The Risk of Taking Water for Granted
Water is a necessity of life; we could not live any more than a few days without it. Our bodies are mostly composed of it, everything we drink contains it, and we use it for everything from bathing to cooking to travel and trade. Distilled water is the only chemical that is pH-neutral (meaning neither acidic nor alkaline, even slightly). Intuitively, water is on par with oxygen as the most important chemical aiding in survival.
Water, however, is not impermeable. It is pervious to its own share of malicious chemicals and microbes that, thanks to our universal and versatile use of water, can contribute to some very catastrophic and widespread problems. One single municipal water source can supply both sanitation and drinking water to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people, and one wayward contaminant could cause scores of sicknesses and even death.
Fortunately, the municipal water supply structure is highly regulated with inspectors and government agencies overseeing all contingencies and doing routine testing. People in rural areas whose supply comes from well water, however, may not fare so lucky. Even with the due diligence of testing and filtration systems, well water may be prone to shocks from flooding or biohazardous runoff from sources such as animal feces or blood from slaughter.
When some of these nasty – and often invisible and odorless – contaminants enter your well water, they can become deadly for you, and especially your children, and can be potentially costly to remove.
Here are just a few of the worst, yet most common, well water contaminants:
Although lead is mostly associated with dated municipal infrastructure, wells with outdated plumbing can be susceptible to lead contamination just through routine degradation of pipes over time. Lead contamination can lead to lead poisoning, and the host of problems that follow it, such as damage to bone marrow, kidney function, the brain, and blood. Lead is especially harmful to developing children, causing developmental disorders, low I.Q. and concentration rates, and irreversible brain damage. Unlike where trace amounts of certain contaminants are present (for example, chlorine and fluoride), there is no known safe consumption level for lead.
Nitrates are chemicals found in fertilizers, liquid waste, and manure, and can be formed due to a chemical reaction between excess nitrogen left over from plants and the groundwater it carries off into. Nitrates can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia (also known as “baby blue” disease), which hinders the body’s ability to carry oxygen, leading to a bluish pallor from hypoxia.
Escherischia Coli (E. Coli) is a naturally-occurring bacterium found in the intestinal tracts of mammals that aids in the breakdown of digested food matter into waste. As such, heavy rains can carry runoff from nearby farms containing elements from livestock feces. Bugs and rodents entering into wells may also be a source of E. Coli contamination.
- Coli contamination has the potential to cause a variety of serious abdominal health problems, ranging from nausea, lethargy, and vomiting to severe intestinal cramping and diarrhea, which can be bloody. At its worst, it can also cause seizures, confusion, and acute kidney failure in children.
The Best Well Water Testing
The real alarming factor of these contaminants is that their presence is not easily detectable to human senses, or anything other than precision equipment. If you have a well, routine testing and updating of filtration equipment is very important. It also pays to have independent testers like AquaKnow testing your water so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your well system has a clean bill of health. AquaKnow tests are quick and easy to complete, and provide exceptionally reliable results. Click here to learn more.