Recently, the town of Longview, Washington began distributing five-gallon containers of fresh water, after residents complained about discolored water flowing from residential taps. The compromised water quality may be due, in part, to the switch in the city’s source for drinking water, which has an unpleasant taste caused by high mineral levels. While this town is taking steps to ensure that residents have better drinking water while they deal with the water problem, other cities may not be so helpful.

If you suspect there is an issue with your water, you can order water quality testing on your own. You will be able to determine if the levels of minerals or contaminants are higher than the acceptable standards, giving you the ability to choose other water sources for you and your family.

While the water in Longview is not necessarily unhealthy, it is certainly below the standards that residents have come to expect. Since your tax dollars help to pay for your water, as does your monthly water bill, you have the right to demand better water. When you use water quality testing, you give yourself and your neighbors the ability to demand more from your local government.

Officials in Longview took the right approach to handling this problem. They are giving water to all who request it, so that everyone has better quality drinking water. If you are uncertain about the safety and quality of the water that flows through the taps in your home, consider getting your water tested so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.