Chemicals, biological pathogens, waste products, and heavy metals are all common contaminants that can pollute water supplies. In the best case scenario, they are filtered by municipal water treatment centers. But when these contaminants remain in the water supply, they can affect the water through an unpleasant taste or odor in minor cases, to harmful, toxic effects in more serious cases of contamination.

So how do these contaminants get in your drinking water? Water contamination can occur from single sources, such as industrial waste discharged into a waterway, or from multiple sources at a time, such as when a flood picks up contaminants from homes, farms, factories, and sewers and deposits them into a waterway. And contaminants can affect both surface water, such as rivers or lakes, and groundwater, such as underground aquifers and wells.

Any urban center will produce thousands of gallons of wastewater each day. Even though municipalities use treatment plants to deal with wastewater, contaminants can still be released into the water supply. Leaking septic systems and sewer lines, runoff from landfills, herbicides and pesticides from lawns and yards, household cleaning agents, and disposed pharmaceuticals – all of these can contaminate water supplies through wastewater or through leakage into groundwater or waterways.

Industrial centers can contaminate water through factory and production waste. Lead, nitrates, asbestos, sulfur, arsenic, and other harmful chemical, minerals, and compounds can enter water supplies through industrial runoff or direct dumping. And construction projects can cause chemical solvents and other pollutants to enter the water supply.

Construction and development can also have the side of effect of causing soil erosion due to the need for open land. Deforestation – and the loss of tree root systems – causes soil erosion, which can allow household contaminants to more easily seep through the ground and into groundwater supplies. Human habitation also tends to diminish wetland areas due to housing development, which can cause further soil erosion and flooding, enabling contaminants to spread further into waterways.

Even in rural areas, farming and agriculture can have a massive impact on water contamination. In fact, agricultural runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in rivers and lakes. This is due to the huge scale of agricultural development, and the impact of massive quantities of contaminant runoff from fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste – which can carry harmful microbial contaminants – heavy metals, and elements that can negatively impact the natural balance of ecosystems – such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Ultimately, water contamination is not an issue that can be solved by simply addressing one or two causes. Water contamination comes from a wide variety of sources, and many of these sources cannot be prevented without massive scale changes to lifestyle and industry. Because of that, the best way to protect your drinking water is through the use of a drinking water system in the home. This is why Multipure offers drinking water systems that treat the broadest array of drinking water contaminants, so that regardless of the source and types of contaminants that may be polluting your water, Multipure has you covered.