Water Education - Water Quality

General Differences in The Natural Quality of Groundwater and Surface Water Page 2

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The natural quality of groundwater further differs from surface water in that:

For any given source, its quality, temperature and other parameters are less variable over the course of time; and, in nature, the range of groundwater parameters encountered is much larger than for surface water, e.g., total dissolved solids can range from 25 mg/L in some places to 300,000 mg/L in some deep saline waters in other places.

At any given location, groundwater tends to be harder and more saline than surface water, but this is by no means a universal rule. It is also generally the case that groundwater becomes more saline with increasing depth, but again, there are many exceptions. As groundwater flows through an aquifer it is naturally filtered. This filtering, combined with the long residence time underground, means that groundwater is usually free from disease-causing microorganisms. A source of contamination close to a well, however, can defeat these natural safeguards. Natural filtering also means that groundwater usually contains less suspended material and undissolved solids than surface water.

Groundwater is a hidden resource. At one time, its purity and availability were taken for granted. Now contamination and availability are the current serious issues. It is possible that the water coming from your faucet could contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. More and more we are hearing about situations where the quality of our water is not good enough for normal uses. Bacteria and microorganisms routinely penetrate into drinking-water supplies, sometimes causing severe illness in a town; chemical pollutants have been detected in streams, endangering plant and animal life; sewage spills have occurred, forcing people to boil their drinking water; pesticides and other chemicals have seeped into the ground and have harmed the water in aquifers; and, runoff containing pollutants from roads and parking lots have affected the water quality of urban streams.

It is important to take the necessary precautions to acquire pure drinking water within your home. The amount of water we drink is very important, but the quality of water is just as important. Cheers to a healthy and hydrated lifestyle!

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