Millions of Americans Are Drinking Dirty, Unsafe Water Every Year, Study Finds
Millions of Americans use unsafe drinking water each year, a new study has found.
Small, rural, publicly owned water systems had the most frequent violations.
In Martin County, Kentucky, residents never know what they’re going to get when they turn on their faucets.
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"We felt that in the aftermath of the Flint lead crisis, there was an urgent need to assess the current state of drinking water in the U.S.," University of California-Irvine urban planner Maura Allaire, who led the study, told USA Today.
The study, which examined 17,900 U.S. water systems from 1982 to 2015, found most of the nation’s drinking water is clean, but many of the areas that had poor water quality readings were repeated violators of federal health standards.
"Many of these smaller utilities have just a handful of people who are charged with managing the entire system," Manuel P. Teodoro, a political scientist at Texas A&M University, told the New York Times.
(MORE: The Secret About All That Snow at the PyeongChang Olympics) In Martin County, tainted water has become such a consistent, rampant problem that water bills often include warnings about the long-term health dangers from disinfectant byproducts used to remove toxins from the drinking water, the L.A. Times reported.
Some residents have resorted to boiling rainwater so they can bathe and melting snow so they can flush their toilets.
This is life in Coal Country, where leaky, old pipes are in desperate need of replacement.