You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that most preppers are deeply concerned about their water supply. After all, water is crucial to survival and there plenty of disasters that could disrupt its supply. Much like the power grid, our water delivery infrastructure is fairly fragile, and it’s a good idea to buy filters that can clean unsanitary water sources should our taps ever run dry.
However, a possible disruption of the water supply isn’t the only good reason to buy a filtration device. There’s also the risk of terrorists dumping poisons or biological weapons into the water supply, or there could be an accidental toxic spill. Sometimes pollution can unexpectedly devastate drinking water, while in other cases, the lack of oversight on the part of local governments can lead to contamination.
As you can see, there are lots of ways that your water can become unsafe, and our chaotic world never fails to produce new and unsuspected threats to our standard of living. However, I’m willing to bet that there is one threat you would have never considered. Apparently, there’s also the possibility that your local government will decide to use you as an unwitting guinea pig for an experimental water treatment option that causes cancer.
Sacramento, CA — In 2013 and 2014, the City of Sacramento performed a water treatment experiment at the expense of residents of the city “to save money,” according to a local news investigation.
Area residents were never informed about the toxic chemical contamination of their water that resulted from the experiment. “Cancer, miscarriages, and birth defects” are the consequences of consuming those chemicals, but the extent to which Sacramento residents are likely to experience these symptoms is not yet known.
City officials allowed the experiment to continue for an entire year — despite knowing early on that very process was creating carcinogens. For how long that contamination will be suspended in the water supply is up in the air.
Officials experimented on the water with a new added chemical to aid in removing sediment, silt, and other impurities in the water supply: aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). It was due to replace the chemical known as ALUM that was regularly used to take the larger particles out of river water to treat it. Both chemicals weigh down the sediment to make it easily removable.
Unfortunately, their wacky experiment completely failed to clean the water, so more chlorine had to be added. When the excessive chlorine lingered with the organic compounds that were still floating in the water, it created a dangerous class of disinfectant byproducts known as DBPs. These substances are still lingering in Sacramento’s water supply at levels that are significantly higher than what the EPA considers to be safe.
City officials were well aware of the toxic substances they unleashed upon on the water supply, but instead of warning the public, they asked the city council for more money to buy truckloads of aluminum chlorohydrate to be delivered every week for a year. Essentially, they wanted to keep the experiment going, which they did between 2013 and 2014.
Instead of doing something sane like testing the chemical under lab conditions first, they decided to skip that step as they dragged the citizens of Sacramento into their incredibly thoughtless experiment, without their knowledge or consent. Could you imagine how this same situation would go down in other public health fields?
What if a doctor wanted to try out a new treatment, and instead of testing it in a lab with volunteer subjects, he went ahead and started injecting his unwitting patients with his treatment? What if he knew all along that it would have adverse side effects? How long do you think it would take for him to be sued into oblivion and thrown in jail?
For now there haven’t been any charges levied against the officials responsible for this harebrained experiment, but there absolutely should be. Until then, let this be lesson to anyone who thinks that America has safe drinking water. Our water supply is not only vulnerable to accidents, malicious intent, and acts of nature. It’s also vulnerable to the idiots who sometimes wind up in charge of a substance you would quickly die without. It’s just one more reason to keep a water filter handy.