Guess what could be in the water tower that supplies your water! Festering carcasses of dead animals, dirt from the ground, roads and air, arsenic, E. Coli, coliform bacteria and more … Yuck! If your municipality is not adequately maintaining their water towers, your water is coming from an “interesting” soup.
Picturesque sentinels dotting middle and rural America, water towers are wonders of engineering and design. An elegantly simple solution to a myriad of water distribution challenges.
Small pumps lift a steady flow into the tanks which then deliver water without interruption even when demand peaks. Gravity generates the needed water pressure and the tank provides a reservoir buffering the natural water source from variations in demand.
Water towers are typically identified as uniquely rural but are actually much more a part of urban infrastructure. Cities like New York have massive underground distribution systems moving immense volumes of water, but they have only enough pressure to lift water about six floors into buildings. This means that all buildings taller than six floors must have water storage tanks on their roofs. These tanks are filled from the municipal supply, then distribute water within the building.
Many of these urban water tanks are poorly maintained rickety structures with holes in their shingled roofs, leaving access to all kinds of gross stuff you don’t want to know about. Poorly maintained water towers are just another part of the inadequacies and injustice to our water sources that continue today. Like all crimes against our water, knowing about it is important. It’s the first stage to enacting change.