Drinking water is water that is intended to be drunk by humans. Water of
sufficient quality to serve as drinking water is called potable water whether it
is used as such or not. Although most fresh water sources are drinkable by
humans, they can be a disease vector or cause long-term health problems if they
do not meet certain water quality guidelines. Water that is not harmful for
human beings is called safe water.
Did you ever ask yourself what is in the water that you drink? If you ever
found out, it could make you sick. Maintaining your ignorance could make you
sicker. We always assumed our drinking water is safe. We were wrong. The coming
water crisis across the country, long-neglected mains and pipes, many more than
a century old, are reaching the end of their life span. When pipes fail,
pressure drops and sucks dirt, debris, and often bacteria and other pathogens
into the huge underground arteries that deliver water.
What contaminants may be found in drinking water? There is no such thing as
naturally pure water. In nature, all water contains some impurities. As water
flows in streams, sits in lakes, and filters through layers of soil and rock in
the ground, it dissolves or absorbs the substances that it touches. Some of
these substances are harmless. In fact, some people prefer mineral water
precisely because minerals give it an appealing taste.
However, at certain levels minerals, just like man-made chemicals, are
considered contaminants that can make water unpalatable or even unsafe. Some
contaminants come from erosion of natural rock formations. Other contaminants
are substances discharged from factories, applied to farmlands, or used by
consumers in their homes and yards. Sources of contaminants might be in your
neighborhood or might be many miles away. Your local water quality report tells
which contaminants are in your drinking water, the levels at which they were
found, and the actual or likely source of each contaminant.
Most nations have water quality regulations for water sold as drinking water,
although these are often not strictly enforced outside of the developed world.
The World Health Organization sets international standards for drinking water. A
broad classification of water safety worldwide could be found in Safe Water for
Some ground water systems have established wellhead protection programs to
prevent substances from contaminating their wells. Similarly, some surface water
systems protect the watershed around their reservoir to prevent contamination.
Right now, states and water suppliers are working systematically to assess every
source of drinking water and to identify potential sources of contaminants. This
process will help communities to protect their drinking water supplies from
contamination, and a summary of the results will be in future water quality
The answer - water filtration. Water filters currently provide the best and
healthiest solution to the problems of both bottled water and tap water. Water
filters remove more dangerous contaminants than any other purification method,
and they are uniquely designed to work with municipally treated water. Water
filters are one of the only methods of water purification capable of removing
chlorine and other contaminants.
Virtually all water supply networks deliver a single quality of water, whether
it is to be used for drinking, washing or landscape irrigation. In the United
States, public drinking water is governed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
Among other provisions, it protects the right of employees to report potential
violations. 42 U.S.C. 300j-9(i). Within 30 days of any retaliation, a
whistleblower can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health
So far as bacterial contamination is concerned, the usual test is for a count of
(more often than not harmless) coliform bacteria, it being assumed that these
serve as an indication of contamination by sewage.
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