A water contaminant is a substance which is found in water that has the potential to pose a risk to public health at certain levels. Some contaminants occur naturally in the environment and seep into water sources through erosion. Unfortunately, many of the contaminants found in water are a result of human activities. The industrial wastes from factories, refineries, mines and mills all contain harmful substances which can contaminate water sources.
How many times have we been told to wash our hands before sitting down at the supper table or after touching money and other dirty surfaces? By washing up we think that we’re clean and microorganism-free. We have baths, cook our food, treat our sewage and even cover our mouths when we cough and sneeze to prevent the spread of those tiny dirty particles that could make us sick.
Some people believe that all that is required to produce safe water is to have a chlorine residual in the water. This, unfortunately, is not correct. The presence of particles will, in fact, shield pathogenic microbes from being killed by chlorine or other disinfectants. It is, therefore, important to remember that only good quality water can be safely disinfected.