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Hazards of sewage in drinking water

Dec 02 2022
Every time we flush the toilet or wash something in the sink, sewage is created. Typically, this waste is quickly transported to a facility where it is processed to remove everything from feces and urine to scum and debris. But for some people living in parts of New Mexico, untreated waste has ended up in local surface waters due to a recent catastrophic sewage spill.


Raw sewage refers to untreated wastewater. Sources of untreated wastewater in small communities include homes, farms, hospitals and businesses. Some communities incorporate sewer systems that collect wastewater and stormwater runoff from streets, lawns, farms, golf courses, and other land areas.


Wastewater from a typical household may include toilet waste, used water from sinks, bathtubs, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and anything else that can be flushed down the toilet or drained down the drain. Sewage outside your home may contain trash from the street, waste oil, pesticides, fertilizers, and human and animal waste.


What would happen if you drank water contaminated with sewage?
You may not be able to see them -- at least not without a microscope -- but millions of microbes live and thrive in untreated wastewater, many of which are harmful to humans. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. Infants, children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick and die from these pathogens.


Let's look at how microbes in untreated wastewater can affect our health.


Diarrhea
Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses caused by sewage in drinking water. It manifests as an intestinal infection or food poisoning from drinking water contaminated with pathogens in animal or human waste.


Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening bacterial infection characterized by acute intestinal ulceration and infection. The bacteria responsible for this dreaded infection is called Salmonella typhi, the same type of bacteria found in some eggs and chicken. This condition is commonly known as food poisoning or salmonella poisoning.


Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects the liver. You can catch the hepatitis A virus (HAV) by drinking water that contains it or by being in close contact with someone who is infected. You can also get the disease from washing and eating food prepared with water contaminated with sewage.


Cholera
Cholera is an infection that primarily affects the small intestine. The bacteria that causes this disease is called Vibrio cholerae. The virus is spread by ingesting water containing traces of feces.


Salmonellosis
People usually get salmonellosis after consuming food or drinking water contaminated with feces. Salmonella viruses can enter private wells, tanks, or other water supplies when domestic or wild animals leave feces on or near water surfaces such as rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, etc., especially in surface water after flooding or improper sewage disposal.


Proper treatment and disposal of wastewater is critical to community health and development. Untreated sewage in surface water and groundwater often contains a variety of microorganisms that can spread disease and contaminate drinking water sources.


While many Americans believe many of these wastewater-related problems are threats unique to less developed countries, recent Rio Grande sewage discharges show that the problem is closer to us than we thought.




Of course, water companies and authorities can do more to protect water sources from sewage. However, we must take active steps to protect our health by edr2rxd1 filter to keeping contaminants out of our drinking water and preventing disease.


Investing in a reliable whirlpool refrigerator filter 2 is a smart first step that ensures our families and pets have clean, safe drinking water 24/7.
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