Friday, May 9, 2008

A Quality Report

This week, my house along with the rest of Seattle residents, received one juicy piece of mail. Some of you I’m sure tossed it directly into your recycling, but I hope many of you, like myself, decided to open the pages of this thrilling little report.

Seattle Public Utilities released its annual drinking water quality report this past week. If you cracked open the pages, I bet you would have found it quite the “quality” reading. Well, I might be exaggerating, but I did find a few details interesting.

First off, pictures always catch my attention quickest. In this case, it was a graph of growth of population and water consumption. Since 1990, the population that Seattle Public Utilities services has grown 15%. Despite predictions of a concurrent increase in water needs, the total amount of water supplied since 1990 has decreased by 17%. Way to conserve water, Seattle!

After my distraction by the pictures and pretty colors, I actually spent a little time reading what the report found. Annually, Seattle tap water is tested for levels of contaminants, metals, and disease-causing micro-organisms. None of these threatening compounds were found, giving what Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is calling, “…the ‘gold standard’ in water quality,” It is this finding that is leading Mayor Nickels to launch a campaign encouraging residents to drink tap water, instead of buying bottled water. Seattle residents drink about 354,127 pints of bottled water each day, which adds up to 40,719 barrels of oil and 5,439 tons of greenhouse gases each year. Just think about the difference we could make by just always carrying around a reusable water bottle.

It may not be the page turner you're looking to read over your coffee, but as a concerned citizen we ought to know what's coming out of our faucet. You never know what might spark your interest when doing just a little reading.

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