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Non-potable water indicator

"If it looks spoiled, it must be boiled"
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How can you tell potable water from non-potable water as it comes from your tap? Often you can't, but cross-contamination from sewers or faulty sterilization at the source can make water unsafe.

If you happen to watch the news and/or listen to the radio, odds are you'll be cued in to the problem. But what if you're out of the loop?

So the idea: Dye public drinking water at the head end (pumping station) so it's obvious the water needs special handling. Ideally the dye would disappear after boiling or in the presence of bleach and shouldn't noticeably/permanently stain skin or clothes.

Different colors might be used to indicate whether or not the water was simply unsafe to drink or unsafe to use at all.

phoenix, Sep 21 2003

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       perhaps you should colour the safe stuff?
po, Sep 21 2003
  

       I don't get the idea. Can you elaborate?
stupop, Sep 21 2003
  

       //Chuck a canary in there. If it drowns, it's a witch// nah, if it swims its a duck.
po, Sep 21 2003
  

       That's your excuse, anyway.
egbert, Sep 21 2003
  

       "If people don't know to boil the water then how are they to know why it's bright blue, for instance?"
I'm thinking of a standard, if only locally. It would be common knowledge that if the water turned orange, it should be boiled. Of course, there's no need to eliminate the current practice of making regular announcements through the media.
phoenix, Sep 21 2003
  

       Don't drink the yellow water.
ghillie, Sep 22 2003
  

       \\In some countries the term 'potable' is used in relation to water that has no effect on the locals, but will prostrate unsuspecting foreigners\\   

       I couldnt have said it better. American tourtist that come to Mexico are more afraid of drinking our water than of being ripped off, while I-ve drunk water from the tap since I can remember.   

       I used to say "those americans are all over reacting pansies" until my american friend came to visit and got REALLY sick. Oh well...
Pericles, Sep 22 2003
  

       New tag line:
Dew or dye.
phoenix, Sep 22 2003
  

       //if it swims its a duck.//   

       Monty Python: "If she weighs the same as a duck she's a witch!"
FloridaManatee, Jun 03 2004
  
      
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