From drinking to bathing, we need clean water, yet, across the country, we continuously learn about dangerous water. We expect and rely on clean water flowing throughout our homes everyday. Yet, we take water for granted and put faith our homes provide clean water. As a result, water contamination continues to impact our communities.
The importance of water cannot be understated. In New England and across the country, we take the importance of water for granted. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released two new reports on water-associated disease outbreaks. The study analyzed infectious pathogens, chemicals or toxins resulting from drinking water outbreaks. Furthermore, the CDC report notes the bacteria causes legionellosis, which is a less severe version of Legionnaires disease. The bacteria caused about 50% of the outbreaks and 88% of the hospitalizations, along with all 13 deaths. For reference, symptoms includes cough, shortness of breath, fever, along with muscle aches and headaches.
Wilma Subra, president of an environmental consulting firm, provides more details on the legionella bacteria.
“Legionella bacteria are present in the environment and enter drinking water through various activities, including floods. Though water systems frequently chlorinate before they distribute, in some cases, the level of chlorination isn’t sufficient to make it all the way to the end of this distribution system. So if these bacteria are in there and don’t get properly treated before they leave the plant…then the bacteria grows again and causes the people in the farthest regions of the distribution system to become contaminated and to become ill.”
Water Contamination Warning Signs
Although towns and municipalities adhere to local and federal regulations, water contaminations continues to proliferate. Generally, city water remains safe because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates municipal water. Although most of the city water processed is not consumed, all of it is treated. As a result, all of our city water meets EPA drinking standards.
Most cities and towns process water at treatment plants before EPA compliance testing. Upon testing, the water enters our community. However, as we all know, the quality of our city water varies from town to town and home to home.
Therefore, in order to protect your families, homeowners should be aware of waterborne illnesses and symptoms, such as:
- dry or itchy skin.
- ear and/or eye issues.
- respiratory problems.
Additional water contamination warning signs relate to our senses.
1. Watch for Cloudy or Colored Water
Hard water exists in about 80% of homes around the country. As a result, drinking water contains a significant amount of minerals and other naturally occurring substances. However, water should always be clear (not cloudy or colored with an orange or brownish tint).
For any homeowners with cloudy or colored water contains contaminants. Do not drink cloudy or colored water. Additionally, seek a quality water treatment specialist to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your home water.
2. Sniff for Chlorine or Sulfur Smells
Frequently, public water treatment facilities add small amounts of chlorine to water, which kill bacteria. However, at times, too much chlorine may be added and water may smell while coming out of a faucet. Conversely, sulfur occurs naturally in the ground and trace amounts will enter the water supply. Again, low levels of consumption remain harmless.
However, high levels of chlorine or sulfur lead to health issues, such as intestinal distress or dehydration. If your home water smells, this could be an indicator of unsafe water. Contact a water treatment specialist to analyze your home water.
3. Avoid Water Sediment
City and well water contain filters, which removes sediment from home drinking water. Therefore, noticeable sediment in your tap water indicates a possible issue. Many times, a rupture in the main water line allows sediment to seep into filtered water. As a result, based on potential contaminants in the soil surrounding the pipe, this may cause a possible health risk.
Like other warning signs, if sediment exists in your water, then contact a water treatment specialist.
4. Bitter or Metallic Taste
For the most part, water should have no flavor at all. Therefore, if water contains any type of distinct metallic or chemical taste, contact a water treatment specialist. Any taste in your home water likely means dangerous substances exist and this should not be consumed. These substances possibly include pesticides, herbicides, medications and industrial chemicals.
5. Check for Rusted or Tarnished Silverware
Excessive iron in home water provides a common warning sign. For example, iron adheres to the silverware and oxidizes (rusts) when exposed to air. As a result, silverware, shows spots or streaks of rust. For some homes, water may appear clear, but rust may appear on silverware. If rust shows on silverware, then it’s likely the internal components of home appliances also contain rust. Any issues with home appliances can result in reduced life expectancy or costly repairs.
Private Well Water Contamination Warning Signs
According to the CDC, over 15 million US homes obtain drinking water from private wells. However, standard EPA regulations do not cover private well water. As a result, water contamination of a private well not only impacts a specific home, but possible harms nearby households using the same aquifer.
As a result, private well water owners maintain the responsibility for ensuring safe and clean drinking water. Therefore, check private wells routinely for mechanical problems and cleanliness. Plus, ensure any contaminants, such as coliform bacteria, nitrates and any local concerns are not in the well water system.
For any questions regarding your well water systems, contact a professional water specialist.
SolvIt Water is a full-service well and pump company offering a wide range of services to keep your system functioning properly and operating at peak performance. From well pump and storage tank replacement to complete system repairs, SolvIt Water does it all! Don’t take a chance that something could go wrong due to an old or faulty piece of equipment.
At no-charge to you, one of SolvIt Water’s Well & Pump Specialists will conduct comprehensive water well inspection covering the following components of your system:
- Inspect condition of valves and piping ensuring serviceability and code compliance.
- Check pressure switch for operation and proper adjustment.
- Check functionality and condition of pressure gauge.
- Inspect storage tank for corrosion and test for proper air pressure.
- Check well pump for voltage and overall performance.
- Visually inspect the condition of well cap and casing.
- Inspect water treatment and filtration equipment.