Contaminants in Municipal Water: What You Should Know

Jan 13 2015


Municipal water is treated extensively before it is considered safe for drinking. Most city water quality varies from city to city, with some cities maintaining higher quality, better tasting water than others. Much of this has to do with regulatory oversight and water infrastructure. Many cities have severely outdated water mains and pipes that can increase contaminant. Some cities like Boston and Washington D.C have infrastructure that is well over a hundred years old.

Other cities simply have generally higher contaminated water, even after the treatment process. Questionable source water protection, poorly regulated treatment systems, and poorly maintained distribution systems all contribute to water contamination. Here are some common concerns about municipal water supplies on a nationwide level.

Contamination and Causes

While most cities around the U.S are not in violation of national standards, low contaminant levels are sometimes representative of lower standards, especially when considering the presence of so many contaminants in many water supplies. Lead, a variety of pathogens, chlorination process byproducts, and toxic chemicals like arsenic and radon are often found in small quantities in water supplies. Meeting the minimum standards for safe drinking water doesn’t always signify that the water is free of potentially harmful contaminants. This is one primary reason why water filtration and purification are so important.

Water Infrastructure Upgrades

Upgrading water treatment and distribution infrastructure can help address contamination in many places. Generally improving the treatment technologies for drinking water can eliminate a considerable amount of byproducts, synthetic organic chemicals, and most other contaminants. Higher quality membrane treatment and ozone or UV light disinfection treatment can improve large scale water treatment. Of course, on a business and household level, additional water purification technologies are beneficial to improving the taste and overall quality of your tap water.

Purify Your Own Water

A great way to improve the quality and taste of your water is to purify it at home. Installing a filter on your tap is a good way to achieve better water, but complete purification systems are more efficient and produce longer lasting pure water without having to constantly change a filter. Reverse osmosis systems are the best option for total home water purification. These systems use a semi-permeable membrane to filter out any contaminant larger than a water molecule and are an ideal method for getting healthier, cleaner water.