This week is National Drinking Water Week, a chance to recognize the high quality of water we drink in the United States and how we built and maintain the amazing storage and piping networks.
The video at right shows some interesting pictures of water systems in Kitsap County. It takes a bit of reading to get through it, but the video reminds us that the area — and most areas — started out with many surface-water systems and now relies mostly on groundwater.
The history of Bremerton’s water system, which still includes a highly protected surface-water supply on the Union River, is described briefly on the city’s website.
Drinking Water Week is a chance to review the water quality of our own drinking water, at least for those of us on public water systems. The EPA requires most systems to provide information to their customers once a year. Accessing this information at other times is not always easy, although most of the larger systems post the required water-quality data on their websites.
I keep hearing that the Washington Department of Health plans to create a simple way to link to the data for any system in the state, but I don’t think it has happened yet.
The state’s Office of Drinking Water maintains a database with Water System Data, but it is not easy to use the search function.
The Environmental Protection Agency has set up a nationwide system that includes entries where water system managers can place links to their annual water quality reports. It’s called “Where You Live: Your Drinking Water Quality Reports Online.” But out of hundreds of water systems in Washington state only seven have set up the links — and some of those links don’t work. None of the systems in Kitsap County is using that web page.
Meanwhile, you can find the information on the websites of many water systems if you look around a bit. Here are links to water-quality reports for some of the largest systems in Kitsap County: