America has a contaminated water crisis.
At least, that's according to a National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report released on Tuesday.
The agency's analysis found that 18,000 municipal water systems across the United States were cited for at least one violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.
The federal act was established in 1974 and requires water utilities to comply with drinking water standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each state government is responsible for enforcing the act's standards.
But enforcement just isn't happening, leaving millions of Americans unwittingly exposed to water contaminants.
Just look at these stats...
Contaminated Water Cases Are Cropping Up Across the U.S. by the Thousands
There are approximately 160,000 public water systems in the United States right now, according to the EPA's website - the aforementioned 18,000 of which are in violation of the agency's standards.
Of these subpar systems, 12,000 contain water contaminants harmful to their consumers' health - all 77 million of them.
That's right, 77 million Americans live in areas with soiled water.
Specifically, the NRDC found that the bad water contains at least one or more of 100 supposedly regulated, harmful pollutants, including:
- Coliform bacteria, which cause gastrointestinal problems
- Nitrates, which can cause blood/circulatory problems, particularly in infants
- Lead, which can cause intellectual and emotional delays in children
The NRDC also found that 87% of these EPA violations resulted in no formal repercussions on the state governments' parts.
In fact, just 3.3% of contaminated water cases uncovered by the NRDC led to financial penalties.
"Unfortunately, what we have is no cop on the beat," Erik Olson, NRDC's health program director, said on Tuesday, according to the NRDC's website. "No one is really enforcing the law in the vast majority" of drinking water violations.
Future enforcement of the law looks grim, as well...
Cleaner Water Is Not on Uncle Sam's Agenda
The White House and congressional Republicans are currently advocating for legislation that would limit the EPA's ability to write new drinking water standards.
And President Donald Trump's new budget proposal could further limit the EPA's ability to enforce safe water rules, as it recommends a 30% cut to the agency's programs, reported ABC News on May 2.
But there are companies out there looking to make clean water a possibility no matter what.
And very soon...
Clean Water Presents a Profit Opportunity
Consumable water has become scarcer and scarcer around the globe; only 3% of the world's water is potable, and more than 50% of that is locked in the polar ice caps.
A few innovative companies have taken notice and are stepping up to fix this massive problem - needless to say, with profitable results.
Take this global player in the water world that Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon first recommended in 2013. This company covers every stage in the water treatment cycle - from transport to purification to replacement. And since Patalon first recommended it, the stock is up more than 50%. Read more about it here...
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- The National Resources Defense Council: REPORT: Nearly One in Four Americans' Drinking Water Comes from Untested or Contaminated Systems
- Money Morning: The Best Water Stocks to Buy in 2017