What is Considered a Drinking Water Contaminant?

Pure water does not exist anywhere in nature and there are impurities in all water. The natural cycle of water flow moves it down streams and rivers, through lakes and down into the earth. As it flows and is filtered through the soil and rocks, it absorbs at some level, any substance it comes in contact with.

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A lot of the substances are harmless and in fact some are needed by our bodies for good health. Minerals and metals are necessary and water can provide some of our body’s requirements for these.

However, as with anything else, too much of anything is not good for you. As the levels increase, the same substances can change the taste of the water and potentially make the water unhealthy to consume. In addition to these naturally occurring elements, man-made chemicals and organics, such as bacteria, can also be picked up in the water as it travels through the cycle.

Discharges from factories, pesticides applied on farms and nursery and even chemicals used by homeowners in their homes or yards can be a source of contamination. To monitor the safety of drinking water, the EPA has established guidelines for some of the contaminants found in drinking water.

Primary and Secondary Levels of Contaminants

The National Primary Drinking Water Standards were developed to set safe levels for contaminants that cause health issues such as disease, cancer or illness.  These standards are mandatory for public water supply systems, but not on private water systems.

The National Secondary Drinking Water Standards are guidelines for regulating contaminants that more nuisance or aesthetic in nature. These contaminants can affect the taste, color or odor of the water. They can also cause stains on surfaces, clothes and sometimes skin or teeth. These standards are non-enforceable guidelines recommended by the EPA to water systems but do not require systems to comply. However, states may choose to use them as enforceable standards.

 

What Has More Contamination – Me, the Earth or the Universe?

Below is a chart showing some very common elements that are found everywhere in nature from the human body to the universe.  Take a look and see what is the most contaminated, or if you’re an optimist, what has the most abundant supply of elements!  One man’s contaminant is another man’s recommended daily allowance!

Element% in Universe% in Earth% in Human Body
Carbon0.020.0318.5
Nitrogen0.04Trace3.3
Oxygen0.064765
SodiumTrace2.80.2
MagnesiumTrace2.10.1
PhosphorusTrace0.071
SulfurTrace0.030.3
ChlorineTrace0.010.2
PotassiumTrace2.60.4
CalciumTrace3.61.5
IronTrace5Trace

 

Water Testing Options

Private Well Testing

Are you buying or selling a home with a private well? ATS makes sure you meet your local well testing requirements.

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Home Water Testing

Our EZ Water Tests provide a complete water testing solution as well as testing for particular contaminants. Our water testing experts are trained to help you with your particular situation.

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Learn More About Water Contaminants

Water Doctor

If you think you have a problem with your water, our water doctor will help you identify the source and if it should be treated.

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List of Contaminants

Here you will find a list of contaminants that are commonly found in drinking water.

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ATS makes the water testing process painless and always provides us with professional and courteous services. I would recommend them for all your water testing needs.

Lisa Fritz, Owner of Goddard School, Jackson, New Jersey

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