Do you know you can poison yourself unintentionally? Shocking, but true. The water you drink daily, if that is not potable you could be hospitalized. Water, which is one of the most important elements of our body and health can be dangerous if it is contaminated.
We use water daily for various purposes. Apart from drinking it is an important part of cooking, bathing, and other household activities. The usage of impure water for any of these purposes would show worse effects on our health and environment.
Impure water can lead to various health issues like gastrointestinal diseases, neurological diseases, and even reproductive system disorders. Since water undergoes a lot of processes before it comes through our tap, there are high chances of it being contaminated.
Various dangerous microbes like E.Coli and chemical residues like lead, sulfur, chlorine, iron are some of the common contaminants in water. Toxic algae, dirt, and dust are also dangerous for consumption. This is why water testing is vital.
What are the effects of contaminated water?
Consuming contaminated water is as bad as consuming poison. Impure water leads to adverse health issues. It causes various diseases like cholera, typhoid, giardiasis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E and many other infections. Some waterborne diseases might have mild effects, but some might lead to serious defects and even death.
Not just on human beings, contaminated water also has an adverse impact on the environment. Water pollution stimulates algal bloom in water bodies like lakes, rivers, etc. These algae reduce the oxygen content in the water. Thus, affecting both aquatic plants and animals.
If the low levels of oxygen in the water persist, it leads to the death of aquatic animals including the giant blue whales. It affects not just aquatic life, the plants, and animals on land are also affected. If the contaminated water is consumed by other animals like dogs, cows, etc they might also have health complications.
There are also high possibilities that these animals may die. If impure water is poured into plants, it leads to withering of the leaves, weak stems or branches, and also death. The contamination of water is a serious threat to the whole ecosystem.
Signs of water contamination
Water is generally odorless, tasteless and colourless. Contaminated water can be sometimes identified by the naked eye. Here are a few signs of contaminated water:
- Unlike regular water, if it is present in yellow, brown, or orange colour, it is a clear sign of water contamination. This can be due to the presence of excess levels of manganese, copper, iron or lead.
- Water that is a blue or green color also indicates the presence of chemicals like copper. Though copper in small amounts is beneficial to your health, excessive amounts of copper can lead to anemia, kidney, and liver disorders.
- Water smelling like bleach can be due to the presence of chlorine. This chemical is generally added to kill the germs and microbes present in the water. Excess use of chlorine leads to the formation of various harmful byproducts which might cause diseases like cancer.
- If the water smells like fish, it could be due to barium or cadmium. Excess amounts of barium can lead to heart, kidney, and liver disorders.
- If water is not transparent and has a cloudy appeal, it might be due to the presence of chemicals or microbes.
- Water which is generally odorless sometimes smells like rotten eggs. This is due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide.
These are some of the changes that indicate contamination. There are many other contaminants in water that do not show any physical changes and cannot be identified with the naked eye. For deep analysis, it is better to opt for water testing.
What is water testing?
Water testing is a procedure to analyze the water quality. There are nine water tests done to check its quality. Commonly conducted tests are namely temperature tests, pH tests, chlorine test, salinity test, dissolved oxygen test, turbidity test, pesticides test, nitrate, and phosphate test.
Water tests are carried out regularly to ensure that water is suitable for the purpose it will be used for. It is necessary to conduct frequent water tests to maintain portable levels when used for consumption purposes.
It also helps in eliminating high levels of chemicals or other microbes, thus preventing waterborne diseases to some extent. If water testing is not done, it would lead to huge loss in biological and economical ways.
All of our lives would end at the very moment water becomes unsafe. Pure water is necessary to maintain balance in the ecosystem. Since clean water is a basic essential for everybody, it is recommended to check the quality of water before you use it for portable and other purposes.