Drinking Water Treatment Makes Water Safe to Drink
Drinking water treatment is necessary to make water safe and healthy to drink. Fresh water around the world, even in places as far fetched as Alaska and Antarctica, has to be treated before it can be used as drinking water. Why?
The EPA’s Standards for Drinking Water Contamination
All freshwater contains contaminants. The EPA has set standards for 90 contaminants that can be found in drinking water. Types of contaminants include microbes, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, and disinfection byproducts. Drinking water contamination is a problem in water supplies around the world, and so drinking water treatment is a priority.
The EPA has two contaminant level guidelines: MCL and MCLG. These are the Maximum Contaminant Level and the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, respectively. The MCL is what the EPA allows in water, and the MCLG is the goal level. These are not the same! For instance benzene, a carcinogen, has a MCLG of zero, but this goal is virtually never met. The MCL for benzene is 5 parts per billion because that’s about as low as water treatment plants can generally get it. It turns out that Mils are set based on what is possible, not what is safest for you.
Drinking water contaminants
Cysts are a stage in the life cycle of microbes. Because they are found in most surface water, all drinking water treatment must include methods to remove or kill them before they get into your water glass. Some common types of cysts are giardia and cryptosporidium. They are passed into the water supply by humans and animals, who spread the disease into even the most remote wildernesses.
Two of the most important inorganic chemicals that get into the water supply are lead and arsenic, both of which can cause many health problems. But because the source of lead is often old pipes inside your house, it is best to use some kind of water treatment at the tap to remove it.
Organic compounds are a common cause of drinking water contamination. They come from a variety of sources, including herbicides, pesticides, improperly disposed of factory wastes, runoff from industrial chemical and petroleum factories. Drinking water treatment to remove these chemicals is necessary to reduce our risk of liver problems, reproductive difficulties, cancer, and nervous system disorders, to name a few of their health effects.
Finally, drinking water treatment at water treatment plants actually increases contamination with disinfectants and their byproducts. Chlorine is a commonly used disinfectant that is highly reactive. It reacts with other chemicals to form a wide variety of compounds, including trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids are two families of chemicals that are thought to increase your risk of getting cancer. Because the water leaving a water treatment facility contains some chlorine, these byproducts may form in the water between the treatment facility and your house! This is another instance where home drinking water treatment is important for your health.
Home Drinking Water Treatment Systems
Home drinking water treatment systems, such as carbon filter systems, make a lot of sense when you consider how hazardous these contaminants are. Anything you can do to reduce the level of your drinking water contamination is worthwhile considering the health risks these contaminants pose.
John Collins is a content editor who focuses on a wide array of niche health topics. His latest website – Water Purification focuses on fresh pure water sources, and in particular, a natural water filter company our editors personally use with excellent health results known as – Best Water Filters