Ken Hoffman taps into Houston's wacky water problems and which Texas city has the purest flow
Last week, due to a power outage that lasted about a blink at a treatment plant, Houstonians were told to boil their water for at least three minutes, then let it cool before drinking it. Heck, a Brita Water Filter doesn’t take that long — and you could die of thirst waiting on a Brita.
As reported here, the power outage happened around 10 am Sunday, November 27, but Houstonians weren’t told about the potential health hazard until nine hours later. We’ll have a little discussion about that in my office later, okay, Mayor Turner?
The concern over Houston’s drinking water lasted nearly two days. I dealt with the dry spell pretty easily.
I never touch the stuff. I don’t drink tap water for the same reason that cannibals won’t eat a clown: they taste funny. (That one comes courtesy of the children’s Highlights magazine in my dentist’s office.)
What's that smell, anyway?
Houston’s tap water is safe to drink. It meets all regulatory standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Most of our drinking water comes from the Trinity River flowing into Lake Livingston and from the San Jacinto River flowing into Lake Conroe and Lake Houston. Houston tap water is comparatively hard and rich with minerals.
Add that to the chlorine used to make it safe to drink, and well, some sophisticated palates detect a distinctive aroma to Houston tap water.
Make that a dis-stink-tive aroma.
The City of Houston even went as far as to offer an official explanation.
I don’t drink tap water here or anywhere else. I don’t use drinking fountains in the park. I order soda without ice cubes in the drive-through. It’s not a health thing. I just don’t like the way tap water tastes.
As Richard Lewis cracked during a dinner party where the host served tap water on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “goldfish would commit suicide in this water.” Legendary actor W.C. Fields said he never drank water because “fish [have sex] in it.”
My supermarket sells 28 bottles of purified drinking for $3.11. Even so, I rarely drink bottled water.
I drink Diet Pepsi like it’s water. I always have three or four bottles of Diet Pepsi, the big 2-liter bottles, in the refrigerator. I buy them at the 99 Cents store, where they cost $1.29, about half the price of supermarkets. Most everything at the 99 Cents store has jumped to $1.29. And my bill for lunch last week at fast food Freddy’s Steakburgers and Frozen Custard was $15 and that was without fries.
Now, I understand the cost of inflation, but I still have no idea what cryptocurrency is.
I know I drink too much Diet Pepsi, it’s not healthy. But Hugh Hefner drank 30 cans of Diet Pepsi a day and he got married when he was 86 to a woman who was 26. When Hefner was told that sex at that age might be fatal, he said, “if she dies, she dies.” (Courtesy of Milton Berle’s Private Joke File – Over 10,000 of His Best Gags and One-Liners.) I need to start reading real books.
According to the Texas Water Utilities Association, the city of Pflugerville has the best drinking water in Texas. Fun fact: residents of Pflugerville are called Pflugervillians. The town is named for the German word “pfluger,” which means “ploughman,” a reference to Pflugerville’s early settlers.
According to the Office of Water Resources, the states with the best-tasting drinking water:
1. Rhode Island, more than 90 percent of its groundwater is considered safe to drink.
2. Minnesota, the city of Duluth won the “Best in Glass” contest in 2013.
3. South Dakota, won the Secretary’s Award for “Drinking Water Excellence” for 16 consecutive years without a single violation.
The state with the worst drinking water?
Arizona, the highest average levels of chromium-6 and PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl )substances.