Safe Water is Important Used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.
Why?... Unsafe Water Puts Children at Risk • Immune system still developing • Bodies still growing
What May Be in Drinking Water That is Unsafe? • Bacteria and Viruses • Nitrates • Lead and Copper • Other harmful chemicals
Can make you sick (upset stomach, diarrhea, or serious illness) • Can be worse for children, pregnant women, and sick or older people Bacteria and Viruses
Source: Nitrate Problems: animal and human waste, and fertilizer. • “Blue Baby” Syndrome • Birth Defects • Miscarriages
Source: Lead and Copper Problems: metal from pipes, etc. • Learning disabilities in children • Behavior problems in children • chronic digestive problems in adults and children
Check Your Pipes! Lead Pipes/ Solder used in homes before 1988 dull gray color, scratches easily with a key Copper • reddish brown in color • may be used in new faucets
Other Harmful Chemicals Problems: Pesticides:runoff from lawns and fields or leaking from storage containers. Gas or oil • damage to kidneys liver, or other organs • cause cancer • cause problems if you are pregnant
Public Water Supply Tested for over 80 different kinds of chemicals. Company must notify you about unsafe water Water test results made public annually
If your drinking water comes from a private well or spring, it is up to you to keep it clean and safe. Private Water Supply Has it been more than two years since your water was tested?
What Do You Know About Your Well? Do you know where your well is? Uphill from sources of waste and chemicals. Do you know how old your well is? If more than 20 years, have it checked
What kind of well do you have? • Dug or bored: big hole, two feet across or more and is less than 50 feet deep. (May be less safe) • Drilled well:a narrow hole (4 -10 inches around), and is deeper, sometimes hundreds of feet. • Driven point well(sandpoint): is 1 -2 inches around and may not be deep.
Well casing above ground, no holes or cracks. • No gaps around casing. • Well cap fits tightly. • No low area near well. • No chemicals stored near or in the well house. Is Your Well in Good Shape?
Unused Wells For guidelines on how to properly seal an unused well, contact your local Health Department or County Extension Center. Uncapped, unused wells can pollute your groundwater and drinking water.
Protect Your Water Supply Backflow Prevention Devices: Help keep pollutants from washing back into hose and into drinking water supply.
Visit the Healthy Homes Partnership site: www.healthyhomespartnership.net For more information on healthy home environments Special thanks to North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension for the original creation of these slides: Dr. M. Cassandra Wiggins Dr. Sarah D. Kirby Dr. Wilma S. Hammett