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All About the Quality of Water


By Dr. Salvador Quiroz

Health conscious people in San Miguel de Allende are rightly concerned about the quality of their water. I am frequently asked what measures may be taken to improve it.

Not being a sanitation specialist, I decided to seek the advice of my now good friend, licensed engineer  Manuel Angel Villafaña, who is also Jefe del Departamento de Potabilización de Agua para el Estado de Guanajuato, (Chief of the Department for Potable Water in the state of Guanajuato). He provided me with the following information:

1. Most, if not all, of the water pumped into the homes of San Miguel, comes from wells.

2. Both in the outlet of origin and/or in the reservoirs, the Commission of Water Extraction has to comply with NOM 127-1–1994 of the Secretariat of Health, which requires a level of 0.2 to 1.5 milligrams of chloride per liter of water.

For developing countries such as ours—and actually this is true in many more developed countries, chlorination of water has been found to be the cheapest, most practical, most effective way to render water fit for human consumption. So, in essence, the water that reaches your tank is usually quite adequate. But there are three important variables: Water may be contaminated in between the reservoir or point of origin and your tap through faulty pipeline systems. Your tank may be dirty, saturating the chloride and thus rendering it useless. Or the problem could lie in your plumbing. Usually, the problem is dirty house tanks, and the Department of Water Works advises cleaning your tank every three months.

3. A good alternative for protection, besides periodically cleaning your tanks, is the use of colloidal silver. This chemical comes in 30-milliliter vials and can be bought in most stores. The recommended dose is one drop per liter of water. It has no taste and is very effective. The cost is around 12 pesos per vial. It can be added to bottled water or storage tanks.

4. Certainly, another alternative is to boil your water, either for drinking or to use in washing your vegetables, fruits, eggs, and other foods. Three to five minutes of boiling is sufficient.

5. Buying bottled drinking water is now the trend, but you must be sure the brand you are using comes from a company that is professional or large enough to purify the water through treatments with ultraviolet light, ozone, charcoal filters, and reverse osmosis. Your local chamber of commerce can help you there.

6. Commercial filters sold at most appliance stores vary in effectiveness and usually do not not reach 100 percent purity. If used, this is a measure that should be in addition to the previous ones mentioned above.

7. Adding iodine solutions to the tap water you use for cleansing foodstuffs is about as effective as a commercial filter.

In the quest for health, before you embark on an exercise in futility, clean your tanks periodically, and if in doubt, contact your local water department for advice.


Dr. Salvador Quiroz, Internal Medicine and Kidney Disease, Hospital H+, Graduated from the Mayo Clinic. Tel: 152 2329.


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