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Identifying Water Contaminants

Identifying Water Contaminants

"The scope of water contamination increases with additional testing, studies and publications on water quality across the globe."

This document is meant to be a summary of the more common contaminants, their potential effects and what is generally considered acceptable methods to properly treat each contaminant. 

Some water contaminants are widely known and others are not mainstream.
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PFAS in Drinking Water

PFAS in Drinking Water

"PFAS are not natural water contaminants. They are human made."

With origins dating back to the 1940’s, this group of chemicals has been used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. 

Based on recent publications, it is reasonable to say that they can be found in all water sources in Canada.  
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What are Total Dissolved Solids?

What are Total Dissolved Solids?

"Water is commonly known as the universal solvent, particles of soluble materials are absorbed into the water."

TDS refers to the amount of minerals, metals, organic material and salts that are dissolved in a certain water volume that is expressed in mg/L or parts per million (ppm)

Conducting a TDS test is a good practice to ensure the safety of water or verify proper equipment operation.
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Nitrates in Drinking Water

Nitrates in Drinking Water

"Nitrate is an invisible, colourless & tasteless water contaminant that goes undetected unless specifically sampled for."

Nitrates are compounds that occur naturally within the earth but are found in elevated levels in agricultural communities and rural towns. While they do not present any taste or odor, drinking elevated levels of nitrates can cause illness in both humans and in livestock.

Without a proper test, it is not possible to know if this contaminant is present in a water supply.                                                                                                         
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What is Hard Water?

What is Hard Water?

"If you notice white calcification, you very likely have hard water."

Hard water is generally found in areas that are composed of limestone. Calcium and magnesium are absorbed into the water as it comes in contact with the limestone. The level of absorption varies by region. Hardness in water is found in both deep drilled and shore wells, it can also be present in rivers and lakes with spring fed water sources.

Removing hardness from water will save money and reduce the amount of cleaning products used.
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How to Remove Lead from Water

How to Remove Lead from Water

"Lead is a toxic heavy metal, for many years it was widely used in a variety of products."

Lead is toxic and can be harmful to human health, even in small amounts. It can pose a significant public health risk if ingested or dissolved in drinking water. Scientists agree there is no level of lead that is considered safe, and Health Canada recommends reducing levels as much as possible.

To check for lead in water, it is important to know the source of your water.
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Enteric Viruses in Water

Enteric Viruses in Water

"There are more than 200 recognized enteric viruses of which approximately 140 variations are currently known to infect humans."

Health Canada recently published Enteric Viruses in Drinking Water, a review of the health risks associated with these viruses. This document indicates viruses are present to some degree in all sources of Canadian drinking water and the human illnesses associated with enteric viruses are diverse.

Enteric viruses have been detected in surface water and groundwater sources.
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Emerging Drinking Water Risks

Emerging Drinking Water Risks

"There are far too many contaminants to effectively regulate, test and provide 100% safe drinking water from every tap."

As there is an increase in conducted research, new findings are becoming apparent regarding the potential for new or emerging contaminants in water posing risk to human health. No one really knows what actually lies in our drinking water, and no single test exists to test for every possible contaminant. 

It is impossible to know exactly what is in a water source at any given time.
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