Where does my drinking water come from?
The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from either surface water or ground water. Surface water collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Ground water is water located below the ground where it collects in pores and spaces within rocks and in underground aquifers. We obtain ground water by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.
Public water systems provide water from surface and ground water for public use. Water treatment systems are either government or privately-held facilities. Surface water systems withdraw water from the source, treat it, and deliver it to our homes. Ground water systems also withdraw and deliver water. Most of harsh contaminates gets treated by water system facilities. (Center of Disease Control and Prevention)
These contaminates are divided into 4 main categories:
- Physical contaminates are sediment or organic material suspended in the water of lakes, rivers and streams from soil erosion.
- Chemical contaminates consists of elements or compounds. They can occur naturally or man-made. Examples of such elements or compounds; nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and human or animal drugs.
- Biological contaminates represent any organisms in water. These include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites.
- Radiological contaminates represents unstable atoms that can emit ionizing radiation. It may include cesium, plutonium, and uranium.
There could be up to 100,000 potential drinking water contaminants. Currently only 103 are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA makes sure that water meets certain regulated safety standards, and will undergo treatments at the Treatment facility. Most treatment facilities perform the following:
- Disinfection by products control,
- Industrial Pollution removal,
- Radionuclide removal,
- Taste odor control softening,
- Iron and manganese removal,
- Particulate removal, corrosion control.
To make water suitable for drinking, raw source water is taken to a treatment facility that is designed to remove the currently regulated contaminants found in your area.
Water treatment facilities should have reduced contaminants to a safe drinking level. However, as your water makes its way to your tap, it enters an aging pipe infrastructure where contamination can happen again. Your water quality does not improve between the treatment facility and your location. And concerns are growing that it may get worse.
„When water leaves a municipal treatment facility, it meets all the guidelines of the Safe Drinking Water Act. But when water travels a long distance to reach a home, the water coming out of the faucet may not. The potential for contaminants to make their way into water after treatment is very real.” – The Water Quality Association
These harsh contaminates gets filtered to reasonable small amounts but usually at the cost of adding extra chemicals to tap water to ensure safety. Most common chemical added and well known to public is chemical substance called Chlorine.
The Water Quality Association, Official site.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Official site.
Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Official site.