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Water Quality, Focus on Illinois

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  • Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

    The only reason to buy bottled water is for the convenience (and possibly taste). In Illinois, homeowners who have their own wells often buy drinking water due to quality problems with their well water. But if you get your drinking water from a public water supply, that water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has developed drinking water standards for more than 100 contaminants. Bottled water, on the other hand, has been defined as food and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using different standards than EPA. FDA's regulations are defined as Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), such as using sanitary conditions, protecting water sources, and analyzing for a smaller set of contaminants than EPA requires. This is not to say that bottled water is unsafe, but its quality is no better than tap water.

  • Why study water quality?

    This seems like an obvious question. We need to understand water quality in order to protect our health, and also the health of ecosystems. Those, of course, are the main reasons we are interested in water quality, so that we make sure our drinking water is safe and we are not damaging the environment.

  • Illinois Water 2010 Conference

    Last week (October 6-7, 2010) was the biennial Illinois Water conference, hosted by the Illinois Water Resources Center at UI. There were sessions covering a large variety of issues important to Illinois, from green infrastructure to climate change to Asian Carp. There were a few sessions on water quality. I gave a talk on chloride in Illinois waters on October 7.

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