Bacteria resistant to some antibiotics have been found in Toronto tap water, a University of Michigan scientist says. The water remains safe to drink, he said, but the finding raises the possibility that disease-causing bacteria will pick up the resistance genes.
OK, first things first – I definitely have my own biases/beliefs on water quality. This topic has been a focus of mine the past few years with the schooling and the learning and the things of that nature. So we have some almost-completely-harmless bacteria in our water. Is anyone surprised?
Obvious statements – bacteria are a part of our lives, every second. All but a few strains of E. coli are completely safe, many of which you need in your intestine to break down food. Drinking bottled water will get more and more expensive as international water supplies decrease and the price of oil increases. Bottled water is not an alternative, it’s a luxury. The viability of shipping water hundreds of kilometres on a truck will soon be priced as absurdly as it sounds. Bottled water is already 3-4 times the price of gas now, it will only increase over time. Now don’t get me wrong, tap water in Toronto can taste like a pool bottom. It’s heavily chlorinated, but it’s nothing that a fresh Brita and a few hours can’t change.
Torontonians have their Lake Ontario, Waterlooians have their groundwater. The quality of between surface and groundwater can be different, but forget the source of your water for now, as contamination is just as likely between the plant and your tap through the distribution system. Most often, we’re using ancient water pipes and old treatment plants that often use chlorine as their primary treatment method. The reason for all of this is simply money. Repairing this infrastructure and investing in new treatment technology costs hundreds of millions. These repairs are happening right now and will continue to happen, and less people will complain about the taste of chlorine because new treatments will reduce or eliminate the need for it. Reverse osmosis, ozonation, and UV are just some of the new passive methods of water disinfection that won’t impact taste/odour.
The big message here is this – if we want popluations of people to thrive in a society in this day and age, the water in your tap will be polluted, period. So is your bottled water, you know that. Actions have consequences, remember? Runoff from agriculture, discharges from industry, salt on our roads that enter the stormwater system, and leaky tanks and pipes. Currently the Ontario government is implementing “source to tap” water protection policy – a massive, preventative policy to improve water quantity and quality for Ontario communities. In the future, the inputs from typical polluters will likely be smaller and we will have the technology and infrastructure to distribute plentiful, clean water for the masses. Get pumped.