Water Quality and Environmental health

Whereas in developing countries, the concern is about insufficient water supply and water contamination, in the US, the concern is different, and ranges from a number of issues such as ensuring the quality of bottled drinking water, reducing the transmission of infectious diseases, maintaining standards of the tap water, reducing the pollution levels of water, and replacing outdated water works (Bartram, Lewis, Lenton et al, 2005). One of the huge concerns in the US has been to maintain the quality of bottled drinking water. This industry has grown to 13 %, from 6 % within the last 5 years.

The FDA controls the quality of the bottled water supply in the US, whereas the EPA controls the water quality of the tap water supply. One of the legislations that control the quality of bottled drinking water is the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). The manufacturers have to ensure that the bottled water supplied is safe, wholesome and the label exhibiting the specifications is true. The manufacturers have to met the standards and the specifications set by the FDA for different classes of water including mineral water, sparkling bottled water, spring water, etc.

If the manufacturer does not meet the standards set, it could be considered an adulteration and a violation under FFDCA. The manufacturer has to also meet certain criteria whilst manufacturing, packaging, distributing and transporting the bottled water. The manufacturer has to guarantee that the water is safe for human consumption and that it is free microorganisms. The water should also meet the specifications to whatever category it belongs. For example, mineral water must contain no less than 250 PPM of dissolved solids, and it should be obtained from a protected underground natural water source.

The FDA would frequently monitor and inspect the bottling plants to ensure that the safety criteria are followed. The FDA would frequently collect samples of the water from the market and examine it. Sometimes, samples are collected and tested following complaint by the consumers or traders. From time to time, depending on the presenting situation, the FDA would change the standard regulations for bottled mineral water and the manufacturers have to abide with these standards. The FDA would also take the advise of the EPA for maintaining and developing standards for water.

The FDA may allow the presence of disinfectants or other products in the water up to a certain level that it considers being not hazardous for human consumption (CFSAN, 2002). Another public health concern with relation to water is the presence of microorganisms that could cause infectious diseases. Several microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites may be present in the water. Once this water enters the human system, they can cause disease. Sewage water and sludge contains a high amount of microorganisms that can cause disease.

Hence, this water has the potential of causing disease in human and animals. Recycled water is frequently utilized for irrigation purposes. To ensure that human and animals are not affected, the water has to be treated in sewage treatment plants so that it meet with the microbiological quality standards. A total fecal coliform count of 2. 2 per 100 ml is considered to be acceptable for human contact. Use of treated wastewater for agricultural purposes can be considered to be safe without any outbreak of infection. However, measures that protect public health need to be employed.

The techniques utilized for treating the water should be monitored frequently for efficacy and reliability. It is important that used water be reused for certain purposes so that the dependency on fresh water from natural resources can be reduced. The entire infrastructure should be planned out in an appropriate manner. Besides, the users should also have confidence that recycled water technique is effective and will not cause a health hazard (EPA, 2007, Asano, 2001, & WVU, 2000). Another environmental concern with regards to drinking water deteriorating standards of the water works.

In 19 of the US cities, the pollution from the environment, poor maintenance of water works and the outdated treatment techniques utilized has caused a huge concern. Besides, the Bush Administration has also tried to lower the standards of the Clean Water Act. This may result in pollutants from industries contaminating the drinking water. The NRDC conducted an examination of water from 19 US cities in 2000 and 2001, and found that in only in Chicago the water was excellent and in 13 other cities the water was good to fair. In five cities, the water was regarded as poor.

Studies have also found that the public may have problems with the water soon due to infrastructure and maintenance issues. The CDC has also suggested that people having a weakened immune system should take advice from their physicians regarding consumption of tap water. Hence, a lot of efforts need to be made by the public water works department in order to ensure quality of the drinking water and public health. The current treatment faculties need to be upgraded. Old water pipes need to be immediately replaced and water conservation techniques need to be adopted.

Following the Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the entire public water supply was in jeopardy in the affected regions. Several public health organizations were concerned that there was a leakage of sewage water into the drinking water supply, and there was going to be an epidemic of infectious diseases. Hence, the public was asked to follow certain measures before using the water for drinking, cooking, bathing or cleaning purposes. They were asked to thoroughly boil or treat the tap water with chlorine leach before drinking it (CDC, 2006).


Asano, T. (2001) Water from Wastewater – The Dependable Water Resource.http://cee. engr. ucdavis. edu/Faculty/asano/LaureateLectureFinalUS. pdf Bartram, J, Lewis, K, Lentron R. et al. (2005). Focusing on improved water and sanitation for health. The Lancet. 365(9461): 810-812. CDC (2006). Returning Home after a Disaster: Be Healthy and Safe, Retrieved on October 28, 2007, from CDC Web site: http://www. bt. cdc. gov/disasters/hurricanes/returnhome. asp Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (2002). Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA, Food Safety Magazine, August/September 2002. http://www. cfsan. fda. gov/~dms/botwatr. html EPA (2007). Public Health Concerns About Infectious Disease Agents.

http://www. epa. gov/OW-OWM. html/mtb/biosolids/useofmid/mstr-ch5. pdf National Resources Defense Council (2002). Report Finds Deteriorating Infrastructure, Pollution Threaten Municipal Drinking Water Supplies, Retrieved on October 28, 2007, from NRDC Press Release Web site: http://www. nrdc. org/media/pressReleases/030611. asp National Resources Defense Council (2003). What’s on Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U. S. Cities, Retrieved on October 28, 2007, from NRDC Web site: http://www. nrdc. org/water/drinking/uscities/contents. asp West Virginia University (2000). Recycling Gray Water, R

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