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Posted on Jul 29, 2010

How Can We Learn from Success Stories from Communities with Great Clean Water Management Programs?

The last thing you would think would harm you is your water. If you experience cramps and diarrhea, you may think you have the flu or a bug. You would naturally suspect the contacts you may have had with people who have the same symptoms. You would review what you ate during the day. You would try to connect the symptoms to the cause of your discomfort. You would never expect that it might be contamination in your drinking water that is causing your problems.

Contaminants in your drinking water can cause diarrhea, cancer, and other health issues. It all depends on how effective your water supply company is in treating the pollutants in the water. In America, chlorine is added to remove bacteria and viruses from the drinking water.

While there has not been a huge problem in the United States, Canada has had its own troubles with clean water management. May 26, 2010 marked the ten-year anniversary of tragedy for Walkerton, Ontario in Canada. They had a reputation for bad water. The city’s drinking water was contaminated with E. coli and campylobacter bacteria. Seven people were killed and over 2,300 people suffered through the symptoms because of poor clean water management problems in that community.

E. coli and campylobacter are two different bacteria with similar symptoms. They both produce cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting that can become severe. Both can be deadly in children and in the elderly. You can also catch an E. coli infection by eating undercooked meat, drinking unpasteurized milk, and working with cattle. Its symptoms start about seven days after coming in contact with the germ.

Dr. Murray McQuigge, a local medical doctor in Walkerton, stated that the deaths could have been prevented. He said the Walkerton Public Utilities knew about the two bacteria in the public water supply and did not inform the public. The water supply standards had become lax with the previous governance. The chlorine levels in the water treatment supply should have been monitored more closely. Chlorine is a chemical that has been used for centuries in water treatment. It’s an effective tool because it disinfects water.

A decade later, the city in Ontario is no longer thinking about bad water. It is now known to have excellent water. Veolia Water Canada is now providing for the city’s water needs. Mayor Charlie Bagnato of Brockton, the new name for Walkerton, said, “Ten years later, we know that the quality and supply of our water is safe, that costs have been dramatically reduced, and that we can focus on the future, which includes water system excellence and education.” That is a dramatic turnaround and a success story for clean water management.

Much can be learned for this successful turnaround in clean water management. The residents learned the importance of proper professional water management. Ontario also learned from the tragedy ten years ago. The Province of Ontario has since established a commission that developed steps to protect and produce healthier water for Ontario citizens.

Ontario used what they learned from the Clean Water Act of 2006. The steps include prevention of contamination and improvements in water treatment, distribution, testing, and training. Every community is required to develop a clean water management plan for protection for their drinking water and follow through with those steps.

For example, Veolia Water Canada uses chlorine and ultraviolet light to purify water they treat. Communities also have to test the water plants and water treatment systems to make sure they are still working effectively. They are required to train their personnel in the plant and treatment systems to make sure they are competent in protecting the public water supply.

This story shows how safe water treatments systems can be if they are under the authority of a quality clean water management program. A great clean water management program to implement within your home is to purchase a water filter device. Aquasana designs water filters that remove all types of contaminants such as particles, pesticides, chlorine, heavy metals, and bacteria. Aquasana has been rated a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest magazine six years in a row and Health magazine’s “America’s Healthiest Buys for 2010.” They are a reliable water filter system provider that you can trust in to help protect your family from any dangers that may be in the public water supply in your community.