Since 2017, Newark, N.J. has been dealing with high levels of lead in its drinking water. Officials learned of the issue after the city changed water treatment plans. This made the water corrosive and caused lead from the pipes to enter the water supply. When lead levels reached a crisis point, many residents used bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.
A city report found that the water filters provided by the city were 97% effective at reducing lead. But, officials said city-provided filters were not removing lead from the tap water because one-quarter of filters were not working. As most people know, lead can cause high blood pressure, kidney damage and stillbirths. Young children can experience problems with their brain development and nervous systems.
Newark spent $160 million to improve water systems and replaced service lines to individual homes in hopes of removing the lead pipes. But, Newark is not an isolated case. Many U.S. cities have old, outdated, or ineffective utilities. So, citizens should test their water to ensure it’s safe to drink. And if you’re planning your gear for bugging out, or you’re forced to move, you should always test an untreated water source. Remember, even if an area is remote, with no obvious signs of contaminants, it doesn’t mean the water source is safe.
If you are drinking water from a creek, you don’t know what happens miles upstream. This will affect the water you collect downstream. If your home or bug out location is on well water, then test it on a regular basis – and always after heavy rains or flooding. Ground runoff can contaminate well water if the well is not capped or if the water level rises above the well cap. Water from your local city or town needs tested for bacteria, metals and in particular lead.
So, here are some water testers that you can use whether you are bugging out, or testing your home.
Test Assured Complete Water Analysis Kit. ($35 on Amazon.)
This at-home test kit allows you to quickly test your drinking water. It works with city water, well water, groundwater and spring water. And it tests for lead, pesticides, bacteria, iron, nitrates, chlorine, copper, and alkalinity. One of the benefits of this testing kit is that no laboratory testing is needed. This testing kit is set to the EPA standard. So, compare your results with EPA recommendations and guidelines for water quality limits.
Health Metric Heavy Metals Test Kit. ($25 on Amazon.)
If you are testing water inside your home and are sure there is no bacteria this is a good option. This test detects unsafe levels of 4 common heavy metals in less than 15 minutes: Lead, Copper, Iron and Mercury. Unlike other tests, these test strips allow for measurements in small amounts. The instructions are simple so this can be done at home.
First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit. ($20 on Amazon.)
The First Alert test kit includes everything to check for eight contaminants. These include bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, pH, and hard water.
There is no need to send samples to a laboratory and the results come back in 10 minutes. This water testing kit tests to EPA standards for drinking water. Now, you can add any of these testing kits to your bug out gear so you can do a quick check when on-the-go. And even if the test results appear safe, always use a water filter when drinking from an unknown source. Remember, drinking contaminated water can make you very sick and dehydrated. It’s not worth the risk, so use these tips to easily avoid it.