If you've never seen the film starring Julia Roberts, its a true life story about a Legal Clerk with no legal training who compiled a case against a large company for alleged Water Contamination. Hmmm... when I put it like that it sounds like a right barrel of laughs, but trust me, it IS a good film
Most people that visit Egypt tend to stick to bottled water to be on the safe side but recently a couple of lesser known brands have been withdrawn from the market due to quality issues.
It's no problem sticking to bottled water if you are on holiday for a week of two, but when you live here it gets a bit of a pain.
Stockpiling lots of boxes of water.
What to do with the empty bottles? It's a recycling nightmare.
Where to store all the water boxes?
The ideal solution would be to just drink the water from our kitchen tap...the problem we have is that we don't have mains water.
As we're in a rural area, mains water hasn't reached us yet so we like others in our area source water from a well.
Driven wells are pretty common here in Luxor in areas that are remote or don't yet have access to mains water for whatever reason. These type of wells are not just used here but in countries all over the world. Here is an example of what it looks like under the ground.
Ours is powered by electric but some of the villagers pump it by hand. The pumps look a little like this one (ours is painted black though and a little shinier).
Many of the people here actually prefer mains water and say it's safer than mains water which they say tastes funny and is often heavily chlorinated. When we used to have a flat with mains water, sometimes the water used to come out less than crystal clear.
I can't imagine drinking the well water without a filter but which one to buy? I had no idea how safe our well water was but curiosity got the better of me so I purchased one of these Well Testing Kits. I've asked on lots of forums in the past where I can get water tested but nobody seemed to know until a lady from Alexandria suggested I get a testing kit.
The test comes with test strips and vials and tests for the top 10 most common contaminants. This photo is of the box and details the contaminants as well as the implications to your health and white goods if your water contains them. It's a little scary especially when you realised that many of these contaminants will not just disappear during the boiling process.
Now prior to this test I have to confess to being a bit ignorant about water quality. I've often been guilty of thinking "Hey! If it doesn't give me a dose of Tuts's revenge it must be ok?" Even though I never put it to the test...
So, I, Ruby T unleashed my inner scientist and got testing. Would the villagers be right? Would the water be safe to drink? Or would it have any hidden nasties? What do you think? Here are the results.
First up, Bacteria. Now this one was great to do. The vial has Bacteria Growth powder in, you add a water sample then leave it in a warm place for 48 hours. If after this time span it remains purple it is Bacteria free, if it turns yellow it contains Bacteria and needs further testing to ascertain what Bacteria it is. So.....here is my sample after 48 hours
|Bacteria Vial - Free of bacteria!!|
Yes, still a lovely shade of Purple which indicates it's Bacteria free. Phew! I'm relieved about that one I can tell you.
Next up, Lead and Pesticides. A negative reading for lead and pesticides is indicated when there is either no line near the number two on each strip or the line is fainter than the line nearer the number one. Here goes...
Bingo! Yes, a negative reading yet again. This is getting fun isn't it?
Next up we have Ph and water hardness. Now I know we have a bit of a problem with limescale which doesn't have health implications but does have an impact on your white goods, taps and showers when you get a build up. Plus I'm always descaling everything. So I wasn't expecting to do to well on this one. Here are the results...
Yes as expected, the levels of hardness of pretty high, but in regards to health the chlorine levels are well within the safe range (set by EPA a US based Environmental Agency).
Next up, the Nitrate test which as you can see was yet another good result for "The Orange Grove" well :-)
Finally, last up we have the Iron test...
We're still going to get a water filter for our drinking water but I have to say, I'm pretty happy with these results.