|Testing the Water
Article By Jessie R.
Web Site By James K.
When you take a cool,
refreshing sip of water, do you know what you are drinking? You could
be ingesting microscopic animals, harmful amounts of fluoride, or pesticides.
Thanks to Mrs. Jennifer Fee and Compliance Designs, every time you open a
bottle of water, you can enjoy its natural refreshment without worrying.
Compliance Designs is a consulting
firm that helps bottled water companies stay in compliance with state and
federal water regulations. Fee has worked for Compliance Designs for many
years. She works as a technological director arranging for bottled water companies
like Poland Springs to send their water samples to labs that will perform
the appropriate water tests to meet regulations in the states where they
plan to sell their products. At the lab, scientists will test the water for
many factors. They make sure the microbacterial levels are low. Most bacteria
is only harmful except after rainfall. They also test for other things that
can be harmful: herbicides and pesticides from runoff, MTBE (an additive
used in gas), nitrate, and large amounts of fluoride among other things.
"Most companies do
a pretty good job regulating themselves," the soft spoken Fee said.
But when they don’t,
state and federal governments are there to make sure our drinking
water is safe. Some states, like California and New York, have stringent and
comprehnsive rules regarding safe bottled water. Other states have permitting
processes companies have to go through before they can sell in that state.
New Hampshire and many of the New England states have these permitting processes.
Some states in Midwest have no permitting processes at all. In these
states companies have to comply with federal regulations. The Food and Drug
Administration regulates the finished project while the Environmental Protection
Agency regulates the sources water companies use.
What are all these regulations
for? We asked Fee if bottled water which you pay money for is better
for you than plain old tap water. She explained that in most cases
tap water is just as safe as bottled water. In cities where houses get water
from a municipal supply, the water source is tested every hour. Before new
houses can be sold, they are required to have a small water test that searches
for anything that can be very harmful. They don’t test for many things that
aren’t good for you, however, like herbicides, pesticides, and MTBE, all
things that can not be tasted either. If you drink bottled water you kow
that the water is being tested from year to year.
"Most people drink bottled
water, because they don’t like the smell and taste of city water which is
treated with chlorine," Fee explained. "They don’t realize that other beverages
like soda are not as heavily regulated by individual states and the FDA."
companies like Compliance Designs exist because of people’s interest in the
environment and healthy foods and beverages. Fee, who once worked for a water
testing company, developed the concept for Compliance Designs with some co-workers,
recognizing that many bottled water companies need help organizing testing
for their products. The tests required by each state vary. With the
help of Compliance Designs, bottled water companies keep the public healthy.