Water is the lifeblood of our planet and one of our most valuable resources. However, not all water is the same. Water in its most pure form is devoid of any chemicals, dissolved solids, and even minerals. After all, water is just the molecule H2O. Most tap water contains some form of impurity that can affect its taste and quality as a source for drinking, cooking, or bathing. Water is a universal solvent and it easily dissolves a variety of materials. Some of these materials, such as naturally occurring minerals, are good additions, while others shouldn’t be consumed. This means that water is always being contaminated by substances such as minerals and dirt, both organic and inorganic.
What impurities are found in water? In short, there are many. When we talk about impurities in water, we’re typically talking about the negative components dissolved in drinking water. Types of impurities include dust, dirt, harmful chemicals, biological contaminants, radiological contaminants, and total suspended solids. Total suspended solids are visible particles that can make water appear blurry or hazy.
Water impurities arise in a variety of ways. Water from rain and streams can pick up harmful chemicals in the environment, such as acid and metallic elements. Biological components in water can include bacteria, algae, organic waste, amino acids, pathogens, viruses, microbes, and parasites. They end up in the water because of contact with industrial sewage and wastewater, agricultural waste and runoff, decomposing waste in water bodies, and imbalances in water chemical profiles that promote the proliferation of microbes.
Water purification methods are designed to remove soluble impurities from water. Unfortunately, in many cases, the treated water coming from your tap includes added impurities such as chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride. Ultra-pure water can be labelled as “purified,” “deionized,” or “distilled.” These labels don’t mean that the product is necessarily better for you. In fact, some ultra-pure water simply has been run through a process to remove chemicals and particles. For example, some water companies will sell tap water that’s been run through a reverse osmosis process, then bottled and resold as Water filters are amazing devices that do a lot more than just filter out your water. They eradicate the dangerous chemicals from your water and make it taste better.
A lot of water filters advertise that they remove “impurities” and clarify the water, but did you know that some of these impurities are actually healthy minerals? And while cleaner water sounds great, during this filtering, elements that are actually good for you are removed. The truth is, water from natural sources has always contained minerals and filtering it doesn’t mean it’s better. Water from underground springs and aquifers picks up many beneficial minerals also known as electrolytes. These minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium are essential for humans. In addition to providing necessary nutrients, these minerals also give water its flavour. That’s why water from different locations has different tastes.
While drinking clean, pure water is a good thing, it’s unnecessary to remove all of the minerals and nutrients from your water. Consuming pure H20 can actually cause mineral deficiencies and disrupt the balance of minerals within your body. In addition to being more effective at removing contaminants, nature’s way of cleaning water uses less energy and produces less waste than traditional methods.
The most common impurities found in tap water are biological contaminants. This means that your drinking water is unlikely to be pure and may harbour harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. The most common physical impurities in water come from almost all types of sources, such as suspended solids and total dissolved solids. Of these, sediments, faecal matter, salts, and other compounds are the most common physical impurities present in tap water; they’re often responsible for gastrointestinal illness and digestive disorders.