A recent boil order has residents of a small city confused and frustrated. There didn’t seem to be a problem with the water from the point of view of the average homeowner in the area. But, nevertheless, many homes and businesses were impacted when the Mayor signed off on the boil order.
This wasn’t a case of a pump going down and bacteria building up in the stagnant water within the pipes of the city. Though we have read about cases like that recently. In this situation, it was actually a problem with the chemicals used to treat the water. In order to provide the best possible drinking water to the city, the water is treated with certain chemicals. In the right quantities, these make the water safer. But, when they are pumped into the water supply in excess, they can be harmful to those consuming the water. One of those chemicals added to the water is fluoride. This is the same substance found in most toothpastes on the market. However, you won’t find it in the toothpaste marketed to young children, because they are more likely to inadvertently swallow the teeth cleaning solution. Consuming too much fluoride, whether as a result of swallowing toothpaste or having high concentrations of it in drinking water, can result in fluoride poisoning. The chemical, which is very good for our teeth in small concentrations can damage our stomach lining, harm our kidneys, and cause brittle bones if consumed in excess.
Flowmeters, like those sold by SRP controls, are used to ensure that the correct amount of chemical is added to the water supply. Very likely, the city had a faulty flowmeter and will have to address that problem before the boil order can be lifted.