All You Need to Know About Impurities in Tap Water

Every day, we use water for everything from drinking to cooking to bathing. But have you ever thought about what may be mixed in with the water flowing from your tap? While water appears clear, it can actually contain small particles and chemicals that are invisible to our eyes.

In this blog post, we will cover sources of impurities in tap water, different types of impurities, and the health impacts of impurities in tap water.

Sources of Impurities in Tap Water

Let’s learn where impurities can come from before they end up in our tap water.

Natural Sources

Nature provides some impurities like minerals dissolving from rocks and dirt washing into streams from rainy storms. Decaying plants also release particles in nature’s way. While natural, too much isn’t good for drinking water.

Man-made Sources

Besides nature, people can also introduce impurities. Things like pollution from factories end up in the water if not cleaned properly. Fertilizers and trash washing off city streets flow into rivers. Leaky sewer pipes may release germs that don’t belong in drinking water. 

Old water pipes release metals like lead and copper too. Our actions can put impurities in tap water, but treatment removes most.

Aging Infrastructure

As water systems get old, they can start leaking more impurities. Pipes made from lead or copper that have been underground for decades may release more of those chemicals over time as they wear down. 

Old pipes may also collect more gunk-like rust and dirt inside, which gets stirred into water. Updating old water lines and treatment plants helps keep impurities from aging equipment out of the water we use every day.

Common Types of Impurities in Tap Water

Tap water can contain different types of particles and organisms that should not be there. These are called impurities. Let’s learn about the main kinds of impurities found in tap water.

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Total Suspended Solids, also known as TSS, are little pieces of material like dirt, sand, clay, and rust that stay floating in the tap water and make it look cloudy or muddy. TSS gets in our water from things eroding, like rocks and soil wearing away, or from work sites where dirt can wash into streams. 

It’s not good for us to drink lots of TSS because it can upset our tummies. Water filters do a pretty good job of catching TSS, so it doesn’t come out of our faucets.

Biological Impurities

Some of the most common impurities in tap water are tiny living things called biological impurities. This includes small plants called algae and other microorganisms that are too small to see without a powerful microscope. You may also find bacteria, viruses, or parasites in tap water. 

These germs can make people sick if swallowed. Things like sewage or animal waste provide food and shelter for them to grow. While filters catch algae and other large critters, disinfecting is needed to kill any remaining germs that filtration misses. 

Regular testing checks for biological impurities to help keep water safe. Boiling water before drinking ensures no unseen germs can make someone feel yucky.

Colloidal Impurities

Another type of impurity found in tap water is called a colloid. Colloids are tiny bits of material mixed in tap water that don’t dissolve. Things like bits of food, leaves, or animal waste that are too small to see clearly but bigger than dissolved molecules fall into this group. 

Colloids make the water look dirty or cloudy. They can come from soil and eroded rocks carried by streams and lakes or stir up during heavy rains from farms and cities into rivers. 

Colloids alone won’t hurt you if swallowed, but too many make the water appear unappealing. And some colloids like bacteria could cause an upset tummy if the number is large. Filters do a great job removing these cloudy colloids.

Chemical Impurities

Chemicals are another type of impurity found in water. Chemicals can come from both natural and man-made sources. Rain and floods can dissolve metals and minerals from rocks and soil. Decaying plants also release chemicals. 

However, human activities like factories, farms, and trash use more chemicals. Chemicals get into tap water mostly through city water pipes, sometimes containing lead or copper. 

While some chemicals are okay in small amounts, others can hurt us if they are too high. The right treatment removes dangerous chemicals below safe levels. Regular testing helps ensure no bad chemicals remain that could make someone feel poorly.

Health Impacts of Impurities in Tap Water

If water isn’t clean and pure, impurities could make people sick. Let’s learn more about how they affect our health.

Short-term Effects

Impurities in tap water may cause some short-term health issues like an upset tummy if consumed. Things like germs, chemicals, and particles that aren’t good for us can make our tummies feel icky and cause diarrhea or cramps if we drink dirty water. 

Some impurities might also give us a sore throat or make our skin feel weird. While usually not serious with treatment, these short-term sicknesses are no fun. 

Keeping tap water clean helps us feel better fast without any short-term health scares from impurities. It’s always best to drink water that’s been filtered and treated properly.

Long-term Effects

Drinking water with impurities over a long time could potentially cause some longer-term health issues too. Things like chemicals in high amounts may act funny in our bodies if we drink them every day. They might make it harder for organs to work right. 

Also, germs that won’t go away could stay inside and bother us more. While filtration and treatment keep impurities low to avoid these worries, it’s always better to keep our drinking water as pure as possible.

How to Remove Impurities From Tap Water

Below we have discussed some ways or you can also call them methods for removing hazardous impurities from regular water. 

  • Make use of Reverse osmosis filtration system. It forces water through special membranes with tiny holes. Filtration traps particles to remove things like dirt, rust, and parasites. However, filters need changing.
  • Consider boiling the water, it will also kill bacteria, viruses, etc. However, boiling will not remove major contaminants. 
  • Activated carbon absorbs chemicals like lead and removes tastes and smells.
  • Proper maintenance and testing help treatment plants remove almost all impurities to keep our tap water clean and safe to drink every day.

Final Words:

Ensuring clean drinking water is important for our health and well-being. By understanding the impurities in water and how treatment works, we can feel more confident that our tap water is safe. With proper filtration and testing, almost all impurities can be removed from the water that comes from our faucets every day.

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