Water Contamination Concerns Arising - WNKY.com | SoKY Community, Events, Weather

Water Contamination Concerns Arising

Water Contamination Concerns Arising

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In Brandon, South Dakota this week, concerns over water dealt with the frozen kind: a blizzard that dropped several inches of snow.

But resident Spencer Schenk and wife Laura worry more about the liquid coming out of the tap, a public water supply that contains radium.

The radioactive substance can occur naturally, and it's been in the city's water for decades and it's not uncommon across the country: an analysis by the non-profit environmental working group found 170 million people exposed to radium from drinking water in 22-thousand utilities nationwide.

Brandon's radium level does not exceed federal guidelines - but many health experts say there is no "safe" level of that carcinogen...

To get that level down to zero would mean expensive modifications to the city's water treatment system, and city administrator Brian Reed says residents would have to decide to foot that bill.

And radium is just one of hundreds of contaminants found in drinking water systems nationwide, things like arsenic, cadmium, pesticides, and metals including hexavalent chromium, and lead.

So what's a consumer to do, if they want cleaner, safer water at home?

Rick Andrew works for NSF international, a group that tests, and certifies, products including water filtration systems.

A simple filtering water pitcher could be $30, a whole-house system, a couple-thousand dollars.

And it's important to find out from your utility which contaminants are in your water, and get the right system.

We checked the water supply here in New York City  and found six contaminants detected at levels either higher than the national average or some health advisories. 

You can also check your zip code at EWG.

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