Raw water: is it dangerous? - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Raw water: is it dangerous?

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The spring off of McDonald Highway is nothing new. For years folks like the Fries have relied on it to water their animals, do laundry and for drinking purposes.

We're not the only ones, i mean people, there's a lot of other people who stop up here. We get about 36 gallons every time we come by here," said Bill Fries.

Now a company called Live Water is bottling up spring water like this and putting a high price tag on it. The company and its proponents swear by the beneficial bacteria and natural properties found in the water, but city officials in Helena warn a sip of this stuff could make you very sick.

"I know that it tastes very refreshing, but i myself would not drink it and i wouldn't let anyone in my family drink it," said Kathy Moore the Environmental Division Administrator for Lewis and Clark County.

Moore works to make Helena's environment, including the water, safe. They say the "raw" water like the kind found off of McDonald Pike is not monitored as frequently or as stringently as city water supplies. Even though that supply is state owned- they are not required to test for certain bacterias or pollutants like lead.

"Water in its natural state, out in the world, contains microorganisms and pollutants, that it picks up naturally, its part of the natural environment and while that sounds all wonderful and full of minerals, the fact is
Cryptosporidium and other organisms like that cause dreadful diseases, dreadful illness that can be debilitating for some people," said Moore. 

But the water at the McDonald spout wasn't meant to be drunk. Its original purpose was to cool down overheated cars coming down the pass, but still some people are filling up.

"we like it, we haven't had any issues at all," said Irene Fries.

Kathy believes one of the main reasons people drink untreated water is because tastes better than the chemically processed kind you'll find in your tap. But, you can achieve that similar, natural taste with  a basic, at-home filter and some ice.


 

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