There can be many different ways that contaminate can enter the water system ending up in your tap. Mostly, South Africans source water from a municipal water supply. While the water may leave the water treatment plant without contaminants, it can become contaminated along the way. There are various ways water can get contaminated by gas leaks, animals waste, sewage waste and runoff just to name a few. When your water supply comes from an unregulated well. Privately-owned wells are not regulated by the government and are the responsibility of a homeowner to treat and filter the water.
Should I be worried about my drinking water?
There are two primary sources of tap water: either from your local municipality or from a private well or pond. Municipal facilities provide water for many homes and businesses and are required to meet certain federal standards by the EPA.
Let’s have a look at the Municipalities and their responsibilities:
Even though water leaving the municipal water facility may be relatively clean, contaminants in large distribution pipes or even in household plumbing can be introduced into the tap water. A recent article by the NY Times stated that often when researchers test the water, they find that the water has more contaminants after entering the home or place of business than it does when leaving the municipal facility.
Municipalities are required to test water at the treatment plant for certain dangerous contaminants, but as long as the water is below the maximum contaminant levels issued by the EPA, they can still deliver water to their customers. So this means that your water may still be harmful, especially to compromised immune systems, the elderly, or pregnant women. Some contaminants like cancer-causing Chromium may be so new that current contaminant guidelines have yet to be issued. Municipalities may not know about leaks in pipes or older systems that could fail, which can lead to water with higher contaminant levels arriving at your tap.
Now, let have a look at private well/ Borehole water and ponds:
Another source of tap water comes from private boreholes, wells and ponds. These water sources are not regulated by local or federal governments in any way. The owner of the source of water is responsible for the quality of the water issuing out of the well or pond. There can be many sources that can cause contaminants to leak into groundwater and then enter the well. These can include nitrates from fertilizer used on farms, sewage overflow from local flooding, and even chemical leaks from manufacturing.
The different contaminant is caused by a different source. Pesticides may be in your water because of agricultural run-off. E. coli and other bacteria found in the fecal matter may seep into your well if a neighbour’s sewage tank is leaking.
The effects of water contaminants to your health (Just to name a few)
• Chlorine, a common disinfectant, can cause skin rashes.
• Low levels of arsenic can cause stomach problems and vomiting, but high levels have been known to cause cancer.
• Nitrates are known to inhibit cellular oxygen levels and can even be fatal for infants.
How do I know what’s in my water?
Get your water tested: The best way to know what water contamination is in your water. Need some help, we offer water testing services.
How can I remove contaminants from my drinking water?
We offer a variety of water purifiers, water filtration and treatment options for any contaminant that may be in your water. For more information please contact us today.