August is National Water Quality Month. In the past several years, water has been in the news, with concerns about water quality in some cities and droughts in parts of the country. While many communities in South Florida, including Miami and Hollywood, are fortunate to have good drinking water quality, poor water quality can be caused by many factors and can affect residents at any time. Knowing how to keep your water quality protected and what to do in case you’re affected by contaminated water is important.
What Can Affect Water Quality?
The safety and quality of your water can be affected and jeopardized by many things:
- Industrial waste: Runoff and other forms of pollution can enter waterways, groundwater, the soil, and water supplies, contaminating drinking water.
- Contamination from a neighboring property: Nearby property owners can affect your water by releasing contaminants into the air or soil, which can leach into drinking water.
- Municipal water issues: If you have city water, your local government is expected to provide safe drinking water, testing the supply to make sure it is potable. When municipalities fail to get water from safe sources, fail to safeguard the supply, or are negligent in testing, entire communities can become ill.
- Property damage: Sometimes, construction or renovation can cause damage to your well or to underground pipes, which can allow contaminants to leak into your water.
- Poor construction or home repairs: Old, lead pipes, poorly maintained plumbing, or leaks in underground plumbing can all introduce contaminants to your drinking water.
How Can You Determine Your Water Quality?
You can use a home kit you buy online or send your water to a government-approved water testing lab for evaluation. If you are on well water, you will want to get it tested regularly. If you are on city water, your municipality is supposed to test water for you, but you can also keep an eye on water quality by testing at home and by signing up to get alerts for any boil water advisories.
You can protect your water quality by installing a good-quality filtration system as an extra layer of protection. Keep a close eye on your water, too, for any discoloration or odor, which can be a sign of a problem.
What Are the Effects of Poor Water Quality?
Poor water quality can be dangerous, especially when water is contaminated with dangerous substances. Such a problem can lead to:
- Stomach upset and gastrointestinal illnesses
- Nervous system problems
- Reproductive issues
- Cancer and other chronic disease
- Skin irritation
- Eye irritation and injury
- Developmental issues in young children
Who Is Liable?
It can be difficult to determine who has caused water pollution, especially if the issue has existed for some time before it is discovered (as is often the case). Working with an experienced property damage attorney in your South Florida community can be important in this situation, since an attorney can work with investigators to determine who is at fault. Liable parties can include:
- Property owners: Nearby property owners can be held liable if they dispose of dangerous substances recklessly or if they fail to care for their property and leaks, such as leaks from buried oil tanks, cause contamination of your property. You may also have a claim against the previous property owner (and other parties) of your property if they knew of contaminated water and failed to disclose this when you were purchasing the property.
- Commercial businesses: Nearby industrial properties and commercial entities have a duty to dispose of dangerous waste safely. When their actions cause pollution, including contamination of your water, you may have a claim.
- Governments: In Florida, governments enjoy considerable protection from legal claims. Nevertheless, if a city is negligent in providing safe water it may be possible to file a claim against a government agency and other parties.
- Contractors: If contractors and home builders created unsafe water by using defective building equipment or by negligently completing a project, they can be held liable if you suffer property damage or personal injury as a result.
- Home building material manufacturers: Sometimes, the manufacturers of plumbing pipes and other building materials use poor design, allowing for cracks to develop in the pipes which allow contaminants to leak through. In other situations, manufacturers may make their building components from unsafe materials that contaminate the water. If this is the case, you may have a claim against the makers of these building materials.
To find out whether you have a claim after becoming ill due to drinking water, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to schedule a case consultation. Our team has over 60 years of combined experience seeking compensation on behalf of injured South Florida residents. We have recovered over $100 million for our clients through court wins and settlements and we have faced insurance companies and large corporations in court, so we know how to face large liable parties successfully. Your first consultation with us is free and comes with no obligation, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have been injured.