When you go to the sink to get a drink of water, you have a reasonable expectation that the water you drink will be safe. In fact, the Federal government has passed legislation making this a right that is protected by law. Yet a recent article in Huntington Post indicates that a growing list of utilities have safety violations in the processes used to deliver drinking water to their customers. In fact, about 1 out of every 4 people in every state in the country are drinking water coming from a system that has received at least one violation. This is a serious problem that people need to be aware of!
A Known But Unknown Problem
The NRDC recently released an analysis of water systems from 2015. In the report, over 80,000 violations to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act were reported, which means that 77 million people were delivered water that did not meet current health standards. Some of these problems were not health-based, but a shocking 12,000 health-based violations were reported affecting 27 million people. This was in 2015, yet the problems were not properly reported. Most of the people drinking the unsafe and unhealthy water had no idea their health and safety was compromised, even though the utility companies knew there is a problem.
These health risks can be serious. Water that fails to follow health regulations can be contaminated with dangerous pollutants like nitrates and lead or deadly bacteria like coliform. People drinking this water can become sick or are being exposed to toxins that could eventually cause health problems.
In addition, nothing is being done about the violations. As many as 87 percent of the violations had no formal enforcement action taken against them. In fact, only about 3 percent of those municipalities and utility companies that were in violation of the regulations were even fined.
The Reason for the Problem
The reason that this problem is growing is the fact that there is a law in place with no governing body to enforce it. Utility companies can violate the act without consequence, so the drive to ensure the act is followed is low.
The Safe Drinking Water Act is not new legislation, either. This law was signed in 1974, setting the requirement that water utility companies provide safe drinking water that meets the criteria set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. The law is supposed to be enforced on the state level, but as the analysis shows many states are falling short.
What to Do
What can a consumer do about this information? The first step is to check your local community and see how serious the risk is for you and your family. If you find that your family is one that is flagged by the NRDC study, consider an alternate source of drinking water or an effective filtration system.
If you feel that you’ve been injured or have fallen ill because of these violations, you will need to speak with an attorney. Because the Safe Drinking Water Act is a federal law, it may be possible to seek repercussions for your illness. Guajardo & Marks are a team of Dallas, TX personal injury attorneys who can help you analyze the case and determine if you can seek damages. Everyone deserves safe drinking water. If yours isn’t safe, you need to hold the utility company liable. Contact Guajardo & Marks today for help.