was also concerned about their water quality, and the most common answer was “No, not until now that you’ve made me think about it!”. It was at this point, I decided to create an online store and resell test kits to people who have the same concerns as I do.

Since starting safewater.ie a few years ago, I have sold thousands of test kits to people across Europe. I am also asking people record their results in my online survey with the plan of creating a ‘water quality’ map. This data (if it gets big enough) could be beneficial to councils, property owners and government.

But here’s the problem. We all spend around 7 hours a day, 5 days a week in our workplaces, and it is here that we consume the most water.

So from this point on, I am asking employers to provide a safe and healthy place to work by testing the water quality.

The same applies to the schools and creches our children attend.

Our lives and those of our family, loved ones and acquaintances are most precious, and we should be sure that what we drink to nourish our bodies is clean and free from contaminates.

Test your water at home and at work. Be sure it’s safe.

Affordable do-it-yourself water test kits can be purchased from my online shop at www.safewater.ie and come with free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Simon Chapman
[email protected]

After more than 20 years in advertising, Simon is now working on new ways to connect small businesses and their communities through technology.

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