Wednesday, June 7, 2017


I’m writing this as I’m sitting here waiting for my water-filtration guy to come over to give my system its annual $200 checkup. Believe me, I can think of a lot more enjoyable things I could be doing with that money.

It all began when my artesian well first was dug here nine years ago, back when the house was being built. The water test came back with the arsenic level off the charts – like 10 times what was considered a “safe” level. The only solution, according to the town’s building inspector, was to install some fancy full-house, reverse-osmosis system that supposedly did everything but pour the water into a glass for me. It also cost the equivalent of about 3,000 12-packs of bottled water.

I called several water-purification experts to come over and give me some estimates, hoping I could find someone who was good…and cheap.

The first guy who came over, looked at the copy of my water-test results and shrugged.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” he said, obviously not working on commission. “A little arsenic never hurt anyone. Heck, the Indians survived it.”

I had no clue what on earth he was talking about, but I figured I’d better look for another “expert.”

The next guy had exactly the opposite reaction.

“Wow – I wouldn’t want to be served a glass of lemonade at your house!” he said, which immediately made me think of a couple people I’d actually like to invite over for a nice tall glass of lemonade.

Eventually, I found a good company and a decent price, so I had the system installed.

And now, every year, I have to have the system checked and my water tested to make certain everything is working properly.

Even so, I still don’t dare drink or cook with the water.

“You paid all that money for a purification system and you still buy bottled water?” one of my friends asked in disbelief. “How crazy is that?”

“Not crazy at all,” I said. “I have the system checked only once a year. “What if it stops working a week after the checkup? I’ll be drinking arsenic water for 11 months before I find out!  My liver could fall out by then!”

And wouldn’t you know it, last year, my water test came back with the arsenic level sky-high again. The system had failed. Even worse, the technician couldn’t tell me how long it had been since the failure had occurred. It could have happened only a day ago, he said…or nearly a year. The incident only further convinced me that it probably was safer to risk suffering from dehydration than to ever drink that water.

It also cost me $1,200 to get the system running perfectly again.

The thought of bathing in arsenic water or washing my dishes in it never made me feel comfortable, either. Every time I took a long soak in the tub, I had visions of standing up to dry off and having body parts fall off.  So now I take only quick showers.

And no one warned me how noisy the system was going to be. When the tank in the basement is filling, it sounds like Niagara Falls down there. And after the system is done treating the water, it shuts off with a really loud “clunk.”  Every time my new dog hears the “clunk” in the basement, she apparently thinks burglars have broken in down there and she goes ballistic, barking and growling.

Of course, she does the same thing whenever she hears a doorbell on TV – but that’s a whole other story.

One of my neighbors, after hearing about all of my problems, decided to have his well-water tested. His arsenic level was fine. His radon level, however, was through the roof.

So now I’m sitting here wondering what surprises are in store for me when my water gets tested today.

Depending on the results, I might tell my neighbor I know where he can get a state-of-the-art water filtration system…free for the taking.

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