There is a long list of water contaminants that the EPA considers potentially harmful. Standards are enforced through the Safe Drinking Water Act and public water systems are tested at regular intervals, but there may be times when you question the safety of your drinking water and want to test it yourself. Conversely, if your water comes from a well, ensuring the safety of your drinking water is your responsibility. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various contaminants and their causes and effects so you can decide when water testing might be prudent and whether water purification should be considered.
Water contaminants include microorganisms, disinfectants and their byproducts, organic and inorganic chemicals, and radionuclides. Microorganisms are parasites, bacteria and viruses, and their primary source is human and animal fecal matter. Effects from contamination usually manifest as gastrointestinal problems. Contamination from disinfectants usually occurs only if a water system has been treated to control microorganisms. The most common effects can include mucous membrane irritation, anemia and an increased risk of cancer.
Organic chemicals can find their way in your drinking water primarily from industrial and agricultural discharge, runoff and leaching. They have, by far, the most extensive list of harmful effects including major organ damage, cancer, anemia, reproductive issues and nervous system issues. Inorganic chemical contamination can come from these same sources, but also from the erosion of natural sources. Their effects can include skin and hair issues, and they can be particularly harmful to infants.
Radionuclides come almost exclusively from the erosion of natural deposits in the earth and their effects are generally an increased risk of cancer. Evaluating the activities in and around your neighborhood is important to help determine what types of water contaminants could be a potential issue.
If someone in your home is exhibiting signs of a possible waterborne illness, or if industrial or agricultural activities near your home may result in contamination, it is a good idea to have your water checked. If you have a well, it is also advisable to do water testing at least once per year.
At Reynold’s Purified Water we can test for water contaminants and provide water purification recommendations and installation. Call or click here for a quote.