A study out from the American Chemical Society says you should run your water for a while before using it – which goes against everything people say about wasting water – and they blame all the reduced-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads and other water-saving green technologies that’s making our water “stale” while it sits in our pipes.
Virginia Tech’s Dr. Marc Edwards, dubbed the “Plumbing Professor” by Time magazine in 2004, notes in the Society’s “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions” report that our well-intentioned water conservation efforts allows water to stagnate in our pipes and has had several unintended consequences.
Stale water slowly loses disinfectants like chloramine, potentially allowing bacteria to multiply. “So just like milk can go bad if it stays around too long, so too can potable water go bad, and we are discovering this is a downside of water conservation,” Edwards says.
The chloramine can also corrode your plumbing as it breaks down, allowing more compounds to leach into your water and shortening the life of your pipes.
While Edwards emphasizes that Americans generally enjoy tap water of “very good” overall quality, it could be time to switch away from chlorine-based purification of today if we want to lock in the water savings achieved to date.