You have likely heard all about water pollution and the effects it has on the environment as well as the wildlife. One significant aspect of water pollution that we cannot ignore is the effect it has on us and the dangers of drinking dirty water.
What Causes Water Pollution?
Water gets polluted when harmful substances enter a body of water such as a stream, river, lake, ocean, or aquifer. Water is known as a universal solvent and can dissolve more substances than any other liquid on earth. While this is impressive quality, it is what causes the water to be so easily polluted. When toxic substances enter the water, the water dissolves them and mixes with them. These toxic water pollutants often come from farms, towns, and factories.
Categories of Water Pollution
There are several types of water sources that can face pollution and several different categories of water pollution.
Groundwater is created when water from rain or snow seep into the earth and fill the cracks and holes or an aquifer, which is basically an underground storehouse for water. Groundwater is underground, so it is not highly visible, but it is highly valuable. Nearly 40% of people in America rely on this source of water after it is pumped from the ground and made to be drinkable. This water source becomes polluted when pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, and waste from landfills and septic tanks find their way into the aquifers. When this happens, the water is unsafe for humans to use. It is bad news when this happens because it can be difficult or impossible to fix and comes at a high cost. The contaminated aquifers can be unusable for decades or thousands of years. It can also spread the contamination into other water sources.
Surface water covers close to 70% of the earth with bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, seas, and streams. Surface water from freshwater sources makes up over 60% of drinking water in America. Sadly, a significant amount of that water, almost half of our rivers and streams and more than one-third of our lakes, are unsafe and unsuitable for fishing, swimming, and drinking. Nitrates and phosphates are the top contaminants endangering these water sources. A large part of this contamination comes from farm waste and fertilizer runoff as well as extra junk that industries and people dump into these water sources.
A point source is a specific source of contamination that can be tracked and determined. When contamination originates from a single, identifiable source it is called point source pollution. While these sources are specific, they can affect miles of oceans and waterways. Some examples of point sources are discharged wastewater, septic systems, chemical and oil spills, and illegal dumping.
As you may assume, nonpoint sources are the opposite of point sources. This water pollution does not have any specific, identifiable sources. It is the leading cause of water pollution in America, but it is hard to regulate since it is difficult to identify. Some sources could be agricultural or stormwater runoff or debris blown into waterways.
This type of pollution happens when the water from one country begins to spill into the water source of another. If one country’s water source is contaminated, it can begin to transfer into the contaminated water source of another country.
How Water Pollution Affects Us
Water pollution is a huge issue for us because the polluted water is what we rely on for our daily needs. If the water is polluted, it creates a greater risk for us. It is a good idea to have a water test done in your home to be sure that the water in your home is safe. Water pollution is a growing issue, and i is not one that should compromise your safety. A water test will be able to tell you what is in your water and help you determine the next steps to make sure the water in your home is clean and healthy.