Trusting The Treated Water
Are you or your neighbors wary to drink the treated water because you don’t trust it? Distrust of treated water most often stems from a fear that the chemicals used to treat the water may be detrimental to health, lack of familiarity with the treatment process or even distrust of the water treatment plant operator.
If you or other members of your community experience distrust or wariness to drink the treated water in your community, consider conducting or encouraging your utility manager to conduct an assessment to formally identify the source of these feelings. Once you feel you understand the root of the distrust, utilize the materials in the following sections that will best equip you to make an informed decision on whether or not the treated water is worthy of your trust.
The more that customers know about the treated water, the easier it will be for them to trust it and feel confident drinking it. One common method for informing community members about local drinking water quality is by providing an annual water quality report known formally as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).
Knowledge and transparency can often replace fear and distrust. The better that you understand the water treatment process and its purpose, the easier you may find it to trust and value the treated water. One of the most effective ways to become familiar with your community’s treatment process is to participate in a water treatment plant tour. No one is more qualified than your local operator to lead the tours. Follow the link below to get an idea of what a water treatment plant tour may include, then share the ideas with your local operator and utility managers.
For those interested in reading about the process, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) offers an excellent resource; A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-Operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems to begin with. This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to drinking water systems, tracing source water to drinking water, and water distribution. It is a somewhat long document, but worth the read.
In order to change fellow community members’ perceptions toward the treated water, it helps to get everyone engaged in conversations about water in a positive way. The section on Promoting Connection to Local Water offers a diversity of approaches to outreach and activities that will help you facilitate the opportunity to address issues of trust within your community.