The Importance of Water Quality for Our Everyday Life
Why is water quality important? Water is, without exaggeration, the element of life. We need it just as much as we need air, sunlight, and food.
But what about water quality? Researchers believe that millions of Americans drink unsafe tap water. And it’s not a problem relating to poor districts alone. Water pollution of rivers, lakes, and estuaries goes up to 45%, and that’s only from the total of assessed water.
The findings may be disturbing, but they are a telltale sign of the importance of water quality monitoring. In any case, water quality plays a major role in our everyday life. Even if we don’t realize it, many of us are lucky to be living in developed nations.
Why is water quality important?
First off, water quality is important for hydration. Drinking dirty water can lead to several health complications and even death.
Secondly, water is the main ingredient for cooking. Think of anything cooking related, and you will see how many uses water has. We use water to boil, rinse, and soak our ingredients. Do you have a loaf of dried bread? Great! Use water to bring back its soft texture.
Furthermore, could you even imagine making soup, pasta, or rice without water? We can’t either. Even more, you couldn’t raise livestock, or even take a good shower is water quality is subpar. Cleaning also becomes significantly harder when using dirty water instead of pure, soft water.
So, after seeing how vital water is even for the most basic of tasks, what can we do to ensure that the water in our home is of the highest possible quality, considering that many municipalities show lackluster water treatment results. Here are a few steps to take to guarantee that you’re getting the best water.
The importance of filtration
Many pollutants can be found in drinking water as well as the water we use to cook food, wash clothes, etc.
Speaking solely of the US, the most common water pollutants are bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Close in second place; we have hard metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic substances.
Municipal water plants use their own filtration methods before sending out the water to the residents. However, they are dealing with thousands of gallons, and no filtration method is 100% effective. As such, getting a water filter for your home is essential for protecting yourself.
Another type of “pollution” that doesn’t affect people or pets, but affects appliances, is water hardness. Calcium and magnesium crystals cause the formation of limescale. This in turn causes your appliances to work under more stress and subsequently kills them off before their expected lifespan.
Furthermore, hard water was found to be the main culprit in children developing eczema. As for hair, it makes it feel frizzier and creates soap scum, on top of making the lather harder to wash away. In time, hard water can lead to hair loss and a couple of other hair-related problems that are sure to inconvenience a lot of individuals.
How can you test water quality?
Testing for hard water is simple. All you need to do is get a TDS meter and measure the amount of total dissolved solids in your water.
The best test for most people will be the wet-strip, similar to a test for spa and swimming pool water. Just fill a cup of water from the tap or shower, put the strip inside, and then wait for the results.
The kit should come with a color chart that shows water hardness levels. Your wet-strip should turn to a certain color after the test, allowing you to determine if you need some form of protection against hard water.
Testing for other pollutants
Other pollutants you should test for are VOCs, PFOA and PFOS, lead, arsenic, chlorine and chloramine, fluoride, nitrates, and nitrites.
Get a professional water testing kit that can detect up to 200 different contaminants. From there, you will be able to determine the type of filter that’s best suited for your home.
Testing well water quality
Counterintuitive or not, wells are just as dangerous as water received from the local municipality. Because the water in the well sits still, it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
The humidity also encourages the grow of mold, rust, and even algae to a certain extent. Plus, if you live on a farm, pesticides and herbicides have probably found their way into the well, carried by the wind.
The CDC recommends testing for several pollutants, including fecal coliforms, total coliforms, nitrates, and VOCs, as well as other pathogens. If you get your well water for drinking or showering, search for the nearest approved water testing facility. Contact them and wait for instructions on what to send them and what to test for.
What if the main problem is hard water?
Hard water can damage essential appliances and make washing things more difficult than it should be.
Even 1/50th of an inch can lead to almost 10% in heat transfer efficiency losses. What does this mean? It means that you can lose hundreds of dollars per year on heating alone.
When you calculate how much scale buildup reduces efficiency in washing machines, dishwashers, and showerheads, you’ll realize that you’re spending a lot on subpar quality.
As such, you will need a method to soften water so that you won’t have to deal with additional spending and repairing or replacing appliances earlier than expected. Most people purchase water softeners for this exact reason, but they might be unaware of the downfalls.
We recommend going for a salt-free water softener alternative instead. The sodium that the regular water softener adds into the mix can have damaging effects on your health. Elevated blood pressure is just one of the problems it can cause, not to mention sodium can kill plants and pets.
Diseases caused by poor water quality
Hard water doesn’t have as many negative effects on health as we’d previously thought. However, other water impurities can cause severe symptoms that can even send you to the emergency room.
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from some sort of water-related disease each year. Let’s see what some of them are and how you can treat or avoid them altogether. Knowing is half the battle, so if you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend going to the doctor for further analysis.
This microscopic parasite causes what doctors describe as giardiasis. The main culprit in Giardia infections in water is feces, but the parasite can also be found on soil, food, and other surfaces.
Symptoms include and are not limited to:
- Upset stomach
- Nausea and vomiting
- Greasy stools
The best and only way to know for sure it’s giardia is to collect multiple stool samples and send them to a testing lab. Once the doctors analyze your feces, they will determine if you have the parasite and give you the necessary treatment.
The best way to avoid giardia is to install a UV filter or a filtration method that can screen out viruses, parasites, and other pathogens. Also, you should wash your hands before every meal.
Yes, waterborne pathogens can also cause respiratory problems. Legionella is the bacteria responsible for causing severe pneumonia cases and Pontiac Fever.
With a fatality rate of 10%, the disease can become quite serious, with tens of thousands of people affected annually. Even small air droplets from infested water are enough to cause the pneumonia related to Legionnaires’ disease.
If left untreated, the disease can lead to lung failure and death. To diagnose the presence of legionella, doctors can use a urine and sputum test. If the case is confirmed, the patient gets treated with antibiotics and even receive hospital treatment when the symptoms become too harsh to handle.
This bacterium is usually found in the intestines of people and animals, but also on foods and throughout the environment.
An E. coli infection spreads through water the moment that feces interacts with it. Symptoms of E. coli infections include diarrhea, vomiting, and severe stomach cramps. In outstanding cases, diarrhea can also become bloody.
To prevent E. coli from infesting your water, you will need a reliable UV filter that kills bacteria in their tracks. However, you can also infect yourself if you swallow pool water, don’t practice proper handwashing, or if the food you’re eating hasn’t been properly cooked or washed.
Final thoughts on why water quality is important
Water quality is just as important as water itself. Without good water, we wouldn’t be able to clean ourselves, hydrate, or even cook.
Fortunately, we have the means to improve water quality in any way imaginable. Be it getting rid of pathogens, chemicals, hardness, or bad taste and odor, we can achieve this much through filters, chemicals, and even specialized devices.
In conclusion, stay safe, test your water regularly, and take the appropriate measure for each of your needs. Investing a little right now and protecting your family is far better than waiting for disaster and then acting up on it.