#Thirstday -2- Impurities in Water
Renowned water evangelist, A S Jose. shares his insights on Water - dubbed by some as the new oil. This weekly series aims to break down the basics for ethusiasts and make the awareness accessible.
“Rohini Nilekani said, " Water is ultimately a finite resource. With all finite resources, there is a continuous need for sustainable and equitable management, by capping demand, improving efficiencies in supply and developing substitutes. This exercise is complicated by the sociocultural beliefs, values and affinities around this precious resource."
Water is finite - so our endeavours to understand , treat, conserve and use water require more attention than ever before..
Impurities in Water
Water devoid of impurities is hard to exist or find.
Whether your water is coming in from a
treatment plant (municipal or private supply) or the well in your backyard, it carries suspended matter, dissolved gases organic matter, minerals, various toxic contaminants and microorganisms
Adequate supply of safe drinking water to the public is mandated on agencies engaged in Public Water Distribution. However, presence of some suspended and dissolved impurities and unacceptable taste or smell, don’t necessarily have negative health impacts. Even if water appears crystal clear, without any smell and tasting good do not mean that it is safe to drink. Several communicable diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, Paratyphoid, Gastro enerites, Hepatites A (Jaundice ), Amoebiosis, Shigellosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Giardiasis, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Adenovirus and E-Coli infections spread through water whose bacteriological qualty requires laboratory tests.
E.Coli is an important indicator of microbial water contamination. Its absence (zero colony in a 100 ml water sample) is the most important test for drinking water quality.
Drinking Water Quality Standards (National and Regional) stipulate control values for several quality parameters, which are monitored at different stages of production and from different points in the storage and distribution network.
US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists Maximum Contamination Level on over 70 contaminants in drinking water https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/npwdr_complete_table.pdf which are legally enforceable in the USA.
European Union Directive 98/83/EC on drinking water quality parameters for implementation by its member countries and its latest mandatory guide levels are given in https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0320_EN.html)
WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality since 1986 remains as the most important reference document (https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/water-quality/en) . Expert committees review various quality aspects for periodical revision of the WHO Guidelines with supporting documentation to the Guidelines freely available from WHO sites as a single publication . The 4th Edition (WHO 2011) and its 2017 addendum is the latest where acceptable values for selected water quality parameters are specified relating to:
i. Acceptability Aspects- (Aesthetic and Organoleptic): Colour, Odour, and Taste may be due to constituents not detrimental to health, but unacceptable to consumer who may prefer to use water from sources that are less safe.
ii. Microbial Aspects: WHO Guidelines under table 7.1 lists twelve types of Bacteria, six types of Viruses, seven types of Protozoa and two types of Helminthes https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/gdwq0506_7.pdf. Detailed information on microbial aspects is provided under Chapter 7 and 11 of WHO Guidelines..
iii. Chemical Aspects- Some Chemicals like Arsenic and excess Fluoride naturally present in the source and several others originating from pesticides and fertilizers from Agriculture and numerous poisonous from industrial discharges and chemicals leaching into ground water and surface water from landfills, septic systems, or generated during chlorination/ disinfection and from corrosion (eg. Lead, Cadmium) may increase cancer risk and reproductive problems, and can impair eye, liver, kidney, and other body functions
iv. Radiological Aspects: are also covered in water quality guidelines.
Whether you draw water from your well or public distribution network, you should be vigilant on microbial contamination. Positive results from E.Coli tests (even one colony / 100 ml) warrants immediate investigation of the source of contamination and disinfection of source, storage and transmission lines.
Watch out to learn more on Disinfection of Water, Water Storage Tanks and Water Wells
About the Author:
A.S.Jose is a renowned water technologist scientist, social impact leader and seasoned management guru who has served on the Board of several companies, global organisations and governments across different verticals bringing a unique breadth and depth with over 5 decades of experience in water, renewable energy, trade, manufacturing, education and social empowerment . A passionate advocate of enhancing human potential , A S Jose is a much sought after thought leader and keynote speaker on topics such as water and community empowerment. A former president of World Malayalee Council and avid Toastmaster, A S Jose currently serves as Chairman of Zacrey Partners, a VUCA Business Transformation Consultancy that champions high-impact design and strategy solutions for individuals, organisations and governments.
About Zacrey Partners: We are a VUCA business transformation consulting agency that champion high-impact design and strategy solutions for individuals, organisations and governments. We architect the convergence of best ideas, best people and best practices from related industries to deliver our multi-disciplinary and often disruptive results to remain ahead of the curve. We are human centred, design empowered and technology driven catalysts of transformation that strive to be the vanguard of Industry 6.0 drivers such as education, environment and the creative economy.
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