The pH level of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. The lower the number, the more acidic the water will be, while the higher the number, the more “basic” it will be. To ensure that Minnesotans are drinking safe and healthy water, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regularly tests drinking water for more than 100 contaminants. It's not unusual to detect contaminants in small quantities, and no water supply is completely free of contaminants.
The MDH Drinking Water Protection Program is responsible for ensuring that Minnesota's public water supply systems comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). These systems are required to provide a safe and adequate water supply under the federal SDWA. Diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation are among the world's most serious public health threats, accounting for nearly 80 percent of diseases in developing countries and killing millions of people, mostly children, every year. To protect against these dangers, it is important to use and drink water that is somewhere in between on the pH scale. Bacteria and chemicals can enter the drinking water supply from contaminated water sources in a process called backflow. In the city of Duluth, for example, the water treatment plant draws water from Lake Superior, several miles east of the Lester River, from a depth of about 55 m (180 ft).
The water is then filtered to remove particulate matter, disinfected with chlorine, and pumped to reservoirs throughout the city. The developing fetus and pregnant women may also be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water. To ensure that your home's drinking water is safe and healthy, Commers Water offers a free home water analysis to determine if you have any problems with drinking water or to determine its hardness. For more information on initiatives to protect drinking water in Minnesota, see the Fund for Clean Water and Water Contaminants and Your Health.