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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Contaminants that may be found in drinking water

There is no such thing as naturally pure water. People are increasingly concerned about the safety of their drinking water. As improvements in analytical methods allow us to detect impurities at very low concentrations in water, water supplies once considered pure are found to have contaminants. We cannot expect pure water, but we want safe water. The health effects of some contaminants in drinking water are not well understood, but the presence of contaminants does not mean that your health will be harmed.

Drinking water can become contaminated at the original water source, during treatment, or during distribution to the home.

• If your water comes from surface water (river or lake), it can be exposed to acid rain, storm water runoff, pesticide runoff, and industrial waste. This water is cleansed somewhat by exposure to sunlight, aeration, and micro-organisms in the water.

• If your water comes from groundwater (private wells and some public water supplies), it generally takes longer to become contaminated but the natural cleansing process also may take much longer. Groundwater moves slowly and is not exposed to sunlight, aeration, or aerobic (requiring oxygen) micro-organisms. Groundwater can be contaminated by disease-producing pathogens, leachate from landfills and septic systems, careless disposal of hazardous household products, agricultural chemicals, and leaking underground storage tanks.

• Erosion of natural rock formations

• Substances discharged from factories

• Discharged from farmlands

• used by consumers in their homes and yards

In general all water contains some impurities

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