Films Based on True Stories of Unsafe Drinking Water Horrors

Hollywood has produced a few excellent movies that have dealt with towns and cities battling contaminated water. They make for some great watching with the drama always on high. Most of us watch these films and think they are interesting to view, but in real life, something like this would never happen. However, these movies that have won numerous awards are all based on true stories. Unsafe drinking water is a real thing not just for third world countries, but in our own backyard.

A Civil Action

A Civil Action debuted in 1999 and starred John Travolta as a money hungry attorney representing many families in a class action suit against two giant corporations that knowingly were contaminating the local aquifer. Robert Duvall was actually nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the film. It was always difficult to take Travolta seriously in these types of intense dramas, but the true story behind the film kept you on the edge of your seat.

It was all based on the true story of a court case where environmental pollution had leaked into the town aquifer in Woburn, Massachusetts, during the 1980s. An industrial solvent called trichloroethylene was contaminating the water supply, and the companies were keeping it a secret. A lawsuit was finally filed when it was apparent that this unsafe contaminated water had caused the deaths of town folk since it brought on cases of cancer and leukemia.

The lawyer representing the family actually goes broke by the end. The judge originally did not decide in their favor. The two giant companies offered up tens of millions of dollars to settle when they believed they were going to lose the case, but the lawyer wanted more. This resulted in them receiving nothing instead. This type of story leaves you not only angry at the two companies, but also at our judicial system.

Later on, the Environmental Protection Agency builds on the original lawyer’s work and brings their own case against the two companies. This time the case goes much better. But the companies basically just get a slap on the wrist. They are only forced to clean up the land and the groundwater.

Erin Brockovich

The film Erin Brockovich came out in 2000 and starred Julia Roberts as the real life Erin Brockovich. Brockovich did not have a formal education in law, but she had a determination to set things right in Hinkley, California. Her outspokenness and provocative way of dressing certainly raised people’s awareness in the case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1993. Julia Roberts did very well in her portrayal of a tough legal assistant with a heart of gold by winning an Oscar. Not to be confused with her character in Pretty Woman that was a tough prostitute with a heart of gold that nearly netted her an Oscar.

The chemical hexavalent chromium contaminated the drinking water in Hinkley. The Hinkley compressor station was determined to be the culprit behind it. The groundwater nearby was affected in a 2 mile by 1 mile radius.

The case was settled in 1996 for a record breaking $333 million, the largest settlement paid in an action lawsuit in the history of the United States. The law firm received $133.6 million of that settlement. Brockovich was rewarded with a $2.5 million dollar bonus as well. Julia Roberts received $20 million for portraying Brockovich on screen. Unfortunately, the town is still battling polluted water to this day.

What’s the Solution?

Perhaps these two films played up the drama a bit here and there, but for the most part, they are accurate to what actually happened. This story is not only relevant to these two places though. Contaminated drinking water was just discovered in Detroit and in places in California just within the last week. The question is how can we protect ourselves and our family from having this happen to us?

Most tap water is perfectly fine across the country. If you do not believe yours is, you can always have tests completed on your drinking water yourself. You do not have to wait for some government agency to do it. There are several labs that will assist you in determining if your water is good.

If you are still concerned, maybe add a filter to your kitchen faucet. Many of the filters available nowadays do a great job of removing any minerals and contaminants that may be in there. Of course, there is always the bottled water option.

Finding a bottled water that actually comes from the source it claims to originate at can be a difficult process. Too many companies stretch the truth or completely lie about their bottled water. If you would like a brand you can trust, go with Waiakea Water.

Waiakea Water was established in 2012 by its founder Ryan Emmons. Emmons determined the water coming from his uncle’s well in Hawaii was the best tasting water he had ever had. He felt others would feel the same. Soon, Waiakea Water was formed once Emmons graduated from college. The water actually comes from rain or melted snow from the top of a volcano in Hawaii. The water slowly filters through the volcanic rock and leaves it full of essential minerals and electrolytes. The slightly alkaline water even has a little bit of a sweet taste to it.

Waiakea cares about the people around the world as well. Their plastic bottles are created with a nano-additive in the manufacturing process that allows their bottles to degrade completely in only 15 years. Normal plastic bottles take about 1,500 years to decompose on its own and contaminates the environment in the meantime. If you are concerned that you do not have safe drinking water, don’t wait for a movie to be made about it before you switch over to drinking Waiakea.