The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a new water quality software to improve our drinking water systems and ensure the safety of our nation’s water supply. The software is named “Canary,” perhaps taken from the phrase “canary in a coalmine“; when one canary dies down below, miners are alerted to evacuate immediately.
The software works in conjunction with water quality sensors placed throughout the water supply that can detect a variety of biological and chemical contaminants like pesticides, metals and pathogens. When contamination is detected, a “Do Not Drink” alert can be issued.
Canary was piloted by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works utility in 2007. It is available worldwide and is currently being evaluated in four U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco – as well as in Singapore.
This innovative software is certainly an achievement. However, it will still require the use of disinfecting chemicals like chlorine to rid water of harmful contaminants. These chemicals give water a bad taste and are toxic over time. The safety of your drinking water can be further improved with the use of a water filter system that effectively removes chlorine, pesticides, metals and other contaminants. And if a “Do Not Drink” alert is ever issued in your city, you may not have to heed the warning.