Sulfur Content in Well Water Sulfur is not regulated as a primary drinking-water contaminant, so there is no official level of sulfur that represents a threshold between healthy and unhealthy concentrations. Sulfur gases in water are actually a compound of sulfur, called hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is sometimes present in well water. A few… Read more »
Safe Water Safe water means water that will not harm you if you come in contact with it. The most common use of this term applies to drinking water, but it could also apply to water for swimming or other uses. To be safe, the water must have sufficiently low concentrations of harmful contaminants to… Read more »
Natural Water Filtering A basic introduction to natural filtering of water can be found on-line at the USGS “Water Science for Schools” website. The address for the site’s ground-water-quality page can be found here. Natural filtering is a big topic. Some filtering takes place when water flows over the ground, such as when muddy water… Read more »
Where does pure, natural water come from? This seems like a pretty straightforward question, but there are some interesting issues that come up in making a response. First, the words “pure” and “natural” don’t really mean the same thing. Pure water is a kind of theoretical concept, it means water that has nothing in it… Read more »
A frequent cause of musty, earthy odors, especially toward the end of the summer, is naturally occurring organic compounds derived from the decay of plant material in lakes and reservoirs. The odors can be objectionable, but generally are not harmful to health. However, odors can be caused by other constituents as well, so you may… Read more »
Nitrate (NO3) is a common inorganic form of nitrogen. Chemically, it is an anion with a single negative charge, consisting of one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of oxygen. Because it is an anion, it is soluble in water. Plants normally use nitrate as their source of the nitrogen needed by all living things,… Read more »
The best way to learn about your local drinking water quality is to read the annual drinking water quality report/consumer confidence report that water suppliers now send out by July 1 of each year. The reports often are sent out with water bills, but they may be sent separately. The reports tell where drinking water… Read more »
The USGS Web site Water Resources of the United States can direct you to information about your local water body. Under the heading “Local Information” click on “Local Websites & USGS Contacts in Your State!” There you can select your state on a map to find local information. Below “Local Information” on this site is… Read more »
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lists several ways to purify water for human consumption on their Preparedness Web page. Also, the EPA fact sheet Emergency disinfection of drinking water is available in English and Spanish.
The EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Web page Drinking water and health: What you need to know has a link to “What are the health effects of contaminants in drinking water?” This link connects you to fact sheets for many contaminants.