Clean accessible water is essential to healthy living. Being able to access water in our homes to drink, cook, and bathe affords us the comforts of modern life. When you turn on your tap, you assume that the water is suitable to drink. Through this project, we learned that much care goes towards assuring Oregon's residents have access to fresh, clean water, we learned about many debates around water quality. Issues range from discussions of fluoridation, lead, and a parasite called cryptosporidium. The following is a summary of some of the newspaper articles we read.
Lead: We found newspaper articles concerned with lead. Some newspaper articles that we read from 2011-2016 reported that Portland Public Schools discovered lead in their facilities. When parents learned of the situation and advocated for a fix, the problems were solved. If you want to know more about lead your water, the Portland Water Bureau offers a free test kit and information guide.
Cryptosporidium: Cryptosporidium is one of the leading causes of waterborne illness in the United States. Cryptosporidium is a parasite with a hard outer shell that allows it to be resilient to chlorine treatment and to survive out of water for a longer period of time. Portland closely monitors the water twice a week. Portland discussed treatment facilities: 1) a less expensive UV treatment plant that primarily deals with parasites or 2) a more expensive but more comprehensive facility that can address future issues that may arise with our water source. The total cost difference between the two is $220 million.
Fluoridation: If you have spent any amount of time living in or around Portland you have probably heard about the constant attempts to approve the fluoridation of our water. Whether or not you agree with fluoridation, one thing is clear. Oregon and Oregonians have made great strides in ensuring the purity of our water sources. We have certainly not seen the end of the fluoridation debate and we certainly will not see a diminishing of the pride and protection we have for our water sources.
We have access to some really delicious and mineral-rich water in Oregon. Thanks to the years of efforts and the countless legislations passed we have been able to maintain the quality of our sources. Here’s to many years more of enjoying a clean delicious glass of water.