Sources of Human Water Contamination
At AshtonTucker, our goal is to help you maintain the health and usability of your water. Our water processing equipment is designed to cover the entire water filtration process from start to finish, and our technicians know every little trick to keep your water as pure as possible.
One of the primary threats to clean and drinkable water? Human activity. Here are five major areas where humans continue to threaten and degrade drinking water.
Agricultural production is a big factor in water pollution, ranging from fertilizers to manures used in large-scale animal operations. In Washington, for instance, a 2015 lawsuit found that a massive dairy operation had polluted groundwater in a nearby community, raising nitrate levels in water and risking serious immune system issues.
Crops like corn and soy, which rely heavily on fertilizers, can lead to dangerous algal blooms – when these are toxic, they can shut down drinking water for entire cities. Too much fertilizer can run off into streams and rivers, and eventually into lakes and oceans.
In certain large locales, population growth has strained wastewater plants to the point where they can’t handle the sewage being produced. Raw sewage can find its way into lakes and streams during rainstorms, spilling toxic sewage into drinking water supplies.
Not only do many fossil fuel-related activities use a great deal of water, but their waste products can pollute groundwater as well. During fracking, each fracked well requires between 1 million and 6 million gallons of water – this places strain on surface resources. The state of California used 70 million gallons of water on fracking in 2014, despite on ongoing drought.
Chemical runoff from these processes can be even more damaging. It can lead to contaminants like arsenic, mercury and radioactive materials in groundwater.
US health providers use millions of pounds of pharmaceutical drugs each year, and some of these are finding their way into treated drinking water. Ninety percent of this is via excretion – antibiotics are a particular concern, as they can lead to antibiotic resistance unknowingly. Many wastewater treatment facilities aren’t equipped to remove traces of pharmaceuticals from water.
A big part of the degradation of water supplies is development and land-use changes. Global population density around key urban watershed sources has skyrocketed by a factor of 5.4 since 1900, and the majority of this development has taken place in just the last few decades. Sediment has wildly increased in watersheds, and development is the biggest reason why.
To learn more about the sources of human water pollution, or for information on how our water treatment equipment can solve some of these issues, speak to the pros at AshtonTucker today.