There’s Something in the Water – Water Quality Issues in the U.S.

February 25, 2021
Water Quality Issues in the U.S.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, showcased the dangers of exposure to drinking water contaminated with high levels of lead. Caused by the failure of local officials to add needed controls to river water, the issue was the result of lead from the city’s aging pipes leeching into the city’s water.

Water Quality Issues Everywhere

The Flint crisis increased awareness of drinking water issues across the country. The reality is that millions of U.S. citizens have been exposed to unsafe drinking water for many years. According to a study by News21, a national reporting initiative at the Arizona State University School of Journalism, more than 60 million people were exposed to unsafe water over the past decade.

So, what causes water pollution? The fact is, there are many causes:

  • Bacteria, parasites or other microorganisms can enter the water from human or animal waste.
  • Water can be contaminated by chemical waste from factories.
  • Chemicals used in pesticides or nitrates in fertilizers can enter the water as the result of runoff.
  • Improper disposal of minerals like lead or mercury lead to contamination of the water supply.

Common Water Contaminants

The bad news is you might not know that your water is polluted with microbial or organic contaminants because they are not always easily detected by smell or taste. Yet their effects can be serious. Water affected by pesticides or fertilizers in agricultural areas or exposed to chemicals in industrial areas, for example, can lead to cancer or other health risks.

The Water Quality Association lists 18 common waterborne contaminants, which include nitrates from fertilizers and lead from service lines and industrial processes.

What about Manganese?

Manganese, one of the most abundant metals on earth, is an essential nutrient in low doses. Deemed a “nuisance chemical” that can cause discolored or stained laundry, scaling on pipes and an unpleasant smell or bitter taste, manganese has not traditionally been considered a major water contaminant in the U.S.

Yet, in elevated concentrations, it can create significant challenges. It can cause issues in many industrial and commercial process applications. And consumption of high levels in drinking water can cause cognitive disabilities in children, even Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms in adults. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “[c]hronic (long-term) exposure to high levels of manganese by inhalation in humans may result in central nervous system (CNS) effects.” As a result, the EPA currently lists manganese as a secondary contaminant and sets its maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) at 0.05 mg/L.

A new study conducted by researchers at UC Riverside in California and funded by the National Institutes of Health is looking to learn whether communities with private wells are exposed to manganese-contained groundwater and any associated health issues.

How to Eliminate Manganese

Using AD26 oxidation/filtration media or ADGS+ coagulation/filtration media for the removal of manganese, AdEdge Water Technologies helps communities across North America improve their water quality — eliminating “black water” and installing new water treatment systems that are producing clean water and significant cost savings.


Photo by toa555 -

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