How your home’s water becomes polluted in Sarasota, Florida


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There are several ways that Sarasota, Florida’s water could be contaminated. Pollutants have risks associated with them, but there are ways to mitigate those risks. Read on to learn more about the types of pollutants that may be present in drinking water and what you can do about them. Types of potential pollutants Pollution may include agricultural waste, heavy metals, organic chemicals, nitrates, microorganisms, fluoride, and other sources. These pollutants reach the water supply in various ways. Runoff from local agriculture is the source of potential pollutants when water from farms is not controlled. Agricultural pollutants include fertilizers, animal feed, animal waste, animal burials, manure, pesticides, and field irrigation. These pollutants end up in the groundwater from runoff, where they can end up in the water supply. Heavy metals can leach into the water system from household plumbing, electronics, manufacturers, municipal waste disposal, and even natural mineral deposits. This includes arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, selenium, and more. An excess of heavy metals in the body can lead to liver damage, anemia and cancer. The organic chemicals found in many household products can end up in your home’s water. These are found in dyes, paints, solvents, pharmaceuticals, and disinfectants. They can also enter the water supply by surface water infiltration and groundwater movement. Nitrates are a component of chemical fertilizers as well as human and animal waste. These chemicals, when ingested, can reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. This is especially dangerous for infants. Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites live everywhere on the planet, sometimes including your home water. These can come from human and animal waste, runoff, or leakage from underground storage tanks. Private wells are more vulnerable to these microorganisms because they lack the constant monitoring found in public water systems. Excessive fluoride, which is often used to help prevent tooth decay, is added to residential water systems. Some homeowners add fluoride to their water systems such as water from their wells. Consuming too much fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which manifests itself as pain and tenderness in the bones. Other sources of pollutants include: Radionuclides such as uranium and radium waste from medical facilities and institutions including research laboratories. Waste from rainwater pipelines and drains Runoff from oil and gas production facilities including runoff pipelines from commercial facilities such as airports, boat docks and railroad tracks. Such as metal fabrication facilities and machinery stores can also lead to pollution. These sources are particularly distinguished by the contamination of heavy metals such as lead, copper, and other metals. How pollutants get into the water As municipalities test and treat public water systems, pollutants can leach into the water after treatment has occurred. They can access the water supply itself or the distribution system. Often times, pollutants end up in the water due to a break in the water line. When a break occurs, these contaminants may find their way. Contamination occurs when these breaks occur after the point of filtration or treatment. Human activity can also introduce pollutants into your home’s water supply. For example, activities that involve septic tanks, industrial wastewater treatment plants, and landfills are potential culprits. Groundwater Pollution Most homes in the United States depend on groundwater for at least part of their water supply. It is also one of the largest sources of irrigation water. Groundwater is particularly vulnerable to pollutants and pollution. Human-made products such as gas, oil, and chemicals can enter the groundwater. These can damage your health. Rain also picks up dissolved gases in the air as it falls. This water becomes part of the groundwater and can capture more minerals and gases in the soil as it passes into the aquifer. From there, it could end up in your home’s water. Here are some sources of groundwater pollution: Atmospheric pollutants Chemicals Hazardous waste Unsupervised Storage and septic tanks One of the biggest ways lead can get into your home’s water is actually from your pipes. In fact, pipes made before 2011 can contain up to 8% of lead that comes from the material used to weld the tubes together. People with old pipes are more likely to have lead issues, although it is always a good idea to check the purity of the water. Since you cannot see, smell, or taste it in the water, testing is the only sure way to find out if the water contains the mineral. Private water systems are particularly vulnerable According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, there are more than 24,000 homes in Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota counties on private wells. Many homes also have private water systems such as tanks and rainwater harvesting systems. These private systems are not monitored or treated like public ones. This lack of testing can lead to significant health risks. The EPA does not regulate or make recommendations for private well water systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15 million American households depend on private wells for their drinking water. These private owners are personally responsible for making sure their water is free of contaminants and they should regularly test their water as its purity may change over time. Rainwater is not as pure as you might think that many homes use rainwater harvesting systems as a way to conserve resources. This water is often used for bathing or drinking. Don’t assume collected water is safe to drink. The risk of rainwater contamination depends on many factors, including the season and how rainwater is collected and stored. There are several ways to pollute rainwater: dust, smoke and soot from the air before it is collected. Dirt and germs or bird droppings washed from the roof of your home Asbestos, lead and copper from roofing materials such as gutters and pipes Bacteria and parasites, viruses and chemicals in the water collection container do not provide rain barrels What kind of filtration or processing. Adding chlorine or iodine will not remove the chemicals, nor will it boil the water, although both methods of purification can help get rid of microorganisms. Health risks of contaminating water supplies Pollutants in water can lead to adverse health effects. This includes gastrointestinal diseases, neurological disorders, and reproductive problems. Infants, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weak immunity are most vulnerable. Critical illnesses and diseases are rare but may be life-threatening when pollutants are dangerous and in high concentration. This includes acute and chronic toxicity, liver damage, intestinal damage, kidney damage and cancer. Symptoms to watch out for include prolonged vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, dehydration, or stomach cramps. If you have any concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare professional for an evaluation. Reducing the risks of pollutants in your water Ensuring the safety of the water in your home is critical to the health and well-being of your family. Drinking water should be clean and free from contamination. There are two ways to deal with the risk of water contamination and are to regularly test the water and have a home filtration system. One system our professionals may recommend is a reverse osmosis filtration system. Also known as RO systems, these filters work by pushing water through a special membrane. Pollutants, larger than water molecules, are too large to pass through, resulting in water purification. Then the captured pollutants are removed through the sewage system. We may also recommend an advanced water conditioning system based on a certified on-site assessment of the water flowing through your entire home. This system softens the water, reduces mineral buildup, and creates a smooth texture in the water. It is impossible for a public water system to test and remove every potential contaminant in the water supply. These particles can enter your home water and pose potential health risks and problems. Contact Aqua Plumbing today for a free drinking water analysis for residents of Sarasota, Florida. We are fully licensed and stand behind our business with quality assurance. Image provided by iStock


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