The publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review was often very helpful with remedies or advice. In an article I found while looking through microfilm dated 1890, the following article gave hints on how to figure out if water was safe for consumption:
Is the water you are drinking pure? If it is not, don't use it. The following method for testing it is simple and reliable. Take a teaspoonful of white sugar and put it in a bottle of water you desire to test and hang it in the sun for a little while. If it is good, it will retain its colors and if it colors, it is not fit to use. It is an easy test to make and we hope our readers will give it a trial.
When the article mentions, "it will retain its color," I begin to wonder -- was water in 1890 tinted and not clear as we are used to today?