The Truth About Tap Water
The Water Contamination Steps
1. Source Water
Source water is water that lands in the mountains and flows down into our great rivers.
This water is pure and from nature, but we find 4 main types of contaminants in it that need to be removed before human consumption.
- Inorganic contaminants - Fluoride, arsenic, lead, copper, chromium, mercury, antimony, cyanide
- Organic contaminants - Pesticides, domestic waste, and industrial wastes
- Biological contaminants - Algae, bacteria, protozoan or viruses
- Radiological contaminants - Soils or rocks the water moves through or some industrial waste
These contaminants are not all harmful to consumers, but often come in different quantities meaning that treatment must be effective at any level, all the time.
What’s harmful to humans?
- Salts - Cause kidney stone.
- Fluoride - especially harmful to develop children and the elderly people.
- Mercury - impairment of brain functions, neurological disorders, and retardation of growth in children, abortion and disruption of the endocrine system.
- Chromium - liver and kidney damage, dermatitis and respiratory problems.
- Giardia and Cryptosporidium - Commonly found in rivers, lakes, and streams contaminated with animal feces or which receive wastewater from sewage treatment plants. These may cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, fatigue, dehydration and headaches.
- Radiological contamination increase the risk of cancer.
What is this dependant on?
What causes this to vary?
2. Water Treatment
Utilities companies purify source water for human consumption.
Methods of purification include:
What do they add to the water?
One of the challenges Utilities companies have is the growing scale of demand for clean water.
To combat harmful contaminants in the Source Water, utilities companies add huge amounts of chemicals like Chlorine, just before it is piped to our homes.
City piping networks can stretch for miles away from the Utilities plants. Water can take several days to arrive in your home, and is at risk of being contaminated.
The bigger a city, the more chlorine is added.
3. Piped to you
Water is piped in large networks to your homes.
THM’s are affected by level of organics or dirt left in water after treatment; level of chlorine in the water; temperature of water; time spent in contact.
This is where Disinfection Byproducts can occur
The longer it takes water to reach your home, the greater the chance DBP has to form.
Who is the middle man?
Who provides the water to the public?
Who provides water to businesses?
What do they provide?
What do they charge?
What water quality enters our homes?
What water quality leaves our taps?
Not just an issue from the tap. THM can be inhaled from hot showers and through the skin.
What is the danger?
What happens if there is a problem?
Who is to blame?
What methods of cleaning do people use?