How can I test my well water?
High nitrate levels found in well water has been proven to be the cause for numerous health conditions across the globe.
If we intend to provide for the future survival of man, and life on planet earth, we must take action now to assure the quality of one of our most precious resources, our underground water supply. Ground water can be defined as the water stored in the open spaces within underground rocks and unconsolidated material Monroe and Wicander Ground water is one of the numerous parts that make up the hydrologic cycle.
The primary source of water in underground aquifers is precipitation that infiltrates the ground and moves through the soil and pore spaces of rocks Monroe and Wicander There are also other sources that add water to the underground aquifer that include: As groundwater moves through the soil, sediment, and rocks, many of its impurities are filtered out.
Take note, however, that some, not all, soils and rocks are good filters. Some are better than others and in some cases, serious pollutants are not removed from the water before it reaches the underground supply. Now that we have a good working definition of what groundwater is, and where it comes from, just how important is it?
Some states are more dependent on groundwater for drinking than others. People on the average in the United States require more than 50 gallons of water each day for personal and household uses.
These include drinking, washing, preparing meals and removing waste. A bath in a bathtub uses approximately 25 gallons of water and a shower uses about l5 gallons per minute of water flow while the shower runs. Just to sustain human tissue requires about 2.
Most people drink about a quart of water per day, getting the rest of the water they need from food content. Most of the foods we eat are comprised mostly of water: Most of the beverages we drink are also mostly comprised of water, like milk, coffee, tea and soft drinks.
And the single largest consumer of water in the United States, is agriculture. In dry areas, farmers must irrigate their lands to grow crops.
It is estimated that in the United States, more than billion gallons of fresh water are used each day for the irrigation of croplands Funk and Wagnall 2. Since agriculture is the leading user of our groundwater, perhaps it is fitting, that it is also the biggest contributor of contaminating nitrates that work into our water supply each year.
Just how do these nitrates get from the field into our water supply? There are two primary reasons that nitrate contaminates reach our underground water supply and make it unsafe.
Twenty percent of this nitrogen was not used by the crops it was intended. This accounts for about billion pounds of excess nitrogen remaining in the environment where much of it has eventually entered the reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater that supply us with our drinking water NAS The number two reason these contaminants reach our groundwater supply runs parallel with the first.
Over-irrigation causes the leaching of these nitrates past the plants root zone where they can be taken in by crops and used effectively. Not all soils are the same and all have different drainage characteristics.
Soils with as higher amount of sand and gravel are going to filter liquids down to the aquifer faster than soils comprised of more silty finer sorted particles. When the two problems are added together, over-fertilization, and over-irrigation, the potential for harmful nitrate contamination runs terrifyingly high.
Just how harmful are nitrates in our drinking water? Nitrates levels that exceed the Federal standard level of 10 parts per million can cause a condition known as Methemoglobinemia, or Blue Baby Syndrome in infants.
Symptoms of Methemoglobinemia include anoxic appearance, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and in more extreme cases, loss of consciousness and even death. When nitrate is ingested it is converted into another chemical form, nitrate.
Nitrate then reacts with hemoglobin, the proteins responsible for transporting oxygen in the body, converting them to methemoglobin, a form that is incapable of carrying oxygen.
As a result, the victim suffers from oxygen deprivation, or more commonly stated, the individual slowly suffocates HASJohnson et al. Although, Methemoglobinemia is the most immediate life-threatening effect of nitrate exposure, there are a number of equally serious longer-term, chronic impacts.
In numerous studies, exposure to high levels of nitrate in drinking water has been linked to a variety of effects ranging from hypertrophy enlargement of the thyroid to 15 types of cancer, two kinds of birth defects, and even hypertension Mirvish Since there have been at least 8 different epidemeology studies conducted in 11 different countries that show a definite relationship between increasing rates of stomach cancer and increasing nitrate intake Hartmann, ; Mirvish The facts speak for themselves, increasing levels of nitrates in our groundwater are slowly poisoning our society.
We have only discussed contamination of our groundwater supply by nitrates through the misuse of resources involved in agriculture.SBX2 1 requires the State Water Board to develop the nitrate contamination pilot projects in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley to “improve understanding of the causes of groundwater contamination, identify potential remediation solutions and funding sources to recover costs.
An Analysis of the Nitrates Contamination in Worlds Water Supply PAGES 2. WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: nitrates contamination, water supply, health conditions. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.
Exactly what I needed. - Jenna Kraig, student @ UCLA. Water pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change in the quality of water that has a harmful effect on any living thing that drinks or uses or lives (in) it.
Nitrate in groundwater is a feature found in many regions and a significant part of the world population uses water with nitrate levels in excess of the World Health . contaminate ground water with bacteria, viruses, nitrates, detergents, oils, and chemicals.
thetic organic chemicals (such as 1,1,1-trichloroethane or methylene chloride). These cleaners can contaminate water supply wells and interfere with natural decomposition processes in septic systems.
ing the possibility of ground water contamination. If any amount of E. coli bacteria is found in a water sample, it can be concluded that human sewage or animal faeces have contaminated the water supply.
Nitrates – The presence of nitrates in well water is usually the result of farming activities like fertilizing, or seepage from septic systems.