Green Tip 7 - Catch 22


Simazine, Atrazine, Alachlor, Metolachlor, Metribuzin, Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic Acids, Coliform Bacteria.

Where might you find these foreign sounding names? Glance at your Water Consumer Confidence Report sent to you by your water company and you will recognize some of these names and a few others. These peculiar names translate into agricultural fertilizer runoff, agricultural herbicide runoff, by-product of drinking water disinfections, bacteria present in environment.

Drinking water sure has changed since I was a little girl (just 25-35 some years ago). When we first moved to our old farmhouse on Bear Run Road in Logan, Ohio in the early 1970's, we had a naturally occurring spring from which we tapped into. It was the most clean, flavorful water I ever remember drinking. This was "living" water--full of minerals and trace elements (crucial for health and vitality). When the spring ran dry, as they sometimes do, we fracked a well and drank well water (still nutritious I'm sure, but not as tasty). Today, the old farmhouse where I grew up has city water, so it has many of the foreign sounding names mentioned above.

In my youth my siblings, friends and I used to walk the ravines and streams on our property in Hocking Hills. We would take off and wander for quite some time enjoying the ferns, mosses, hemlock, crawdads, minnows, sandstone and slate. When we were thirsty, we just squatted down and scooped up water from the stream with our hands. It was crystal clear and absolutely delicious. I can tell you from walking these streams, as an adult, there is no way that I would dare attempt this today.

Not too long ago in the news was mention of the high school student from West Virginia who found in her research that an Ohio river near her was contaminated with antibiotics such as Penicillin, Tetracycline, and Vancmycin. Scientists have found this contamination in other parts of the U.S.

Just until a few recent years, most people drank water out of their taps. Nowadays most people I run into don't drink tap water because they simply don't trust all of the foreign stuff (known and unknown) that is in the majority of tap water around our country. Even if you think this stuff is all right from a health standpoint, most municipal tap water just tastes unpleasant.

As a result of so much "stuff" in our water and bad flavor, we find ourselves in a "Catch 22" situation. A catch 22 situation is any illogical or paradoxical problem or situation. It is a frustrating situation in which one is trapped by contradicting conditions. How are we trapped? Well, instead of drinking water straight from our taps, we purchase individual plastic bottles of water. So, what's the big deal? Well, plastic is a petroleum-based product. It is toxic when it breaks down in a landfill or other place. These toxins eventually leach out of the landfill and make it into our water supply and natural water systems. So, by attempting to be healthier by drinking "clean" water out of water bottles, we are actually polluting our water sources more, thus creating a dilemma. One might think that recycling plastics is the solution it's not. Plastics can only be recycled so many times and then they make their way to a landfill.

There is no perfect solution to this problem we, as humans, have created, but there are ways to help curtail or curb this situation. The first thing to do is to stop buying individually bottled water. Instead, purchase a water filtration system for your kitchen such as a Brita-type pitcher filter or kitchen counter tap water filtration system or order filtered water in bulk. The second thing to do is to purchase a reusable water bottle to take with you in your car for on your way to work, play or anywhere. Resources for purchasing these items will be the topic of next week's green tip. Until next week think cleaner water.

Byline Bio:Gwen Corbett, owner of Bear's Den Cottages, Green Lodging
Helping Individuals and Businesses to Go Green