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Is Your Water Supply Safe?

contaminated drinking waterThe vulnerability of America’s infrastructure is often noted as a topic of concern for preppers, but the nation’s water system is rarely factored into such discussions. It is no longer safe to assume that the water flowing from our kitchen faucets is a pure and healthy liquid.

The water delivery systems in the United States are deteriorating just as quickly as our bridges, roads, and power grid. The technology at water treatment plants has reportedly changed very little since the WWI era. Your local water plant likely does a good job destroying parasites and bacteria, but may fail at the task of cleansing away pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and fierce pesticides. Water contamination is also being caused by both arsenic and lead. The deadly chemicals may be flowing readily from the tap and into your cup or cook pot.

Some experts feel that the water system infrastructure has played a role in the increase in food allergies over the past decade. A recent study that analyzed 10,000 test participants found significant levels of dichlorophenols in their urine. The chemical is commonly used in commercial grade pesticides and weed killers. The increased use of GMO crops synthetic fertilizers could be negatively influencing the purity of our drinking water as well.

The weed killer is not the only potentially life-threatening chemical found in tests focusing on the nation’s water supply. Records from public utility tests reveal that more than 70 million United States citizens have been drinking water tainted with chromium-6 (or hexavalent chromium). The chemical is a carcinogenic that is frequently used in the heavy metal industry. Lab rats which have consumed water with a chromium-6 presence have been stricken with cancer.

Endocrine disruptors have also been found in tap water tests from around the country. The disruptors potentially cause decreased infertility, decreased sperm counts, various cancers, obesity, memory issues, gender changes, impaired intelligence in children, and impact sexual development.

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Lead remains a water contaminant in many areas of the United States, particularly poor and rural regions. Old corroded lead pipes which still deliver water inside homes have been known to cause significant developmental delays and learning disorders in children.

Pharmaceutical contamination is also a growing issue of concern in regards to our water supply. A massive assortment of various pills and pharmaceutical residue have been found in our drinking water. The amount of prescription medications now taken on a daily basis by Americans for anxiety, stress, ADHD, and serious physical conditions is staggering. The remnants of antibiotics, mood altering drugs, anti-convulsants, seizure medications, and even sex hormones, are now swirling without notice in our glasses.

Medications and chemical pesticides particles are not the only (or perhaps even most serious) threat to the nation’s water system. Bioterrorism is yet major concern and one that is barely even addressed by federal officials. An FBI warning in 2003 that Al-Qaeda planned to poison the water and food supply in America should have prompted enhanced security measures, but it did not.

President Barack Obama can shout to the heavens that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists is virtually non-existent on United States soil, but as usual, the commander-in-chief would be wrong. During the past decade, multiple water treatment facilities have been either threatened or breached. The danger posed by such actions and threats has largely been lost on both the mainstream media and the liberals appointed to head the agencies which could enact new safeguards.

Water Treatment Plant Incidents:

  • 2013 – A Tunisian terrorist planned to contaminate a portion of the Canadian water supply. Had the threat proved successful, tens of thousands of residents would have been killed. He was in the country on a student visa.
  • 2012 – A computer hacker gained access to a water treatment plant in Houston, Texas. The hacker was reportedly inspired to initiate the cyber attack after reading about a similar incident at a plant in Springfield, Illinois.
  • 2011 – Russian hackers were blamed for infiltrating a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) network in Illinois and tampering with water pump controls for about three months.
  • 2004 – Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint bulletin warning the American public that terrorists were attempting to recruit water utility workers to help poison the water system infrastructure.
  • 2003 – (October) Ricin was found inside a post office in Greenville, South Carolina. Along with the concentrated dose of poison was a note that warned that ricin would be dumped into the municipality’s water system if stated demands were not met.
  • 2003 – (January) An unknown individual(s) broke through a gate and maneuvered through barbed-wired fencing to gain access to a water treatment facility in Florida. Aerator screens were removed during what was described as a “professional job” by state officials. The breach of security could have impacted water flowing into more than 4,000 homes.
  • 2002 – (December) Water networks near the Eiffel Tower in Paris were the target of attack by a group of people described as Al-Qaeda operatives. Those deemed responsible for planning the water system attack were arrested by French authorities.
  • 2002 – (July) Federal agents arrested terrorist operatives who reportedly were in possession of plans which detailed a water system contamination attack in Denver.
  • 2002 – (June) A perimeter barb-wired fence at a Janesville, Wisconsin water treatment facility was breached and a padlock to a storage tank cut. Although there was reportedly no “direct evidence” of water contamination at the plant, the five million gallon tank was still drained and cleaned as a precaution.

If the only security measures standing between terrorists and our water supply are barb-wired fences and padlocks, we are in big trouble. Thousands of people could die or become ill from poisoned water before a utility worker even discovers fencing at the back of a plant has been cut. The United States water infrastructure should be protected to at least the same extent as the corner convenience store. The installation of a surveillance video and an alarm system are not too much to ask.

Although the amount of medication, chemicals, and other toxins in our water supply surely need to be addressed, extraordinary efforts must first be taken to secure treatment plant infrastructure and water hydrants around the country. In under 10 minutes, a terrorist bent upon destruction could use a backflow process and contaminate the water system of an entire city.

Every time I drive home to visit my mother, I always swing by “the watering trough” to fill up a few water jugs. The water is ice cold even during the hottest days of the year and flows from a natural spring deep in the hillside. Although a “do not drink” sign had to be placed on the cement trough so the village would not get sued, folks from many miles away still line up to fill their jugs and tanks with the thirst-quenching natural spring water. After reviewing the studies and reports about the level of contaminates in our drinking water, I think I will make a trip home this weekend—with a lot more jugs than normal.

 

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