The Dangers of Drinking Unfiltered Water
Should you really care about your drinking water? Are there any health implications of drinking unfiltered water? Why should you bother investing in a water filtration system when you get your drinking water from a public facility regulated by the EPA?
Many American families struggle with questions like these when the subject of water filters is raised. As much as we know that the US has the highest quality of water in the whole world, we mustn’t forget the fact that water contaminations can happen at any stage of the water supply.
In this article therefore I aim to highlight some of the dangers of unfiltered water and why getting a good water filter is a good investment for your family!
The Sources and Journey of Water to Our Homes!
Generally, the tap water we use in our homes comes from two primary water sources. These are from a public facility e.g. municipal water supply or from a private well or pond.
Whether a municipal facility or a private well or pond, the water is usually sourced from surface water, groundwater or runoff water. While private wells or ponds are not regulated by the EPA, municipal facilities are expected to meet federal standards since they provide water to many homes and businesses.
Unfortunately, despite these regulations the water is still susceptible to different contaminants whether at the point of collection, treatment or distribution. This is one of the reasons why you mustn’t drink water straight from the tap.
How Your Drinking Water Could Be Contaminated
As pointed out above, your drinking water may be contaminated at any stage of its journey to your home. Let’s look at these at the different water supply chains:
Public Water Supplies
Public water supply is mostly sourced from groundwater which is susceptible to contaminants like leachate from landfills and septic systems, runoff from careless disposal of hazardous household products, leaking underground chemical storage tanks, etc that poses potential risks.
Of course, municipalities are required by law to ensure that their water supply is treated and then tested for certain dangerous contaminants before being supplied to consumers. However, it must be noted that as long as the water is below the maximum contaminant levels issued by the EPA, such water can still be delivered to their customers.
Now, what many do not know is that these minimum levels may still be harmful, especially if your immune system is compromised. And to the elderly and pregnant women, this can also be harmful.
The final stage in the water treatment process which involves disinfecting the supply with chlorine is another cause for concern. While chlorine is introduced at this stage as a way of killing any bacteria it may encounter during distribution, it must be pointed out that chlorine-based disinfectants may interact with naturally occurring materials in the water to create hazardous byproducts such as trihalomethanes and halogenic acetic acids (THMs and HAAs). Where there is excess of this, it may also have negative health effects.
The journey from the treatment plants to the individual homes is also susceptible. Once the water leaves the treatment plants, there is no way for municipalities to catch leaks in pipes or failure in the system. And these could lead to water with higher contaminant levels arriving at your home. Recent research has also revealed that even contaminants in household plumbing can be introduced into the tap water after it has entered the home or place of business.
So it is clear that even when your water supplied from the municipality may be relatively clean when it left the treatment plant, contaminants can be introduced into it at different stages of the distribution.
Private Wells and Ponds
As already mentioned, these are not regulated by local or federal governments in any way. As the well or pond owner you are responsible for the quality of the water from your well. Of course, many think ground water is clean and therefore could be taken without any form of filtration. But this is really a big error.
It must be understood that different contaminants could leak into groundwater thereby entering the well. Such contaminants include nitrates from fertilizer used on farms, pesticide runoff, sewage overflow from local flooding, storm water runoff, and chemical leaks from manufacturing or industrial waste. All of these have hazardous effects on your health.
How to Avoid the Dangers in Your Drinking Water
As you can see from the above whether you get your drinking water from a public water supply or from your own well it is important that you have some form of water filtration system to help in treating it before use.
If your drinking water comes from a municipal water supply, a refrigerator water filter that can help in removing the potential dangers is encouraged. If, on the other hand, your water comes from your own well, getting a whole house water filter is advised.
Your drinking water has too many dangers if not filtered. No matter your source of water supply, a water filter is your best friend. You may also want to test your water to be very sure of what is wrong before buying a water filter.