How well do you know your local water sources? Do you feel confident they’re clean and purified?
More than half of the US population relies on groundwater as drinking water, but contaminants in that supply are a serious concern. In fact, groundwater contamination affects millions of Americans each year. So what impact might groundwater contamination have on your family, and what can you do to ensure that your water is safe?
What Is Groundwater Contamination?
Groundwater contamination comes in many forms. Common sources of harmful contaminants include improperly managed septic tanks, industrial chemicals, and substances from roadways like gas, oil, and road salt.
Improper Waste Disposal
Improper disposal can be an issue when it comes from any kind of waste. One of the most obvious examples of this is hazardous materials, which can wreak havoc on ecosystems and people when not disposed of correctly. Currently, there are tens of thousands of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste disposal sites in the US alone. Other examples of improper waste disposal in include septic tanks, as we mentioned above, and landfills.
Landfills are required by law to have a protective bottom layer to prevent contaminants from leaking into the ground. When this layer is damaged (or not properly installed), unwanted materials from the landfill can seep into the ground and become part of the water supply.
Chemical contamination comes from a number of sources as well. Without careful management, harmful byproducts of industrial processes can leach into the surrounding environment. Leaks at storage facilities or transportation accidents can leave huge amounts of dangerous chemicals in the earth, which then become part of local water supplies. Manufacturing, packaging, and even agricultural chemicals like fertilizers can all contribute to chemical groundwater contamination. Natural chemical compounds can also cause issues, especially in areas with unsafe surface water.
Wells and Drains
Other sources of groundwater contamination include manmade wells and drains. Primarily, there are two types of wells that can contaminate groundwater supplies: drainage wells and injection wells. Injection wells are used in wet areas to bring surface water down to deeper soils. These wells are effective but can carry contain agricultural chemicals and bacteria, depositing them into groundwater supplies.
Drainage wells are used to collect stormwater runoff, contain spills, and dispose of wastewater and commercial and utility waste. These wells are regulated in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Underground Injection Control Program. Commercial drains are also regulated by the EPA but can be a significant source of contamination depending on what they drain and how well they’re managed.
How Is Groundwater Contamination Tested?
The level of contamination in an area’s groundwater is determined by a number of factors, including physical characteristics such as the water’s cloudiness, color, pH, and odor. Methods for detecting less apparent contaminants usually include chemical testing and analysis.
The United States Geological Survey identifies nearly 30 types of inorganic, organic, and microbial contaminants found in groundwater. Other factors, such as water hardness, can also play a role in groundwater contamination.
Left untreated, water containing these chemicals can cause serious harm, with different contaminants carrying their own dangers. Septic tank contamination can cause diseases like dysentery and hepatitis. Similarly, industrial chemicals can cause immediate poisoning or lead to cancer if consumed over time. Humans are not the only ones affected. Contaminated groundwater can affect entire ecosystems, harming the plants and animals that rely on it.
Reducing Groundwater Contamination
The good news is that, while groundwater contamination is a very serious concern, there are ways of dealing with contaminated water. The two most common methods of dealing with contaminated groundwater are water remediation and treatment.
Groundwater remediation is a process used to treat polluted groundwater by removing the pollutants or converting them into harmless products. Remediation can be done with a number of biological, chemical, and physical processes. Each of these methods has its own benefits, and the best method is usually chosen based on the primary contaminants found in the water.
When it comes to individual water supplies, the best way to ensure that the water in your home is truly free of all contaminants is to install a water filtration system. There are many different water filtration methods, and the best water treatment systems use more than one stage.
Water treatment is a standard part of municipal water processes, but many of these systems leave room for further treatment. Plus, municipal water treatment only removes contaminants from the original water source. Before it gets to you, water can pick up new contaminants in transit from a treatment facility to your home. Privately installed water filtration systems can ensure that the tap water in your home is free of contamination, smells, and other unpleasant additives.
The Science of Water
At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy tap water in your home that’s clear of contaminants and delicious to drink.
We even offer free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your local water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.
If the groundwater in your area is carrying dangerous chemicals or microbes, you may feel like the water quality is outside of your control. But in-home water safety is within your reach! Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out about what contamination may be coming through your taps. Get your water tested today to protect your household with pure, clean water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!