Water pollution occurs when harmful substances - often chemicals or microorganisms - contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.
Water is very vulnerable to pollution. Known as a « universal solvent » water is able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid on earth. It’s also why water is so easily polluted. Toxic substances from farms, towns, and factories readily dissolve into and mix with it, causing water pollution.
Data collected and refined
Water pollution kills. Every year, unsafe water sickens about 1 billion people. And low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries.
Diseases spread by unsafe water include cholera, giardia, and typhoid. Even in wealthy nations, accidental or illegal releases from sewage treatment facilities, as well as runoff from farms and urban areas, contribute harmful pathogens to waterways. Thousands of people across the United States are sick every year because of water pollution.
The United States is facing a crisis when it comes to drinking water, tens of millions of Americans could be exposed to unsafe drinking water in any given year, consuming a wide spectrum of contaminants, including fecal coliform, lead and arsenic.
One major problem is that state enforcement agencies lack a systematic procedure to select systems for additional inspection and monitoring of drinking water.
America’s crumbling water infrastructure is failing its citizens, and is in desperate need of repair. Part of the problem is the sheer age of many water and sewer pipes. By 2020 the average American pipeline will be 45 years old, and some will have been in the ground for as many 150 years. Corroding pipes, lead contamination, and other issues have led to widespread panic about the safety of drinking water in the U.S.
In 2015, regarding out of more than 200,000 drinking water contaminations, 50% of them exceeded the health regulatory limit.
However, only 6% of these contaminations exceeded the legal limit.
And more chemicals analyzed
Lead isn’t the only contaminate to be concerned about when it comes to clean drinking water.
More of 70% of US cities contain nitrate and trihalomethane, 70% are contaminated with barium and 50% of them contain copper of chloroform.
The nitrate, the trihalomethane, the barium, the copper and the chloroform are the five most present substances in drinking water contamination.
Three of them have high health risks : damages to the liver and kidneys, respiratory and cardiac disorders.
The ten cities the most involved in drinking water contamination in 2015 are represented below :
The majority of the nation's water supply is in good shape but many areas are continually prone to poor water quality. It was particularly poor in Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho, where water systems had repeat violations. Violations were more frequent in rural areas than in urban areas, and low-income, rural areas were hit hardest.