Drinking water

Four types of contaminants that can be found in drinking water

No one wants to drink water that is contaminated. And yet, keeping drinking water clear of contamination can be difficult. In most cases, the presence of tiny amounts of foreign substances do not pose a health risk, but you should still pay attention to the content of your local drinking water.  

Providing safe drinking water for all is a challenging task. Many different compounds and substances, both natural and man-made, find their way into the water supply, and it can be difficult to remove all traces of contaminants from your water. In this article we dive into four different types of contaminants that can be found in drinking water.

The presence of contaminants is not necessarily a problem in itself. Many of the substances found in drinking water are harmless at low levels and some, like certain minerals, may even be beneficial. But in some cases, contaminated water can cause health problems or lead to waterborne diseases, if the level of harmful substances is too high.

Defining contaminants

The United States’ Safe Drinking Water Act defines the term "contaminant" as meaning any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water. In other words, a contaminant is anything in the water that is not a water molecule.

  • Physical contaminants primarily impact the physical appearance or other physical properties of water. Examples of physical contaminants are soil or organic material like algae.
  • Chemical substances include anything from pesticides, nitrogen, bleach, salts, metals, toxins, and other various elements or compounds. Some chemicals are naturally occurring, while others are man-made in origin.
  • Biological contamination of water is caused by the presence of living organisms, such as parasites, bacteria, protozoan or viruses. They are also referred to as microbes or microbiological contaminants.
  • Radiological contaminants are chemical elements which emit radiation of some kind. Examples of radiological contaminants include cesium, plutonium and uranium.

Should you be worried?

As mentioned above, drinking water can be affected by many different factors. Most contamination can be reduced with water filtration. And if a substance is considered to pose a health risk, it is usually regulated by the authorities, who impose limits on how much of the contaminant may be found in the water for it to be considered safe to drink. Your local water authority can provide you with further information about water regulation in your area.

Taking matters into your own hands

By installing a water purification system at home, you can be sure that you always have access to clean drinking water directly from the tap. A home water purification system can reduce a wide range of impurities such as pesticides, bacteria, viruses, odors, chlorine and heavy metals from the drinking water.

Since the different types of contaminants have different properties, multiple filtration methods, such as carbon filtration, mechanical filtration and reverse osmosis, are usually needed to remove all of them from the water. So, to be on the safe side, you should go for a multi-step water purification system.

Aquaporin supplies point-of-use systems which can be installed at a specific point in the home or at the office such as the kitchen and bathroom and purifies the water coming of the tap.

Learn more about our home water purification system - A2O Pure.

Published on June 2020 in