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.
You can view a national map of hardness in surface water. Hardness data (reflecting mostly calcium, plus a little magnesium) for individual drinking-water suppliers is on the following pages: EPA Local Drinking Water Information It is important to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not set a legal limit or standard for hardness… Read more »
The USGS Water Science for Schools Web site has a link to “Water Science Glossary of Terms”. This page offers links to additional glossaries. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has a Drinking Water Glossary.
Many, but not all, fish kills in the summer result from low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish, like all other complex life forms, need oxygen to survive. They get theirs in the form of oxygen gas dissolved in the water. That’s why it’s important to have an aeration device, a bubbler, in… Read more »
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets standards for water that could affect human health and works with local government officials to reduce health risks in water where you swim or play. You may want to contact your local health deparment or state drinking water office for information specific to your area. Some EPA Web sites… Read more »