How safe is your drinking water?

Evidence suggests Minnesota’s drinking water is not always as clean as official reports claim.

Keelia Moeller

According to the Department of Health, tests run by the Environmental Health Division on Minnesota drinking water have underreported the level of contaminants in it for the past 20 years.
 
 
Although the tests did not underreport lead, fluoride, bacteria or heavy metals, they did underreport levels of organic chemicals, fertilizers, household chemicals and solvents.
 
 
Learning that officials have been improperly disclosing health information pertaining to more than 1,500 public drinking water systems concerns me, to say the least.
 
 
Evidence also suggests that some of the drinking water systems are at a higher contamination risk. Officials have announced they will address the dangers immediately. 
 
 
Minnesota health commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger insists the health risks which the contaminants pose are low. However, these risks are impossible to measure because of how long this underreporting has been going on. But if the health risks are impossible to measure, Ehlinger’s assurance that they’re low doesn’t mean much to me.
 
 
This is the second time in the past few months that the Health Department has been caught with testing issues in its labs — an initial incident in September  led to the investigation that unearthed the underreporting of contaminants in drinking water.
 
 
As a result of recent problems, my concerns about unsafe drinking water are higher than ever. We cannot brush this issue aside by labeling it a “low health risk.” Instead, we need to put the Health Department, along with all its tests, under absolute scrutiny until we receive adequate test measurements. 
 
 
Keelia Moeller welcomes comments at [email protected].