The United States is known to supply the safest drinking water in the world, but the average American doesn’t give much thought to the water source or the systems that are in place to ensure that the water is free from contaminants and safe for human consumption. Here are some water treatment facts you should know before drinking your next cup of water.
Let’s trace the water from its source to your tap, and discover the various methods the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put in place to ensure that the water you drink and use daily, is free from disease-causing, waterborne germs like Cryptosporidium, E Coli, Hepatitis A, Giardia intestinalis, and other dangerous contaminants.
All water is contaminated in some way, but all drinking water is treated then tested and has to comply with EPA standards. Apart from disease-causing germs, some other contaminants found in water before treatment are:
This heavy metal leeches into the water from the ground or industrial waste. Consumption of arsenic has been linked to:
In the correct quantity, Flouride plays a huge role in preventing tooth decay, but any dosage of Flouride above 0.7mg/l in drinking water is considered toxic and can result in dental fluorosis, poisoning, various cancers and worst-case scenario, death.
Chromium, a known carcinogen, seeps into the groundwater and soil from chromate producing industrial processes like the making of mortar, paint, and leather goods. Stomach cancer, kidney and liver failure, premature dementia, and contact dermatitis have all been linked to chromium ingestion or exposure.
Lead is introduced into the water via pipes that still contain lead (these pipes have been banned since 1986). This heavy metal is very toxic to children. Exposure to lead can lead to problems with their nervous system, anemia, seizures, and even death. The Broward County Health Department can be contacted for free lead testing. The maximum amount of lead permitted in water is 0.01mg/ml.
Public drinking water systems use various methods to ensure that water is safe for human consumption. The exact methods used may differ slightly between communities, as the source and quality of water differ.
Surface water from lakes, rivers, and streams contain more pollutants and sediment and is more likely to be contaminated, so it will require more filtration and disinfection than water sourced from the ground.
The most common surface water treatment has four stages:
This is the first step in water treatment. Chemicals with a positive charge are added to neutralize the negative charge of dirt and other dissolved particles. The particles bind with the chemicals to form larger particles called floc.
The floc, because of its weight, settles to the bottom of the water supply, and this stage is referred to as sedimentation.
Once the floc has settled during sedimentation, the clear water on top passes through various filters (sand, gravel, and charcoal). This process removes any particles like dust, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals from the water.
Once the water has passed through all the filters in the previous stage, it is disinfected. Carefully calculated doses of chlorine or chloramine are added to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, and viruses and to protect the water against germs when flowing through the pipes of homes and businesses.
Every community water supplier has to obtain, and make freely available, an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) that states:
Despite the EPA setting and enforcing the standard for safe public drinking water, some households choose to further treat their water with home water treatments for the following reasons:
Household water treatment systems can be installed at:
There are a few different systems used at the point of water entry. Three of the main systems are:
These devices are commonly used and at times less expensive than the point of entry devices:
More questions concerning water treatment? Contact Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric at 1-800-475-1504 for all your water filtration needs.
For Immediate Emergency Assistance Call 1-800-475-1504