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6 Common Water Contaminants

May 23, 2024

6 Common Water Contaminants

Ever wonder what’s in your water? With the recent boil water advisory in March, our city had water safety at the forefront of our minds. The loss in water pressure from the water main break had the potential to introduce bacteria into our drinking water. But how safe is our water today? Water can carry a range of substances that require careful monitoring and management. Understanding these contaminants is crucial for ensuring safe and clean drinking water and safeguarding our ecosystems' integrity. Let’s delve into the six most common water contaminants, exploring their sources, impacts, and the measures taken to mitigate their risks.

If you have any questions about the safety of your water, let our team help! We carry the best in water softeners, iron and sulfur filters, tannins removal units, reverse-osmosis drinking water systems, all from Aqua Systems. Schedule your free consultation today. 

  1. Disinfection byproducts (DBPs):

DBPs are primarily formed during the disinfection process in water treatment plants. When chlorine or chloramine is added to water to kill harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, they can interact with organic compounds present in the water. This interaction leads to the formation of DBPs. Some DBPs, particularly certain types of THMs and HAAs, have been associated with potential health risks. 

  1. Lead

Lead contamination can occur in older homes with lead pipes, solder, or fixtures. The corrosion of these materials can release lead particles into the water, posing serious health risks, especially for children and pregnant women, as lead exposure can lead to developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other health problems.

  1. Arsenic

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in some groundwater sources. Arsenic is released into groundwater through natural processes such as weathering of rocks and minerals containing arsenic. Additionally, industrial processes such as mining, smelting, and coal combustion can release arsenic into the environment, contaminating water sources nearby. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water is associated with various health issues, including skin lesions, cardiovascular disease, and increased cancer risks.

  1. Nitrate and Nitrites

Nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) contamination in water is a common concern, particularly in agricultural areas, due to the use of fertilizers, animal waste, and septic systems. High levels of nitrates in drinking water, particularly in rural areas, can pose health risks, especially for infants. Water treatment methods such as ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and biological denitrification can be used to reduce nitrate levels in water supplies.

  1. Microorganisms

Despite water treatment efforts, microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites can still be present in city water supplies, especially in cases of inadequate treatment or distribution system issues. These microorganisms can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, such as diarrhea, cramps, and nausea.

  1. PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals used in various industrial and consumer products for decades due to their unique properties, including oil and water repellency, heat resistance, and non-stick characteristics. Common sources of PFAS include Teflon, Stain-resistant treatments for carpets, and food packaging. One of the key concerns with PFAS is their persistence in the environment. These chemicals do not break down easily and can accumulate in soil, water, air, wildlife, and human tissues over time. The EPA has set health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) individually or combined. However, some states and organizations advocate for stricter standards.

Monitoring and treatment measures are in place to address these contaminants in municipal water supplies, but homeowners can also use filtration systems further to ensure the quality and safety of their drinking water. Looking for more peace of mind when it comes to your water? That’s what we are here for! Get a free water treatment consultation: https://www.godwinplumbing.com/water-treatment or call 616-243-3131 today.

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