3 Common Issues Surrounding Groundwater
Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on July 7, 2017
Found beneath the Earth’s surface, groundwater is commonly collected in order to meet the needs of the general public. In fact, most of the water we drink, bathe with, use to manufacture goods, and even use within medical settings comes from the ground.
Within the United States, more than 105 million Americans access their tap water from water systems that utilize groundwater. In that sense, this key source is critical — it provides the world with one of its most vital resources.
Although it would be ideal if we could extract groundwater and immediately use it, the reality is, if not treated properly, this water source can cause more harm than good.
The quality of your water matters, which is why we need to be aware of possible contaminants and issues that threaten our health and the public’s safety.
We’re all aware of Flint’s water crisis and how it affected the city’s residents. Unfortunately, the right steps were not taken to ensure water safety, triggering a series of negative events. Since this water was not properly treated to begin with, lead from aging pipes began to leach.
This is, of course, a dramatic example, but it clearly shows how fragile we are in terms of the underlying issues surrounding groundwater. To ensure that our water supply is treated properly, we must pay attention to the following issues.
Issue #1: Pathogens
Just because we can’t see something with the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not present. In the case of waterborne disease, pathogenic microorganisms can make you extremely sick. Although most of us are aware of the dangers of certain bacteria, these aren’t the only type of pathogens we need to be concerned with.
- Protozoans — Amoebiasis, for instance, can be caused by non-treated water or sewage. This results in a range of abdominal issues, fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
- Bacterial Agents — This includes numerous diseases and microbial agents, including E. coli and botulism. Once again, symptoms begin to surface due to a contaminated water supply.
- Viruses — SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is a good example, as is hepatitis A.
Issue #2: Corrosive Water Pipes
Metal plumbing systems can cause a range of issues if not addressed, leading to what’s known as corrosive or “aggressive” water. If this water dissolves enough lead, copper, or other harmful metals, this can lead to the types of problems that took place in Flint.
Highly acidic groundwater and well water systems can present similar hazards. Based on these factors, it’s important to have your water tested regularly, especially in problematic areas. There are a number of options available for neutralizing water through filtration or alkaline chemicals — so talk to an expert if you have concerns about your water system.
Issue #3: Unwanted Elements
Although our bodies require elements such as iron and manganese, we should not ingest them through our water supply. While man-made pollution and contamination are a main cause of poor water quality, some pollutants occur naturally.
Chromium, for instance, enters the environment from old mining areas, leaching into groundwater sources. This process can cause a range of health problems from ulcers to kidney damage. Arsenic, copper, mercury, nickel, and many other naturally occurring elements can also be detrimental to health when consumed in high concentrations.
From pesticides to organic compounds, pollutants come in many forms. In order to take preventative action and manage water sources effectively, groundwater quality monitoring, on-site sanitation systems, and point-of-use treatment options should all be practiced. Being proactive with your water supply is the best possible action you can take to protect yourself and your community.