Understanding Water Quality

Although we live in an era when water doesn’t need to be boiled anymore, there are many reasons to be concerned about your water quality. You may think you are drinking crisp, clear water, but you might be doing more bad than good. Unless you have a scientific lab available at your fingertips, you can’t tell the water quality by looking at it. Before you take your next sip of water, let’s look at why you should care about the water quality coming from your tap.
child drinking from faucet
At the most basic level, water quality is the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of this precious commodity. Mostly, we assess water quality in Mother Nature, human usage, and drinking water. Humans have requirements for water quality as imposed by government agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for scientific and technical decisions on water. As different concerns are addressed, different standards are applied and suggested. This undoubtedly leads to heated political discussions as environmental scientists rush to identify the fate of contaminants in natural water bodies. Policymakers and environmental lawyers also help put in place legislation to improve water quality at the local level. Large urban cities like San Diego have water quality reports available on their public utilities website.

Contaminants in untreated water can carry harmful viruses and bacteria. If consumed, humans can become very ill. Nearly 1.7 million people die each year from water-borne illnesses they drank or bathed in. Most of the victims are children, living in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. However, it has, and still can, affect people in the US. Water quality varies from area to area. This also goes for sewage and industrial pollution. Local geology and ecosystems should also be considered in the variation of water quality between regions.

glass of water
For these reasons, water purification technology to remove contaminants is used especially in urbanized areas. Lake water and stream water has not been treated and therefore has uncertain quality. Outdoor enthusiasts will drink water from streams or lake and pick up Giardia lamblia. This is the most common parasite found in untreated water. It may develop within days and lasts as long as 4 weeks, causing diarrhea.

Why take the risk of not knowing where your water is coming from? Investing in a whole house water filtration system is the only sure way of knowing what you’re putting in your body. For those living in apartments or rented homes, there are water filters to suit your immediate needs at a lower cost of what it would take to install an entire system in your home.

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