By Rich Razgaitis, co-founder and CEO of FloWater
When a natural disaster strikes, we call it an act of God. That’s because the incredible forces that can destroy lives, homes, and businesses in the blink of an eye exist entirely beyond our control. But after working in clean water tech for over a decade now, my perspective has changed
But what do we call it when a community is destroyed by forces entirely within our control, damaged not by nature’s wrath but rather through incompetence, neglect, and corruption?
In 2014, government officials in Michigan ordered the city of Flint to switch its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to the Flint River. A poorly designed water system allowed lead to leach into the drinking water, exposing over 100,000 people to toxic chemicals, including thousands of children most vulnerable to neurological damage from excessive lead exposure.
When the city of Jackson, Mississippi, attempted to raise funds to maintain the O.B. Curtis Water Station, which provides clean water to over 150,000 people, the state government repeatedly denied them the money they needed to perform proper maintenance.
When disastrous flooding overwhelmed the neglected system and shut down the water treatment plant, citizens had to boil water for months, and schools, restaurants, and businesses were forced to close due to a lack of clean water.
The first thing most people look for during a disaster is government officials who can provide resources, guidance, and assistance to help them recover.
But what are we supposed to do when the government itself is the cause of the problem? How are we supposed to trust officials when their actions or inactions created the crisis in the first place?
Increasingly the answer is clear. We can no longer wait for the government to solve the problems it caused through poor leadership, harmful policies, inaction, or simply an inability to keep up with a rapidly changing environment—so much of which has been degraded through human-made chemicals and pollutants.
As an individual, it’s simple enough to stockpile enough food, water, and essential supplies to last you a few days or weeks. But if you’re running a business, keeping your doors open is almost impossible if you’re experiencing a crisis and don’t have access to clean tap water.
How many days can you afford to keep your doors closed before the damage of lost income becomes unrecoverable? How many more days of in-person learning should children be forced to miss after the lengthy quarantines of COVID?
While protecting your water supply can feel like an overwhelming problem, the good news is that practical and affordable solutions are available to you. New water purification systems, such as the FloWater Refill Stations my company makes, can purify any source of potable tap water, removing pollutants and toxins such as PFAS, fluoride, chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, and microplastics.
If you’re ready to protect yourself and your business from vital infrastructure failures, then it’s time to invest in advanced water purification systems that are capable of removing toxic chemicals and harmful elements that come out of your tap and delivering great-tasting water to you.
Taking control of your utilities may seem dramatic, but millions of homes already provide their own power through solar panels, so why should it be considered a giant leap to purify your water?
After all, you don’t have to solve the entire issue of American infrastructure failures; you only need to control what comes out of your end of the tap.
To be fair, while it’s easy to beat up on the government and politicians, essential steps are being taken to modernize our infrastructure and protect our water supply. The Biden administration’s 2022 infrastructure bill appropriates $15 billion to remove lead-contaminated pipes.
And while that work is both necessary and long overdue, most civil engineering experts estimate that it would take trillions of dollars and several decades to completely remove all of the outdated and dangerous pipes that make up America’s water system.
Every day it seems, there’s another water crisis in America. A train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, spilled toxic chemicals into creeks that killed over 43,000 fish. In Philadelphia, a city of over 1.5 million people, officials advised residents to drink bottled water after 8,000 gallons of an acrylic polymer solution spilled into a tributary of the Delaware River, a source of drinking water for 14 million people across four states.
Instead of waiting for someone else to fix these ongoing problems, Americans must consider how to protect themselves.
If you don’t want to wait for a solution that moves at the speed of government, take one that moves at the speed of business. Purify your water today and prepare yourself for the crises yet to come.
About the Author
Rich “Raz” Razgaitis co-founded FloWater (recently acquired by Bluewater, the Swedish global hydration solutions and beverage brand) in 2013 with a singular mission to put an end to single-use plastic water bottles. Since then, FloWater has saved 500 million plastic bottles from entering our oceans, lakes, rivers and landfills. The company achieved record sales in 2022 as business and consumer demand for safe, plastic-free water continues to soar.