As the most abundant resource in the world, water plays a pretty important role in our everyday lives. Seventy percent of the Earth is covered by water. Despite this, 780 million people lack access to an improved water source—about one in nine people.
In spite of water’s importance and abundance, the world’s water supply is constantly plagued by various forms of pollution. Lack of adequate sanitation contaminates water courses worldwide and is one of the most significant forms of water pollution. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people live without improved sanitation. More than 70 percent of these people who lack sanitation, about 1.8 billion people, live in Asia.
Many types of pollution affect the world’s water supply and some of these forms of pollution include:
- Chemical water pollution: Every day, two million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water supply. Farmers and industries use chemicals that end up in water including pesticides and runoff from metals and solvents. Chemicals are poisonous to animals and aquatic life.
- Suspended matter: Some pollutants don’t always dissolve in water easily and settle under water bodies. This is known as particulate matter.
- Nutrient pollution: Wastewater, sewage and other pollutants have high nutrient levels and encourage the growth of weeds and algae. The buildup of weeds and algae clogs filters and makes water undrinkable.
- Ground water pollution: Using pesticides and chemicals for things like gardening causes these pollutants to wash deep into the ground by rainwater. Ultimately, this may cause pollution in underground water sources and in wells.
Due to the high levels of contaminants and pollutants, it’s important to test water quality, even in your own home. Unsafe of inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene cause approximately 3.1 percent of all deaths worldwide and 3.7 of disability adjust life years (DALYs) worldwide.
There are many water quality analysis methods, but if you’re testing water at home, there are a few options:
- Let a Professional Do It: When it comes to water testing, there are many contaminants that can be tested for. Professional water authorities have many water quality analysis methods to nail down exactly what kind of contaminants are in your water supply and how much.
- Do it yourself: You can test your home water supply yourself with water testing kits like this one.
If you’re looking at water quality kits such as well water test kits or a fresh water test kit, it’s important to do your homework. Some kits vary in accuracy and don’t always test of all contaminants. A high level of a certain contaminant may register on a kit, but there may be others that aren’t detected.
This video can show you how to use a water test kit.
A reputable lab can take your water through various water quality analysis methods to see exactly what you might be drinking or showering with. Some of the more common contaminants are lead, iron and sulfur.
If your water is need of testing, all states have a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) web site, which can point you in the right direction.
Get more here.