Dear fellow residents of Mt. Vernon, Illinois,
As you and I both know, Mt. Vernon city water has become unpotable. It smells and tastes like pond scum.
I made lemonade; it tastes like pond scum.
I made coffee; it tastes like pond scum.
I don't even like to use it for bathing and washing. For the first time in my life (I'm 61), I went out to K-Mart the other day and bought 8 gallons of drinking water at 59 cents per gallon. That ameliorates my immediate concern that it is probably unsafe and unhealthy to drink this crap. But what about all of the poor people and old people who can't do so, and must drink the pond scum which flows from the city's water taps? Time to do something!
I stuck to my guns, haven't drunk Mt Vernon tap water for 17 years. Now after watching a documentary on LINK TV channel, I'm reversing course. The plastic water bottles are carcinogenic made from para-xylene. They eventually break down and form toxic soup in our oceans, which is already happening. Our beautiful coral reefs are adding a strange new layer of plastic water bottle residue.
Also I've recently noticed there is a white residue after boiling bottled water in a pan on the stove for a cup of coffee or tea. I never noticed it when I used a microwave oven to heat the water (mine went out in the trash last year). I thought it might be lime deposits but it's insoluble in lime cleaner (phosphoric acid). Same white deposit on bare stainless steel or Teflon-coated pans. I don't know what it is, should be easy to narrow down in a chemistry laboratory but I no longer have access. One possibility is a colloidal suspension of plastic powder, maybe the same as the plastic used in the bottles. If so, that's bad news.
So the question becomes, how good is our municipal water supply from Rend Lake? For the first time ever in my memory, you must now request a copy of their annual water quality tests. Always before it was mailed to water customers annually. Haven't gotten around to requesting a copy yet, but I know of one contaminant that needs removal for drinking purposes--chloramine. It will kill the fish in your aquarium as well as harm plants, so can't be good for humans! Yet they persist using it as a bactericide for e-coli and other harmful germs. It's either that, or chlorine, and chloramine is cheaper because much smaller amounts can be used.
Chloramine is manufactured by mixing chlorine gas and ammonia, but it's more than a "mixture". It's a completely new chemical compound with its own unique properties. It's about 1,000x more toxic than chlorine gas! Also it lasts longer. Chlorine gas escapes from standing water in only 24 hours at room temperature, but chloramine persists a long time, mostly because its polarized molecule has great affinity for water molecules. As owners of fish tanks know, simply bubbling air through the water oxygenates it, and will also remove any chlorine gas. If you use a chemical sulfite to remove the chlorine in chloramine, the leaves ammonia behind which also requires chemical treatment. Ammonia will also kill the fish in your aquarium. Again, anything that's poisonous enough to kill fish is probably pretty harmful to other animals and plants too. We are all DNA-based life forms here on planet Earth.
So I've done a little googling & reading, and it's fairly easy to get rid of the chloramine. There are 3 basic ways: boil the water for at least 15 minutes, or use a chemical sulfite to neutralize it, or a carbon filter will also do the trick. Boiling is easiest for me, and there is NO white residue left as with bottled water. I can boil a pan of water for my morning coffee or tea ritual, but will look into the carbon filters for drinking water. A water pitcher in the fridge will suffice.
How important is it? Pretty important when you consider the large volume of water that flows through your body annually. Multiply by 10+ years, and even tiny impurities can be significant by accumulation. Indeed we are at the top of the food chain with 7.5 billion of our animal species on earth at present, projected to become 10 billion by 2040. By coincidence that's also the year projected by NASA to launch the first manned flight to planet Mars, very important to me. Hope to see you there... :)
Think WATER and BIODOME and you're on the right track!