Water Contamination Symptoms
Freshwater is a precious commodity, yet both surface water and groundwater sources are vulnerable to pollution stemming from a number of different sources. Different types of water pollution can have different impacts on human health. While some types of water pollution only cause mild impacts, other types of pollution can pose a severe health risk to humans. Individuals who obtain their drinking water from private wells should take precautions to ensure that it is safe to drink as this responsibility rests on them alone. To this end it is essential that well owners become aware of water contamination symptoms so that any form of well contamination can be detected before any health issues become apparent. So how do we tell if drinking water is polluted, and what are common water contamination symptoms to be aware of?
Visible Water Contamination Symptoms
Excessive mineral salts, such as calcium and magnesium, in drinking water result in the formation of scale or scum. Lack of water clarity is a good indicator that drinking water may be harboring foreign particles of some sort, including sand, silt, clay, or rust. While these particles may be harmless, if drinking water has a high turbidity, this may indicate the presence of pathogens such as micro-organisms, which can cause disease. Cloudy appearance that clears after standing for a few minutes may also indicate faulty pumps or filters within the system. Obvious staining of sinks, baths, toilet bowls, or laundry are water contamination symptoms: green stains indicate high levels of acidity; while rust colored stains indicate high levels of dissolved iron..
Water Contamination Symptoms Defined by Taste
Drinking water that has high levels of sodium present may taste salty or brackish, while water contaminated by chemical pollutants may have a strong chemical taste. Consuming water with high levels of alkalinity may taste soapy, while water that is more acidic may leave a metallic after taste, as will water that has high levels of dissolved iron present.
Detecting Water Contamination Symptoms by Smell
A common water contamination symptom that is detected by smell is a distinct odor that smells like rotten eggs. This can arise due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide, or it can be caused by the presence of bacteria. If the bad odor is only noticeable from hot water it could be originating from the water heater. If your water smells strongly of chlorine, it is likely that large doses of chlorine were applied during the treatment process. If your water imparts a dank musty odor, it is most likely to be caused by rotting suspended plant matter. Water that has been contaminated by seepage from a leaking septic tank is likely to be foamy and smell like washing detergents. Should your drinking water smell like oil or gasoline, it is highly likely that it is contaminated by a leaking fuel or gas tank.
While the above water contamination symptoms are fairly obvious and easy to detect by sight, taste, or smell, many drinking water pollutants that have the potential to cause ill health in humans cannot be easily detected without having the water tested.
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