Home Blog Home and Wellness World Water Day 2023: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

World Water Day 2023: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated March 15, 2023
Every March 22nd is World Water Day. It is a day dedicated to making people know more about the essence of freshwater and managing water resources to attain sustainability. It also presents an avenue to discuss water-related topics extensively and take firm steps toward making freshwater available and sustainable for everyone.
World Water Day 2023 focuses on solving the water and sanitation problems facing the countries of the world. The unavailability of safe water to billions of people and millions of schools, healthcare centers, farms, and businesses is a serious call for concern. Have you ever wondered where the water you drink daily comes from? Are you sure it doesn’t contain contaminants that exceed safe levels? If present, do you know how to remove these contaminants and make your water safe for drinking?
Read on to learn more about the common contaminants found in drinking water and the appropriate treatments recommended by the CDC.

What are The Types of Contaminants in Drinking Water?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set legal limits on about 90 contaminants in drinking water. The agency expects the water systems to maintain these limits using the best available technology and warns that exceeding these limits will put human health at risk.
The 2019 classification of contaminants in drinking water by the EPA comprises 88 standards for microorganisms, chemicals, and radionuclides. There are currently six groups as follows:
  • Microorganisms, including Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Viruses (enteric)
  • Disinfectants, including Haloacetic acids, Chlorite, and Bromate
  • Disinfection byproducts, including Chloramines, Chlorine dioxide, and Chlorine
  • Inorganic chemicals, including Nitrate, Lead, Fluoride, Copper, Chromium, Cadmium, and Arsenic
  • Organic chemicals, including Dioxin, Vinyl Chloride, Carbofuran, Alachlor, Acrylamide, and Benzene
  • Radionuclides, including Radium 226 and Radium 228 Combined, Alpha Particles, Beta Particles, and Uranium
As regulated by the EPA, the contaminants listed above are known to put human health at various risk levels. Based on their effects, they are classified into two groups: acute and chronic effects.
Acute effects surface hours or days after consuming a contaminant. An example of an acute effect is the case of a Florida resident that died after becoming infected with a microorganism contaminant—a rare brain-eating amoeba. According to health experts in Charlotte County, southwest Florida, the infection most likely occurred after the victim rinsed their nasal sinuses with tap water. A 2021 test report confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in 28 (30.1%) out of 93 samples obtained between 2014 and 2018 from public water in the city of Louisiana.
Chronic effects happen when people consume a contaminant at levels beyond the safety limits prescribed by the EPA over a long period, usually several years. Water contaminants with such effects include minerals like arsenic, radionuclides like radium, and other chemicals. The chronic effects include reproductive problems, kidney and liver issues, and cancer.
Chronic effects are relatively common compared to acute effects.

Nitrates in Community Water Systems (CWS)

Based on the report of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment (USGS-NAWQA) Project, the principal groundwater aquifers that were adopted as U.S. public and private drinking water supplies between 1998 and 2015 were sampled. The nitrate found in groundwater under agricultural land was 3x the national background level of 1 mg/L NO3-N. The NAWQA study also estimated that 2% of public-supply wells and 6% of private wells in mixed-land-use areas are beyond the MCL, while 21% of private wells are beyond the MCL in agricultural areas.
Nitrate exposure comes with different health implications, including cancer. According to studies, workers exposed to nitrate fertilizer are more likely to experience stomach cancer. However, evidence connecting long-term exposure to higher nitrate levels in drinking water to a higher risk of cancer remains unclear.
nitrate concentrations percentage

Arsenic in Community Water Systems (CWS)

Arsenic occurs naturally in some soils and rock formations. It is also present in groundwater and surface water as leachates. Arsenic is found in high levels in the groundwater in some parts of the United States, where it presents a possible health hazard to people who rely on private well water for their drinking water needs.
Arsenic can be lethal when consumed in very high amounts. Lower amounts of arsenic also cause vomiting, nausea, blood vessel damage, reduced production of white and red blood cells, a pin and needle sensation in the hands and feet, and abnormal heart rhythm.
nitrate concentrations percentage

Water Treatment Methods Recommended By The CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends ion exchange, distillation, and reverse osmosis as water treatment methods for removing arsenic and nitrate from water.

Distillation

The principle of distillation is the separation of components or substances from a liquid mixture using selective boiling and condensation. The process is highly efficient, so distilled water is usually called the purest form of water. Distillation has found a wide range of applications in medical and industrial processes.

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange involves the reversible interchange of a type of ion found in an insoluble solid with another ion with a similar charge found in the solution surrounding the solid. It has been widely used in softening or demineralizing water, chemical purification, and separating substances into components.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is another water purification process. It relies on a semi-permeable membrane to separate pure water molecules from other components like ions, unwanted molecules, and larger particles.
Both reverse osmosis and membrane filtration processes rely on a membrane to carry out separation, with the only difference being in the mechanisms and applications.
Any filtration process that uses a membrane to separate substances according to charge, shape, or size is termed membrane filtration. They include microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis. This membrane usually has tiny pores, just small enough to allow the passage of water and small molecules. All other molecules and larger particles like dissolved solids, viruses, and bacteria are blocked from passing.

Which Water is the Most Suitable for Your Health?

The best water for drinking will be based on individual needs and specific situations. However, water’s suitability for drinking is determined by its quality and not the source. The tips below will help you choose the best water to drink to stay healthy.

Assess the Source of the Water

The first step is to identify the source of the water. The ideal water for drinking should come from a pure and natural source, including glaciers or springs. This type of water hardly contains contaminants or pollutants.

Check the Purity

Check if the water has been previously purified or treated. The label usually contains information regarding this. If the water has been treated or purified, it is most likely free of harmful contaminants like heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, and chemicals.

Check the pH Balance

The pH balance of water is an indication of its quality. For instance, the best water for drinking should have a pH balance between 6.5 to 8.5. Drinking water that is too alkaline or acidic can put you at health risk.

Check the Mineral Content

Human health greatly benefits from water rich in minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium. However, such water may not be suitable for people with kidney problems.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is another source of drinking water. However, checking the label and ensuring the container is made from glass, BPA-free plastic, or other safe materials is important. With 91% of plastic ending up in landfills unrecycled, you may want to consider better alternatives to bottled water.

Tap Water

Tap water is another option. But it is advisable to check with your local provider to ascertain the suitability of the water for drinking. If unsure, you can use a water filter system to reduce the contaminants that may be present.

Understand Your Hydration Needs

Your hydration needs are another important factor. For instance, an athlete’s hydration needs differ from that of a regular office worker. Once you know how much water your body needs, you know how much you need to drink to stay healthy and hydrated.

To Round up…

The world records new water safety incidents every year. World Water Day is an opportunity to identify and tackle these problems. Having the right water purification system in your space will ensure you get access to healthy, clean drinking water. It also reduces your carbon footprint and limits the amount of plastic waste by removing the need for bottled water.
As insignificant as it may seem, collective efforts toward improved water management and security will make everyone healthier and improve our general quality of life.

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Contaminants Detected in  Fruitland Water Special Service District
30
Contaminants
EXCEED EWG HEALTH GUIDELINES

30  Total Contaminants in Your Water

Water Provider

Fruitland Water Special Service District

Population Affected

120,000

Water Source

Ground water
Exceeds Guidelines

Others Detected

See What's in Your Tap Water
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