The United States of America is a beautiful country with many amazing things to offer. The USA has several natural resources, including water. However, some people are unaware that there is an issue with water contamination in the USA today. It is an important matter that needs to be addressed to ensure that our drinking water remains safe for years.
Water Contamination Explained
Water contamination happens when harmful substances are introduced into the earth’s water supply. As a result, it makes it unsafe for human consumption or uses in other ways. Water contamination occurs naturally as well as through human activity. For example, suppose you live near an area where mining or fracking has been done in the past few decades.
In that case, there’s a chance that this could have negatively impacted your water supply due to pollution from nearby factories or oil wells that releases chemicals into nearby rivers and streams. In addition to these accidents, which are often accidental, there are also intentional acts of sabotage by other countries trying to hurt us through our drinking supplies.
It’s a Common Problem Today
In the USA, water contamination has become a common issue. According to studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 1 in 5 Americans drink water from public systems. Unfortunately, these systems are contaminated with various chemicals and bacteria. In fact, according to the CDC, 90% of Americans drink tap water, and nearly two-thirds of those people get tap water straight from the faucet. These do not go through any filtration process or treatment before consumption. As a result, you could be drinking contaminated tap water even if your municipality claims otherwise.
The leading causes behind this problem include:
- Aging infrastructure and pipes.
- Lack of proper testing techniques leads to false data or no data.
- Poor management practices by local authorities. They fail to keep up with minimum standards set forth by federal agencies such as EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention).
Even some accidents have been reported that have caused many problems for people. For instance, a massive water contamination crisis occurred in the state of North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. The Camp Lejeune accident caused victims several health issues like cancer due to exposure to a toxic chemical known as trichloroethylene (TCE) in the water. Also, there were traces of vinyl chloride, benzene, and other harmful substances found at Camp Lejeune. Thus, these issues need to be addressed to spread awareness among people on how serious it is and how to control them.
Sources of Water Contamination
Water contamination has been a problem for decades, and it’s only recently that the issue has become more prevalent. Water contamination can come from many sources, including natural sources like soil and man-made sources such as factories, farms, and septic tanks.
Water contamination can also come from human or animal waste. For example, if you live near a farm or cattle ranch, you may have noticed an increase in fly infestations in your home during the summer months. It is due to animal manure seeping into water supplies through runoff when it rains heavily.
If you’re worried about whether there might be some contaminant in your tap water, then don’t panic. There are several ways to test your water for contaminants at home without spending hundreds of dollars on new equipment.
Signs of Water Contamination
If you have discolored, bad-tasting, or smelling water, there is a high chance that your water is contaminated. All these are signs that some contaminant has entered your home’s water supply and needs to be removed.
The easiest way to check if your water is contaminated is by running it through a filter system or treatment method such as distillation. However, suppose these methods fail in removing the contaminants from your drinking water. In that case, your backup plan should be installing a whole house filtration unit on the main line before entering each faucet in your house.
If this doesn’t work either, then it’s time for more drastic action, contacting an expert who can test different filtration methods until one works well enough for you.
Government Response to the Issue
If you’re not a water contamination expert or don’t want to become one, it can be challenging to know what the government is doing about water contamination. For example, if your only experience with water contamination is the Colorado River and its pollution problems, you might think there is no government response. And if your superior experience with drinking water issues is Flint’s lead-laden drinking water crisis, you might think there was a lengthy response. But what if we look more broadly? What would we find?
In truth, when we look at federal legislation over time on this issue, we see that it has been slow to respond to new threats like terrorism or environmental disasters. It has also been slow in responding to new technology and laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. For example, it was not required for testing for pharmaceuticals until 2004.
If you’re concerned about water contamination, here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Change your filter regularly. It’s essential to change your filters regularly, as this will prevent bacteria from growing and compromising the safety of your drinking water. If you have a sound system with a pump, it should be checked for leaks every six months or so.
- Don’t use cloudy or smelly water. Dirty and smelly water are signs that there might be contamination in your home’s pipes, so don’t use that water for anything except flushing toilets. Also, keep an eye on any strange-colored liquids from faucets. If they’re brownish or reddish instead of clear like regular tap water, don’t drink them because they might contain lead.
- Please don’t use any liquid with a bad taste or smell when cooking food, and don’t drink it. It goes double if there’s mold present somewhere in your house. The same goes when using ice cubes. If something tastes funny, don’t make any beverage with those cubes again. Until all traces have been removed by boiling some fresh ones up, only then go ahead.
Water Contamination is a Serious Issue That Needs Attention
Water contamination is a serious issue that affects many people every day. While it may seem like an impossible problem to tackle on your own, there are simple ways to protect yourself against it. You can reduce the risk of getting sick or developing cancer later in life by taking some time each month to clean your faucets and by changing your filters.