Is my water safe?

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The water in our apartment buildings comes from the Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS).  They have a lot of great information on their website at: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=75.  Here is some of the information they provide regarding the water in your apartment.

Is it safe to drink? SPRWS complies with the standards for drinking water as prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Act and the Minnesota Department of Health. The Department of Health and the utility monitor the water at prescribed, mandatory intervals. Since 1999, all water utilities have been required to prepare an annual water quality report that outlines water sources, substances detected in the water in the previous year and at what levels, along with helpful information. Contact Customer Service at (651)266-6350 to request a copy or you can view the report on their website.

Where does it come from? We draw a large percentage of our water from the Mississippi River, which we pump through a chain of lakes, including Charles, Pleasant, Sucker, and Vadnais before it reaches our treatment plant. Ground water from several deep wells provides a small percentage of our water supply.

What causes occasional taste and odor changes in the water? All water has its own unique taste and odor characteristics. SPRWS, like many other water suppliers, occasionally experiences taste and odor changes. Taste and odor issues from Saint Paul water stem from algae growing in the source water lakes. In the summer and early fall, algae in the supply lakes occasionally give water an earthy or fishy taste and odor. Temperature change and excessive rain also can alter taste. These changes do not affect the safety of the water.

When my water first comes out of the tap, it looks cloudy, but then clears up. Should I be concerned? It is harmless and will disappear on its own.  The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to the gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness occurs most often in the winter, when the drinking water is cold.

Is the fluoride and chlorine in my drinking water safe? Yes. When added to water or naturally present in the correct amounts fluoride in drinking water has greatly improved the dental health of American consumers. Many tests have shown that the amount of chlorine found in treated water is safe to drink, although some people object to the taste. NOTE: even in the correct amounts, fluoride or the disinfectant chlorine in drinking water makes the water unsuitable for use in kidney dialysis machines or aquariums.

How hard is our water? The average hardness of the raw water coming in to the plant is 189 mg/L or about 10.8 grains per gallon. However, we treat our water with lime to reduce water hardness, so the water leaving the plant averages 93 mg/L or 5.3 grains per gallon. Our water hardness levels are posted every month as part of the laboratory's physical and chemical analysis of SPRWS water.

Myth: There are more pollutants in drinking water today than there were 25 years ago. Reality: Not necessarily. Back then, we didn't have the technology to know everything that was in our drinking water. Today, sophisticated testing instruments enable us to know more about our water. Armed with this knowledge, the drinking water community is taking steps to keep our water safe by treating it appropriately and curbing the flow of pollution.

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