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Drinking water pollution in the US and what you can do for change

Drinking water pollution

If the Flint water crisis didn’t say enough alarming things about water (and racism), there’s more to learn about drinking water pollution across America. Unfortunately, the Flint, Michigan water system hasn’t been the only cause of water safety violations. Drinking water pollution is still happening in the US, as the facts below illustrate, so don’t assume tap water is safe.

How does drinking water pollution happen?

The cause? Nutrient pollution in drinking water sources that go to the homes of millions of US people. 

As streams, lakes, and rivers are the source of tap water for roughly 170 million Americans, there’s potential for a lot of sick people if those waters are contaminated with pollutants and aren’t properly treated before reaching houses.

Specifically, phosphorus and nitrogen can taint groundwater, and if that’s not treated before it becomes drinking water, a lot of health problems can happen. Especially if you’re not told that the primary water source in your place of residence has dangerous impurities in it and can’t see or taste any change in the liquid that’s necessary for human life.

Despite the protections of the Safe Drinking Water Act, accidents or illegal discharges within water treatment systems can happen. It could be that a certain treatment facility has inadequate operating guidelines, isn’t up to code, or isn’t expanding with the needs of the growing community.

All of this adds up to unsafe water coming out of kitchen faucets and bathtub taps of some American homes.

Drinking water pollution is serious

I can’t stress enough about the dangers of contaminated tap water. As the NRDC explains, unsafe water makes about 1 billion people sick every year. 

Diseases spread by waterborne pathogens in bacteria and viruses in waste (human and animal) account for a big cause of illness. The diseases that can then happen include:

  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Giardia

It can even lead to death.

There are other types of pollutants than waste too. Nitrogen and phosphorous, for example, can come into the water supply via fertilizer runoff. And, of course, in the case of Flint, it was the pipes that were the cause of lead contamination.

Find out what tannins in water are too in this helpful guide.

What can we do about the problem?

As with so many issues, learning about the water pollution problems and finding solutions is the way to make positive change. 

When Earth Day comes each year, participate in it and spread the word about drinking water pollution to raise awareness of the problems still happening in the US and elsewhere in the world. Then things start to change with better regulations. 

Of course, making those changes to water systems across the nation will take time to go into effect. Sadly, US residents will be drinking unsafe water for a long time without likely knowing it. 

That’s where a home water filtration system can help while waiting for improvements to happen to the US water supplies. Unfortunately, changing any regulatory system takes time, even if the cogs start turning today. 

Tap water isn’t something we can assume to always be safe, unfortunately. Telling people that could prompt them to protect themselves and their families against contaminants in their water supply by using home water filters. Or bottled water.

Personally, I prefer water filters over bottled water as you can use larger quantities and it’s more affordable in the long run. Plus, I don’t like plastic bottles, they’re not an eco-friendly choice for your green lifestyle.

If you do decide to use a water filter, you must maintain it too. Otherwise, it can grow mildew and that’s not helping anyone.

Lastly, please get rid of toxic materials, such as paints and motor oil, through proper methods. NOT by pouring them down the drain where they might then enter the water supply.

I would love it if you share this post to help more people understand drinking water pollution! Also please feel free to comment below on water, the environment, and health. Your opinions matter.

28 thoughts on “Drinking water pollution in the US and what you can do for change”

  1. Thanks for the information, Christy! Luckily our water is safe, but we still use a filter on the fridge for drinking water. Our city also has free programs where we can drop off chemicals like paint for proper disposal. Unfortunately, many are not aware of or take advantage of these.

    1. After reading your comment, Amy, I think many cities would do a great service by promoting those eco-friendly programs! The whole community wins when we’re properly disposing of materials. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  2. Amazing article Christy. You’ve got it covered. I wouldn’t be without my filtered water in my own home where our water is deemed safe. And I’m happy to share <3

  3. Truly, very interesting and informative post. Thank you for raising awareness on this important problem with the water.
    I am like you. I prefer water filters than bottled water from the stores, no matter what brand. Our own house H20 filtering is sager since we control the expiration of each filter. I use the one outside -step 1- and step 2: the cartridge inside because the filter has silver and other components that protect you from bacteria and even viruses. Keep up the great work, Christy :) 👍

    1. It sounds like you’re taking proper steps with the water, Martha, and that’s great to hear! It’s surprising how many people don’t know the quality of their tap water. Thanks for being here!

    2. Dr. Martha Andrea Castro Noriega, MD WMA FACS

      Oh, Thank you, Christy. I love your blog, your posts and I’m always looking forward to read them. Have a great night.

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