Go Ahead And Drink From The Tap In Washington County
My friend Ralph (not his real name) just got back from a trip to Central America.
He had a fantastic time with the culture, food and pristine beaches, but has spent a lot of his time since returning in the (ahem) bathroom.
"You know, what they say is true," Ralph told me. "Don't drink the water down there. I wish I had listened."
He also told me that the best thing about being back in St. George in the good ol' USA is, well, the water.
"I never really put much thought into water," he said. "My whole life, I just turned on the tap and clean water came out. I could wash my face, wash my hands, take a drink, cook food, take a shower. It never really even crossed my mind."
Zach Renstrom, on the Andy Griffin Show Wednesday, said that is exactly what he likes to hear.
"If you don't have to think about us, or worry about clean water, then we are doing our jobs," Renstrom said.
Renstrom is the director of the Washington County Water Conservancy District. He said he gladly drinks straight from the tap in Washington County and is very proud of the men and women who work hard to make sure that our water is clean.
How clean is it?
"We have really, really good water quality here," Renstrom said. "Where our water comes from and our watershed, it's pristine. A lot of the stuff that we test for as required by the EPA they don't show up in our water because we just don't have that."
Renstrom said most of the water we drink (about 60 percent) comes from the Virgin River, captured before it gets to the hot springs (which adds a lot of salt and minerals and makes it undrinkable).
The water is taken through large pipes to the Sand Hollow and Quail Creek Reservoirs and allowed to settle -- the silt and dirt sift out while sitting in the reservoirs.
For the water at Sand Hollow, it is then naturally filtered through the sandstone beneath Sand Hollow Reservoir, then after a couple of mild treatments to kill bacteria, is sent to storage tanks or brought directly to our homes (the water in Quail takes a little more treatment as Quail doesn't have the natural sandstone beneath it to help in the process).
So truth be told, the water doesn't get much treatment at all here in Southern Utah, except to kill some bacteria.
As it turns out, our water here is already pretty clean or "pristine" as Renstrom likes to call it.
So hopefully no one will ever tell you "Don't drink the water," in Southern Utah.