In Theory: Tap contaminated but safe

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By Cassandra M. Rodriguez 

All drinking water, including bottled water, contains some level of contaminants: bacteria, metals, chemicals, motor oil or pesticides.

“Contaminants means anything other than H2O,” Anne Hayden, San Antonio Water System’s communications manager, said.Water collects these contaminants as it travels over land, through the ground and from urban storm water runoff.

Edwards Aquifer is the primary source of water for San Antonio. This city’s water becomes polluted with household and manmade products when they aren’t safely discarded. Pollution caused by people can come from anywhere, the SAWS website says.

Point source is pollution traceable to its source, such as dumping wastes illegally. Nonpoint source pollution is harder to trace because it’s caused by a variety of hazardous chemicals. Storm drains also collect hazardous residue from products and the ground making its way to the water cycle. SAWS stenciled warnings on storm drains identifying that they lead to waterways.

Water quality is determined by testing samples and meeting federal government standards. San Antonio Water system’s 2013 quality report identifies the levels of contaminates found in the water.

Traces of lead and copper are caused by corrosion of household plumbing systems. Potential causes for asbestos traced in the water supply are from decaying asbestos cement water mains. Asbestos traces were low enough to not meet the detection requirement.

The quality report states that levels of contaminates traced in this city’s water supply don’t pose a dangerous health risk. SAWS is required to have this year’s report in June.

Unwanted oils, paints, batteries, cleaners, pesticides and anti-freeze can be disposed of safely at the Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Center at 1800 E. Bitters Road. Disposal is free for residents who bring photo ID and a CPS bill. The center is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 210-207-6400.

Do not flush medications or throw them in the trash. MedDropSA will collect unwanted medications 8 a.m.-1 p.m. March 1. at St. Benedict Church at 4535 Lord Road.

For more information, visit or call 210-704-7297.


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