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Contamination Of Drinking Water In The U.S


Drinking water in the United States has been getting more and more contaminated since 2006. In 2006 it was noted that there were pollutants in drinking water in the remote areas of the state. This was determined by laws such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act ) which would help in finding out the levels of the poisonous substances which made the water unfit for drinking. The EPA ensured that the states would enforce the SDWA on the drinking water agencies. According to the EPA’s CCR or the Consumer Confidence Rule made in 1998 water agencies would provide customers with annual reports of a detailed water analysis for the given year. Reports gathered over the past several years indicated the declining quality of drinking water.

Contaminating Substances

The detailed water analysis states the proportion of substances such as chlorine, fluorine, arsenic lead, per chlorate, pharmaceutical substances etc. Chlorine is generally added to the water as a disinfectant. If the stated limits are exceeded then diseases such as pregnancy disorders or cancer will destroy our bodies. Fluorine is added to the drinking to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is also found in greater quantities in drinking water due to its availability in natural resources. Industrial emissions are also another source of fluorine. The interesting part is that excess of fluorine leads to flourosis (decay of the tooth enamel) and bone fractures. Arsenic is normally found in minimal amounts is drinking water. The corrosion from water pipes can lead to higher quantities of arsenic with disastrous effects. Arsenic can cause any form of cancer especially bladder and lung cancer. Lead is absorbed by the water as it passes through the water pipes. Lead is a heavy metal which cannot be easily disposed off by the excretory system leading to kidney disorders etc. Rockets fuels, Industrial waste and Fertilizers are sources of per chlorates. Perchlorates cause thyroid, pregnancy disorders, digestive disorders etc. However, perchlorates do not exceed the specified limit of 15 ppb in most cases. Pharmaceuticals are substances found in cosmetics, fragrances, vitamins and sunscreen lotions. They are also found in minute quantities under normal conditions. These chemicals are extremely dangerous from the health point of view. There are several other substances which are included in the list. It is not possible to define them all within the confines of this essay.

The Worsening Situation

In 2009 many of these substances were found to exceed the given levels. The levels of arsenic in some wells in the U.S were found to have increased most probably due to the corrosive pipes. Most of these pipes would have to be replaced after 76 years. The level of contamination in a given area would help the authorities to get the pipes replaced at the earliest possible. Considering the fact the American is a Superpower, the furor over contaminated drinking water is understandable. We need to set a good example for the developing nations of the world.


The maintenance and replacement of pipes would be a costly affair. The citizens will have to put up with rising taxes as a result of this spate. As responsible citizens we will have to take it in our stride and hope for the best; so that the government and the people work together in tandem to solve the problem in the most peaceful manner.