- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Apparently, the warning to not drink the water doesn’t just apply to overseas destinations — it applies to the airline transports that get you there. Numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that plane passengers are frequently served contaminated drinking water, despite federal attempts to clear the bacteria.

The findings come nine years after the agency launched a major campaign to combat contaminated water. What they found: It’s not much better than it was in 2004, when sample tests were first taken.

NBC reported that the EPA sampled water on 300 planes in 2004 and discovered 15 percent — one out of every 10 — tested positive for coliform. The presence of coliform is a key indicator that bacteria may be in the water. The EPA characterized that percentage as “high” and vowed to push reforms.

But data from 2012, obtained by NBC via a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that 12 percent of commercially owned and flown planes in the United States had water that tested positive for the same bacteria. Again, that’s about one in every 10 airplanes.

“I would say that’s still a high percentage,” said Bill Honker, the deputy director of the Water Quality Protection Division, EPA Region 6, in Dallas.

He also said: “There is more that needs to be done.”

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