BY GLENN TOWNES

The simple task of drinking a glass of tap water has become dangerous and deadly. Due to an ongoing crisis in the mostly African American city of Flint, MI., the question of “just how safe is a glass of tap water” has become a much more pervasive and thought provoking question for millions of consumers.

“The unfortunate reality is that what happened in Flint with the water can occur in any mostly lower income community–including here in the metro New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia area,” said Rafiq Heigler, director of Operations & Development at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, a minority and women owned business enterprise (M/WBE) based in Camden, N.J. The company provides water testing, air quality control measuring and environmental monitoring. With more than two-dozen employees, the company is one of only a handful of M/WBE bio-chemical firms in the metro area.

A report released in February by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said the city of Flint experienced a “completely man-made disaster.” The 130-page report highlighted the notion that the Flint water crisis could have been diminished and averted, if scientists and chemical companies immediately reported illicit cost cutting measures implemented by Flint city officials in water treatment options to state and federal regulation agencies. Heigler agreed. “If a chemical company or water treatment company discovers that shortcuts were done regarding water treatment options that jeopardize the health and welfare of the community going through the proper channels is a must.”

So, how do you know if your drinking water is safe? Heigler said due diligence and simply knowing some basic facts about water is the best place to start. For example, most public water treatment facilities use four key primary treatment components: coagulation, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection.

“Each process can be completed through various methods which results in a range of drinking water standards that vary in municipalities,” he said. “Some coagulation methods remove only a few specific chemicals {toxins}from the drinking water, while others.” It was this type of selective and incomplete water processing that occurred in Flint—with deadly consequences. To find out more about just what’s in that glass of tap water, visit the Sure-BioChem Laboratories website.