Water pollution is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing the world today. It occurs when chemicals or other pollutants contaminate water. This can happen from various sources, including factories, sewage treatment plants, and agricultural runoff.
The effects of water pollution are far-reaching and can be devastating to both the environment and human health. Contaminated water can lead to decreased wildlife populations and illnesses in humans who come into contact with it. In some cases, it can even cause death.
Water pollution is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently to protect our planet and its inhabitants.
Poison Toxic Water Facts, Healthy Waters
In New Orleans, a visitor noted many citizens were drinking bottled water. Many residents imported large jugs of bottled water into their homes. A simple inquiry soon revealed the issue — local waters were heavily contaminated with dozens of pollutants.
The delta region of Louisiana is heavily contaminated with wastes from the petrochemical industry, pesticides, herbicides, and associated industrial wastes. This giant chemical brew and mixture runs off the land, comes down from the air, and is carried into rivers, streams, and lakes.
Drinking water is heavily contaminated and, although filtered and chlorinated, it contains dozens of potential carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. This problem has been known for decades and is still not corrected.
Recently, post-storm flood damage of Hurricane Katrina released toxic pollutants into the water in Louisiana and Mississippi. This further exacerbates toxic water problems.
Water Quality and Needs in the United States
Clean and safe water is necessary for all living organisms. Water is the universal solvent for life. Life without immersion is impossible for water-based animals like phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, frogs, and salamanders.
For humans, being land-based creatures, the need for a constant regular supply of clean, pure, and healthy water has not changed. This water surrounds all body’s internal cells and serves as a superhighway of transport for large and small, dissolved and suspended chemical molecules.
Persons deprived of water die first from thirst, not starvation. Good and safe water is an issue for modern times and throughout the entire planet. In the U.S., there is an ever-increasing need for water as populations grow and spread.
The sources of water pollution and how they can contaminate water supplies.
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually due to human activities. Water bodies include rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwater. The main sources of water pollution are:
- Industrial effluent: This is wastewater from factories and other industrial premises. It can contain harmful chemicals and pollutants such as heavy metals, oil, and grease.
- Sewage: This is domestic wastewater from toilets, baths, kitchens, etc. It can contain disease-causing bacteria and viruses and nutrients that can lead to algal blooms (a type of water pollution).
Toxic, Polluted, and Unhealthy Water Facts and EPA Standards
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has set water drinking standards for municipal water for human drinking. These standards include limits on permissible amounts of lead, mercury, arsenic, copper, and other potential contaminants such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and MTBE (methyl-t-butyl-ether).
These are all dangerous, toxic chemicals and compounds that can lead to cell, tissue, and organ damage and, in some cases, cause cancers.
There are six EPA-monitored primary water standards in the U.S.
- Microbes: Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, coliforms
- Disinfectants: Used to purify water for use
- Disinfectant Byproducts: Toxic, dangerous substances produced due to water disinfection.
- Inorganic chemicals: Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, etc.
- Organic Chemicals: PCBs, MTBE
- Radionuclides: with zero tolerance for alpha and beta emitters
These toxic and dangerous substances come from multiple sources, including parking lots, city streets, industries, agricultural runoffs of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and municipal waste treatment center overflows into rivers.
The Mississippi River, which starts in the northern U.S., serves as a source of water intake and sewage treatment outflows for over 3900 miles. The other a city is downstream, the more that water is contaminated in amount and kind of contaminants.
By the time the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans, it is one of the most contaminated and polluted waters in the United States. Similar problems accrue to the East Coast of the Potomac River and The Chesapeake Bay.
Poison Toxic Water, Pollutants in Water
There is ample documentation that contaminating infectious agents, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and other industrial pollutants enter certain municipal U.S. water supplies. As many as 50 can be detected in New Orleans’ municipal water. In some municipalities, the water is pristine and pure (Rangeley, Maine, has Poland Springs Natural Water).
- Microbes: Diarrhea, dehydration, and occasional deaths.
- Heavy Metals (lead, arsenic, mercury): nerve and neurological damage (especially brain nerve tissues)
- Pesticides and Herbicides: Cancers and Organ Damage (particularly, liver, spleen, kidneys, and glands)
- PCBs and MTBE: Cancers of organs as above.
- Disinfectants and Disinfectant Byproducts: Organ toxicity, liver, kidney, glandular damage.
- Radionuclides: blood disorders, cancers, kidney, liver, nerve damage
Poison Toxic Water, Mutagens, and Carcinogens in Water
A mutagen is a chemical that can cause a change in DNA. A mutagen may cause harmful change that could cause cancer. A carcinogen is a known chemical that can cause cancers. Many mutagens are carcinogenic. The chemical list above includes several known carcinogens and mutagens.
Large human populations contaminate the environment, and municipal waters and sewage systems are stressed dramatically. In the U.S., there are many cities with quality water.
Other cities have polluted water. Housing, jobs, and transportation are important when considering where to live. But water quality is also important, and what one drinks will determine how healthy one lives.
The basic question is, can water be protected and bad water is reclaimed?
It must be done sooner or later and, soon, at the latest.
For water consumers, be careful and thoughtful.
“Think before you drink” and “Think about what you drink” are good mottos.
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.). Drinking Water Standards.
National Public Radio. Navigating America’s “Poisoned Waters.”