Common Types of Drinking Water Contaminants

Common Types of Drinking Water Contaminants

The drinking water in your home can come from a surface water source such as a stream, river, or lake. Your home’s water could also come from a groundwater source, located underground in spaces within rocks and pumped to the surface. No matter the source of your drinking water, it should always be fresh and clean.

Many sources can threaten the purity of your water. Find out the common types of drinking water contaminants by reading below.


Bacteria and viruses in your water supply can cause serious illness. These microorganisms can enter the water supply if there’s a sewer overflow. This occurs when a sanitary sewer releases sewage that hasn’t been processed in a treatment facility.

Microorganisms can also enter the water supply if a wastewater treatment system, such as a nearby septic system, malfunctions. An onsite wastewater treatment system can malfunction for a few different reasons, such as if it was installed in a bad area, gets clogged, or the septic tank itself malfunctions.

Water suppliers test water for the presence of two specific kinds of bacteria found in human and animal wastes. If they find contamination, they’re legally required to conduct further testing and find the source of the problem. They will also adjust the water treatment as necessary and inform and advise people connected to the contaminated water.


Another common type of drinking water contaminant is a naturally-occurring chemical: nitrate. Nitrate can enter the water supply from various sources, many stemming from local land use practices. High nitrate levels in your body can harm your respiratory system, reproductive system, kidneys, and spleen.

Nitrate naturally forms in soil and provides the main source of nitrogen for plants. Food producers use nitrogen-rich fertilizers to help crops grow faster and plentifully. But irrigation water containing fertilizers can contaminate surface water and groundwater sources.


Like nitrate, arsenic is found in the natural environment. It’s mostly found in rock formations, and when water flows through these rocks, it can dissolve the arsenic and carry it.

Exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and problems with nerve function. You can’t taste, smell, or see arsenic in water. You must test the water to know whether it contains arsenic.

Test and Treat Your Water With Good Water Company

Your drinking water should be clean, safe, and have a refreshing taste. Good Water Company offers the best home drinking water solutions with scientifically supported treatments. We can complete laboratory tests on water samples and set you up with a customized water filtration system. Contact us today to learn more.

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