Clean drinking water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Many people’s drinking water has been exposed to harmful levels of biological, chemical, and mineral contaminants. Treatments meant to keep our drinking water safe are also potential sources of contamination. Chlorine and chloramine which are commonly added to water to kill pathogenic organisms can lead to the formation of disinfectant byproducts which may lead to cancer and other adverse health effects when exposure occurs at levels above the EPA standards. Furthermore, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other contaminants are finding their way into our water supplies. In a 2009 report, the EPA warned that “threats to drinking water are increasing,” adding that “we can no longer take our drinking water for granted.” Drinking bottled water doesn’t solve the problem as bottled water is subject to degradation over time.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink about 91 oz and men drink about 125 oz of water per day. Access to clear, good-tasting water helps to persuade people to drink water. Many people unknowingly suffer from dehydration which results in headaches, muscle cramps, and dry skin. Below are three ways to promote the consumption of safe drinking water.

1. Promote drinking the recommended amount of water by providing one water dispenser every 100 feet within occupied areas, and ensuring it tastes good (has a very low amount of the metals and minerals which make water taste bad). Water dispensers must be cleaned daily for mouthpieces, protective guards, and collective bins to prevent lime and calcium build-up, and quarterly for outlet screen and aerators to remove debris and sediment.

2. Limit the presence of sediment and water-borne pathogens, dissolved metals such as lead, arsenic, antimony, mercury, nickel, and copper, organic pollutants, herbicides and pesticides, fertilizers, disinfectants, disinfectant byproducts, and fluoride. This requires testing on a quarterly basis and action and remediation of unacceptable conditions.

3. Regularly treat all water that people drink with an activated carbon filter to remove organic chemicals, a sediment filter to remove suspended solids, and UVGI water sanitation and a filter to remove or reduce microbial cysts.