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Contamination in any body of water is bad news, but contamination in drinking water is especially hazardous. There are certain types of contamination that can pose serious threats to health.
One study published by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health found that in 2015, water pollution was responsible for 1.8 million deaths worldwide.
The National Resource Defense Council lists six different categories of water pollution: groundwater, surface water, ocean water, transboundary, point source and nonpoint source. Groundwater and surface water comprise most of the drinking water in the U.S.
The first step to protecting yourself against the threats which come with polluted water is understanding the causes.
Groundwater is found in the cracks, crevices and porous spaces of aquifers deep beneath the earth's surface. These stores of water are an incredibly important natural resource; they supply drinking water to nearly 40% of Americans, according to the NRDC. Groundwater pollution is caused by gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals that leech down into the earth from the surface.
The surface water category comprises all the water in oceans, rivers and lakes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, almost half of this water is polluted to the point that it's unsafe for swimming, fishing and drinking. Much of the contamination in fresh surface water is nutrient pollution. This includes nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers as well as industrial waste.
Effects of water contamination
Aside from the 1.8 million deaths it caused in 2015, water contamination also makes over 1 billion people sick every year. The Lancet reported that communities of low socioeconomic status suffered disproportionately.
Polluted water can carry diseases like cholera, giardia and typhoid, as well as other harmful bacteria and viruses that cause rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections and hepatitis. This is especially prevalent in areas where water supplies are tainted by sewage dumping.
First-world nations are not exempt from the consequences of polluted water. And few cases are a better example than that of Flint, Michigan, where aging pipes and lack of funding have rendered the city's water completely toxic.
Now that you know the signs, the causes and the risks associated with water contamination, if something feels off in regard to your home's drinking water, don't wait. Contact Aqua Finance immediately to learn how we can help finance your next water quality test.