We’ve all heard stories about drinking water contaminated with E Coli, ammonia, chlorine, chloramines, discarded prescription drugs, excessive flouride, mercury, benzene and arsenic. According to theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these chemicals can end up in the water supply as discharge from factories and chemical plants, runoff fertilizer or herbicide used on crops, or added to sewage/wastewater treatment.

Not only can an excess amount of these chemicals affect people’s health and well-being, they can severely damage plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters.

People in the plumbing industry know that lead and copper can leach into drinking water from old plumbing systems. In fact, lead in drinking water became such an issue that the federal government now requires pipe, fittings and fixtures that come in contact with potable water to have less than .25% weighted average lead content.

But let’s not panic — most Americans have ample access to safe, clean drinking water. The issue seems to be more about taste preferences than unhealthy water. Chlorine and other substances used to treat drinking water can give water a chemical taste that most people don’t like.

Enter the bottled water industry.

Statista.com says the United States is the largest bottled water consumer market. The latest stats are from 2013, when U.S. bottled water sales volume came to about 10.09 billion gal. — the highest volume of water sold in this country.

Buying water when tap water is free can seem silly to some people. And some cities, such as Chicago, have levied a “sin tax” on bottled water to counteract the millions of plastic bottles ending up in city landfills, which makes bottled water even more expensive.

No doubt there are still areas in the United States, and in the world, with substandard water quality. But is bottled water really the answer? In developing countries, what really is needed are better systems of sanitation, water distribution and water treatment.

Then there are hard water — also known as aggressive water — issues to deal with. Not only can aggressive water clog up plumbing fixtures and water heaters, it can ruin pipe by pitting or creating pinholes, which leads to water leaks. While repiping can be expensive, an entire industry of pipe relining has developed because of this issue.

In developed countries such as the United States, other avenues exist to provide better-tasting water. If you have a customer in an area with high mineral content in the water or other problems, why not try to sell him a point-of-use or whole-house water filtration system? If hard water is an issue, a water softening component should be added to the system.

Adding these services is a no-brainer for plumbing service companies. Plumbers are the water experts, right? You know how to install plumbing correctly and comply with local plumbing codes to keep your customers safe and healthy. Do you know the properties of your local water supply and how it affects your customers?

If you’re not ready to add an entire water treatment division to your plumbing service company, why not start with something simple? On every service call, offer a free water test. Your plumbing technicians should ask questions about the home’s water quality, especially if he notices a lot of bottled water being consumed. As a reminder about your new services, leave behind a few refillable water bottles with your company logo and contact information.

Education on the various water treatment/water filtration systems on the market is important as they filter out different substances but not difficult, especially for skilled water professionals such as plumbers. And each home has different plumbing systems and different water issues, so you want to make sure you are recommending the right system for your customer’s situation.

In the long-run, offering water treatment/water filtration services to your customers will save them money (think of all that bottled water!) and give them peace of mind about the water they drink at home.