Is my water contaminated?

Your drinking water can be affected by contaminants, which will make it undesirable or even dangerous to use. You can find contaminants, their sources and the problems they may cause listed in table below.

CONTAMINANTSSOURCEPROBLEMS

Arsenic

Geothermal areas

Health problems

Bacteria

Septic tanks, bird and animal faeces back flushing from incorrectly connected W.C. bowls, sewage discharges

Diarrhoea, Gastroenteritis
Other waterborne disease

Boron

Geothermal areas

Health problems

Carbon dioxide

Atmosphere and decaying vegetation

Corrosion

Chemicals

Backflow (suck-back) from incorrectly connected dosing equipment, cattle feeding systems, garden hoses dangling in container etc

Health problems depending on the nature of chemical contaminants

Colour

Decaying vegetation

Appearance

Copper

Dissolved from pipes or taps by aggressive water

Staining, taste

Faecal material

Backflow (suck-back) from incorrectly connected waste disposal equipment animal wash downs, etc

Diarrhoea, Gastrointestinal infection

Hardness

Dissolved rocks

Soap demand
Scale formation in kettles and Hot water tanks

Iron

 Dissolved rocks, especially in bore water

Taste, Staining, Clogging of pipes and valves

Manganese

 Dissolved rocks

Taste, Staining

Nitrates

Fertilisers, clover, septic tank soakage

Can cause health problems for bottle fed babies

pH

Atmosphere, decaying vegetation, dissolved rocks

Corrosion if too low, scale forming if too high

Protozoan cysts, e.g. Giardia
Cryptosporidium

Septic tanks: bird and animal faeces on roofs, in streams; sewage discharges

Diarrhoea, Protozoan infection

Taste and odour

Algae

Unpleasant to drink, can be toxic

Turbidity

Dirt

Appearance (usually biologically contaminated
as well)

Viruses

Sewage, bird and animal faeces

Gastroenteritis, other waterborne diseases

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