A reader today offered up a challenge and asked me to drink Mississippi water for a year if I was so sure that it was safe to drink. This you see, addresses my steadfast mantra that the average citizen lacks the technical training to understand water, let alone make the right decisions about how it is processed and delivered.
The person who made the comment was no doubt referring to an article I wrote suggesting Memphis begin getting its water from the Mississippi River and forego getting it from the Memphis Sand Aquifer.
My article never suggested that drinking river water directly from the Mississippi river was safe. What I wrote is the the river water can be treated to be as good or even better as Memphis’s treasured groundwater. In my writing I am 100% correct and there is no debating this science.
It is important that people eliminate the concept of natural water from their perceptions about what is good and healthy. There is not one single naturally-occurring water source that is potable. Not one that would pass the quality analysis required to meet the Clean Water Drinking Act.
Will you get sick if you drink right out of a river, aquifer, spring, or other naturally occurring water source? Nobody can tell you the answer to that question. However, if you do choose to drink naturally occurring water, you are going to ingest contaminants that are in violation of the Clean Water Act; you will drink water that is not classified ad safe, and potable.
Can you smoke cigarettes and not get sick? Sure you can, but there is great risk that you will get sick. So too, it is a risk to drink any water that has not been processed properly.