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Water contamination happens more frequently than we would like. In this lesson, learn about various causes, signs and types of water contamination that can occur.

Contaminated Water

Have you heard the simplified adage that you should drink eight glasses of water a day? This is a goal you hit on most days, but today is a little different. Your area was recently hit with very violent weather and you’re concerned that you may have contaminated water.

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Water whose color is altered due to contamination
contaminated tap water

This is water that is physically changed or has the presence of certain chemicals or microbes.

Causes

Flooding and other results of storms can cause chemicals and microbes from the ground to make their way into the water. Roads are sometimes damaged and washed away during flooding, which can damage water mains and pipes allowing contaminants to make their way into the water.Another cause of water contamination is run-off from everyone’s yard or nearby farms.

You love the fact that the people in your neighborhood work hard to keep their lawns beautiful, but the fertilizers and pesticides that they spray on them could contaminate the water. When the lawn is then watered, the contaminants can seep into the ground, affecting the water supply (particularly in well water areas).While you are checking the mail, you mention your concerns about the drinking water to one of your neighbors.

She has the same concerns due to some nearby construction. She explains that construction crews could hit a water main, which would allow microbes (tiny organisms such as bacteria) and other contaminants from the soil to make their way into the water.

Water main breaks can allow contaminants into the water supply
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