These days, having potable (drinkable) water at the tips of our fingers is something that most of us take for granted on a daily basis, but some of us still contend with contaminated water. We’ve mentioned in previous posts how older plumbing systems can negatively impact your drinking water’s content of lead and other dissolved solids, but how has plumbing evolved into our modern systems?
A Short History Of Plumbing & Water Quality
Plumbing In Ancient Times
Some of the first plumbing systems were created by powerful ancient civilizations. Roman, Greek, Persian, Indian, and Chinese innovators all developed piping systems for the transfer of potable water. Some common materials used were clay and lead, the latter of which was still the predominant material of choice up until World War II.
Improved Understanding Of Lead Dangers
Lead is both durable and flexible, so it was an obvious option for plumbing pipes; however, awareness of the negative health effects of lead grew after WWII, causing a huge shift to other piping materials, such as copper. These health concerns also began the ongoing replacement of older, lead-based systems.
As we’ve continued to steer away from the use of lead in our plumbing systems, we’ve begun to use other materials, including copper, plastic, and other nontoxic materials. Recent crises like those in Flint and Newark illustrate the fact that these problems are not completely fixed yet.