Water pollution in the home

Water pollution can cause many problems within and around the home. Common problems often occur with drinking water, pond water and swimming pool water.

Drinking water can become contaminated with many different substances that can harm human health and change the colour or odour of the water.

  • Heavy metals from industrial processes can accumulate in nearby lakes and rivers. This can sometimes contaminate groundwater and end up in our drinking water supply. Heavy metals can slow development, result in birth defects, and cause cancer due to their carcinogenic nature. They can also give unpleasant odors and tastes to the drinking water.
  • Microbial pollutants often result in infectious diseases that infect humans through drinking water. Microbial water pollution is a major problem in the developing world, with diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever being the primary cause of infant mortality. This can also be a problem in the developed world where diseases such as Cryptosporidiosis infect humans through contaminated drinking water.
  • Suspended particles in freshwater reduces the quality of drinking water. Suspended particles can often cause discolouration of drinking water and may have an unpleasant taste.
  • Hard water is water that has high mineral content, usually high levels of calcium and magnesium. This can cause a build-up of minerals in pipelines and cause erosion and blockage problems. Water softeners and conditioners can be used in the water to reduce limescale but can be expensive.

Swimming pool water can become contaminated with a number of different pollutants and may cause changes in water colour and odour, some pollutants may also be harmful to human health.

  • Discolouration of the swimming pool water could be due to a number of reasons. It may be dirty and cause the water to change a milky colour if the filter is inadequate or blocked. Algae contamination can also cause discolouration, black algae cause black spots to appear in the pool. Other forms of algae contaminate pools when chlorine levels are too low, these often turn the water a green colour.
  • Chlorine is used in many swimming pools to keep them clean. There are certain substances, such as certain types of detergents and some forms of make-up, that don