Friday, May 04, 2007

The reflecting pool

I ran out of bottled water tonight. I knew I'd forgotten to put something on my grocery list today, and if it's not on the list, I don't buy it. For convenience sake, I refilled several clean bottles at the kitchen sink and put them in the fridge.

I knew I didn't like the local water, but I'd forgotten just much. I'm an old Memphis girl, the lucky childhood recipient of some of the best water in the nation. I never knew how spoiled I was. Memphis is fed by a series of natural underground artesian wells. A standard line in the "you know from you're from Memphis" jokes is "your tap water is everybody else's Evian." My taste for clear, pure water was set early and hasn't changed regardless of my geography.

Tonight, I'd been cleaning floors, my least favorite chore, one that's guaranteed to get me hot and sweaty. I opened a bottle, took a large swig and could feel my face pucker. No wonder I became a Coca-Cola junkie years ago. This stuff just tastes terrible. Besides that I always wonder about its safety. We've been under EPA mandated clean up at least twice in the twenty five years I've had anything to do with this town. The talk about the damage to the ground water caused by local industry, spread in large part by a retired executive and regularly denied with believable looking statistics, always lingers in the back of my mind. So does the very high rate of cancer in the local population.

Part of me always feels a bit foolish buying bottled water. We should be able to turn on the tap and get fresh, safe, clean, clear tasting water. That ought to be a given since water treatment is something we pay for with our utility bill. It's no longer something we can take for granted though, and I have to wonder how many people would look at my questionable at best local tap water as an almost unimaginable luxury. I'm not walking to a dirty stream to get my water each day. I shower daily until the hot water runs out (with my small water heater, that's no great feat). I wash two loads of clothes every day and wash dishes. I do all of this without thinking for the most part, taking the convenience of water for granted. Until I taste the metallic sourness of the local water, I forget about industrial pollution.

I don't like what I'm seeing in the mirror right now. One of the rants in which I wanted to indulge this week was about people who only care about social issues when they're directly affected. I really hate it when I find out that I'm no better than the people who annoy me.

water, pollution, hypocrisy


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

The house we grew up in had a well that supplied what everybody called "sulphur water." My mother's relatives who lived in the city would always bring their own water when they came out to visit. We didn't notice the funny taste or smell, though. To us it was just...water.

However, the Eugene-Springfield area in Oregon has "McKenzie Clear." Another one of those waters that people bottle and sell... Here in Scappoose, we have Columbia Gritty, I think. And, boy, do I miss "McKenzie Clear."

May 05, 2007 2:26 AM  
Blogger Jul said...

PUR makes a great faucet mounted water filter. I find it makes even the worst tap water taste like great bottled water.

May 05, 2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

This makes me realize I have journal entry about this also! But, heck I'll do the short version here. I hated the water coming out of the tap here. Being smack dab in the middle of nothing but farm land...the smell of fertilizer could choke the Amish horses around here...I am very hesitant to drink the tap water. My dish rack always has a residue of brown gunk! Yuck. I just replaced the kitchen facet hard ware and the plumber told me there was black gunk in the thingie thing. Oh.....double gag me yuck. I have recently started pouring those little Crystal lite into my bottle water and I have been drinking a ton more. Now I need to worry about fake sugar poisoning, don't I?

May 06, 2007 10:35 AM  
Anonymous quinnie said...

Water quality unfortunately is something we the consumer must take into our own hands. Gov't standards is at best an o.k. start, but using chemically treated water? Be careful trusting the faucet mounted products.
A whole house system to remove chemicals and hardness before they enter the home is the way to go.

May 06, 2007 5:57 PM  

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