What are some common water quality issues in the areas McGowan Water Conditioning Serves?

We all rely on drinking clean, fresh water to survive. But that’s not always easy when pollution reaches waterways and the groundwater that flows through them. 

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A slew of pollutants can affect water quality, including oil, chemicals, pesticides, and runoff from farms and urban areas. To help manage these pollution threats, regulators have set and enforced standards for water that meets health and environmental standards. 

In Washington, for example, the state’s Porter-Cologne Act and federal Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts have been in effect since the 1960s to control the release of pollution into rivers and streams. These standards include limits on toxic substances, such as arsenic, lead, and mercury, as well as limits on bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Other sources of water contamination are agricultural practices and sewage disposal. Some towns and cities have been forced to install treatment plants that process contaminated stormwater before it can flow into local waters. 

Some rural and unincorporated communities have to deal with chronic water quality problems that can make it difficult to connect to public water supplies. In Sussex County, for instance, thousands of people live in rural areas that are not served by a municipality and report their well water is unsafe or undrinkable. 

Many residents have private wells, but they can become contaminated with sediment or other issues that could hurt their health or property values. Having a water test can help you decide whether your well might be contaminated and if so, how to address it. 

High nitrate levels are another issue that can harm the health of people living near a well. Nitrates are caused by leaking septic systems, agricultural fertilizers, and poor aeration of fields. They can also build up in shallow wells less than 50 feet from the surface and cause gastrointestinal disorders. 

The problem has been exacerbated by the drought. River flows are low and reservoir releases are minimal, resulting in higher temperatures and lower oxygen levels that can harm fish and cause harmful algal blooms. 

To prevent and manage water quality, regulators partner with landowners to identify pollution problems and offer solutions that improve water quality. They also work with dischargers to help them meet current and future regulations. 

Several types of pollutants can affect water quality, including salt and metals. Salinity is particularly problematic in coastal areas where saltwater from the ocean can intrude into groundwater basins. It can also raise city water-treatment costs and reduce farm productivity. 

Other contaminants can cause health concerns, such as iron and copper. They can be hard to see or taste, and they can also cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and lungs. 

The good news is that there are many ways to solve these issues. One of the most effective is to install a water softener or filtration system. These water conditioning systems remove sediment and minerals from the water to help reduce the amount of contaminants that can be absorbed into your body through the intestines, mouth, and skin. These systems are often combined with a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane to remove harmful chemicals and metals.