have many opportunities to reach your drinking water. The geology
of an area, soil conditions, precipitation, condition of your wells
and plumbing, and the characteristics and occurrence of the substances
themselves are all factors that determine whether a substance reaches
your water supply.
single group of individuals is responsible for what is happening to
your water supplies. Homeowners and renters, as well as farmers, city
dwellers and industries generate wastes that can eventually make their
way to your drinking water sources.
are many specific things you can do to prevent contamination.
First, you must realize that water is a shared resource, used simultaneously
by many individuals, municipalities and businesses. Second, you must
understand that each of us contributes to the pollution threat. Finally,
you must make a conscientious decision to change the way you conduct
your daily activities.
steps you can take to protect your water include:
and disposing of household, shop, lawn and garden, and auto care
products according to label directions.
agricultural chemicals according to recommendations, and using
integrated pest management practices where appropriate.
the area around wells to ensure that contamination cannot occur.
domestic septic tanks and disposal fields to prolong their life
and maximize their ability to remove pollutants.
water a home and at work.
you water resources will require everyone’s effort. You must protect
this resource to assure and adequate and safe supply of water for
future use. Your children and grandchildren are depending on it.
WATER FOR YOUR HEALTH
is never just pure hydrogen and oxygen (H2O),
because water dissolves minerals and organic compounds as it moves
through the air and soil. Unacceptable materials, including bacteria
from animal and human waste, synthetic chemicals such as gasoline
and industrial solvents, or naturally occurring nitrate and salt,
may find their way into water.
are the possible drinking water contaminants you should be concerned
– One of the most common drinking water safety tests involves
testing for chloroforms. Presence of chloroform bacteria may indicate
an unsanitary condition and possible presence of disease-causing agents.
– Sources of nitrates include septic systems, livestock wastes
and nitrogen fertilizer used on farm fields and lawns, high levels
of nitrate in water can cause infant cyanosis ("blue baby disease")
in children younger than one year old. Nitrates do not appear to have
significant health effects on older children or adults.
– Lead is the metal of most concern. Excessive amounts of lead
in our drinking water source can lead to damage of the brain, kidneys,
nervous system and red blood cells. Other metals of concern include
mercury, zinc, copper, arsenic, barium, cadmium, and chromium.
and SALTS - High concentrations of sulfates and other dissolved
salts can cause gastrointestinal problems in people and animals. Sulfates
and salts may also be of concern to those on a sodium-restricted diet.
CHEMICALS – Pesticides, solvents and some substances in petroleum products
have been identified as harmful contaminants detected in a sampling
of drinking water sources.
– Calcium and magnesium are the common minerals that contribute
to water hardness. Water that contains large amounts of minerals may
not affect personal health, but may make it less desirable for household
use. Some minerals also stain laundry and water fixtures.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set concentration level limits
for many of the contaminants found in drinking water. While these
limits are set for public drinking water supplies only, they can also
serve as a guide for private water systems.
best way to determine the quality of your drinking water is to have
it tested. Most water appears clean and problems-free at the tap,
but it may not be as safe or acceptable for household activities as
you would like. Annual testing by your local health department or
by an independent laboratory will indicate possible problems.