Drinking Water Contamination in North America

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Water is commonly used for drinking to quench thirst, cleaning and also protect the earth from turning into a desert. Most of the water in the US is not safe for drinking due to contamination.

What causes drinking water to be contaminated?

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Two-thirds of American bays and estuaries are contaminated with phosphorous and nitrogen. These substances cause severe degradation of freshwater sources. Most nitrogenous contaminants come from agricultural chemicals and fossils.

High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus cause increased algae growth, which affects water life, food resources, and habitat for aquatic life. (EPA). Algae may also result to harmful toxin and bacteria growth.

Natural contamination also occurs when chemicals like arsenic, radon, and uranium come into contact with groundwater. The purification process needed to remove these compounds is very sophisticated.

Farmers are great contributors to water pollution. The use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals for their crops and animals seep into the soil. Rainwater washes these chemicals off, and this contaminates groundwater.

Fracking is a process used in discovering natural gas and fuel. The process uses sand and chemicals which are left on the site. When it rains, the chemicals are dissolved in runoff waters, which contaminates groundwater sources.

At least 40 % of drinking water in the US has 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen chemicals. Manufacturing processes and sewer overflows are responsible for this contamination.

Various microorganisms are found in water sources, and they affect humans, plants, and animals. Ten microorganisms include giardia, shigella, campylobacter, copper, salmonella, hepatitis A, norovirus, legionella, cryptosporidium and E. coli.

High levels of fluoride also lead to water contamination.

Flint’s water crisis reveals America’s water pollution crisis

flint water crisis

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Various water testing agencies in the US have found at least 70 different pesticides in drinking water. Filters can be used in removing most pesticides. Since 2014, Toledo, Ohio, and Flint Michigan have been having severe water pollution problems.

Flint, Michigan, has close to 100,000 residents. From 2014, water problems started by hang colored water flowing from their sinks and showers. Flint’s water contamination begun when they stopped using Detroit’s water system to save money. Flint’s water supply infrastructure was severely eroded, causing Lead to seep through the water.

Many who had consumed the contaminated water had to be examined for different illnesses and changes in their physical conditions. While the process of fixing the system is ongoing, many people have been affected. Upon completion, the city will have a clean water supply.

In most US cities, water pollution is a major problem. Authorities including the White House and other 150 organizations have set aside $5 billion to improve water quality and access in the country. Improving water quality will involve farmers, local manufacturers, and the waste industry.


Improving water quality will improve people’s health and stabilize communities. For improved water quality in homes, whole house and reverse osmosis filters are ideal choices.