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Air& Water Sciences


DRINKING WATER

Pure water does not exist in nature. Water is the universal solvent and always contains traces of the substances that have been in contact with it. This may include minerals like calcium and silica from rocks, gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the air. Pure water would be made up of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O) without additional trace elements. Most naturally occurring substances in water are not a health concern and often can be beneficial. With processes like reverse osmosis, distillation and de-ionization water can be rendered almost pure, however many people find it tasteless.

Ground Water

Per the USGS ground water accounts for drinking water for more than 1/2 of the USA's population, while the sole source for many rural communities as well as some larger cities. With the industrial revolution, the production of man-made chemicals are releasing into our environment and into our water, including nitrate. Only deep aquifers that are protected by impermeable layers remain free of man-made contaminants and are a safe source of drinking water. Nitrate comes from nitrogen and is found in inorganic fertilizer and animal manure. It can leach through ground soil and contaminate the ground water. In addition, airborne nitrogen compounds from industry and automobiles are deposited on the land. Whereas nitrate is not a risk to adults, it can cause low oxygen levels in the blood of infants - a potentially fatal condition.

Tap Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for tap water provided by public water systems. Water that meets their standards is safe for most people to drink. However, some people with compromised immune systems may have special needs. Although these standards are in place, there have been cases of drinking water contaminations all over the country. Contaminants leaching through ground soil, or entering drinking water facilities through storm water runoff may effect the quality of your tap water. The U.S Geological Survey (USGS) has discovered an increase in nitrate in ground water - which may be a concern depending on your local tap water source.

Bottled Water

girl drinking water

Bottled water in most cases is safe, but it is a good idea to ask your bottled water provider for their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drinking water standard compliance data. Per the EPA, bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water. The EPA sets the standards for tap water, while the FDA sets bottle water standards based on the EPA standards. Bottled water is important in emergency situations, and it may be the better choice for those with health issues. However, the impact of the use of plastic bottles needs to be weighed. Only a small percentage of plastic bottles are recycled -- most end up in landfills.

See Below Links for more

USGS - Water Quality Information
EPA - Health and Water


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