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Water Quality

NATURAL WATER IS NOT NECESSARY PURE OR SAFE

While your water may be clear, it can hold bacteria or microorganisms that are hazardous to your health and cause illnesses like gastroenteritis and diarrhea.

Pollution is the root cause of water contamination. Although considerable effort has gone into reducing pollution, it continues to affect our drinking water. Acid rain, weather changes, flooding, freeze and thaw cycles, as well as the excessive use of fertilizers all contribute to the contamination of the soil. From the soil, the pollution migrates to the aquifer and, by the same token, to our drinking water. The remediation of groundwater contamination is not only expensive, it is sometimes impossible, which is why it is so important to prevent it.

Certain soil characteristics, such as cracks in rock formations, sandy or gravelly soil, favour the rapid infiltration of water. Generally speaking, surface wells, sand points and streams from shallow water tables are more vulnerable to surrounding activities and nitrate contamination.

Possible causes of nitrate and microorganisms contamination of drinking water are:

Inappropriate spreading of mineral and farm fertilizers
Inadequate installation of septic systems
Breaks in the well structure
Disposal of animal waste close to wells
Excessive lawn fertilization
Etc.


HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT IF YOUR WATER IS CONTAMINATED?

If your drinking water is supplied by a private system serving more than 20 persons, the Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water adopted as part of the bill on the quality of the environment, requires the system’s operator to have the water analyzed regularly for different chemicals, including nitrates.
If you have your own well, you should have your water tested by a laboratory accredited by the ministère de l’Environnement et de la Faune at least twice a year (after the spring thaw and following the fall rains, in October or November).

The microorganism analysis will not include a measurement of nitrate concentrations in the water. It should be noted, however, that in the event of nitrate contamination, boiling water will not solve the problem. In fact, it could actually increase concentrations. Nitrates are specialy dangerous to new born.

Given the stakes, a bacteriological analysis should be carried out:

on new wells, as well as old wells put back in service
following renovations
whenever a significant change in water characteristics is noted
at spring thaw
during hot, muggy periods.
It should also be noted that every well owner is responsible for controlling the quality of his drinking water. The bacteriological quality of the water should be subjected to strict testing, as it can have a direct impact on health, as we saw in the case of the Walkerton disaster. This analysis should be in addition to testing for nitrates, which can also be a problem. We recommend the verification of a liste of

A HOST OF CONTAMINANTS
A simple chemical analysis will reveal the types and concentrations of contaminants found in your home environment. (we offer this simple chemical water analysis it includes: hardness, iron, manganese, Ph, h2s, TDS level, conductivity, sodium, color and tannins)

CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM (hardness) are among the most common. Mixed with soap and shampoo, these chemical elements form a film on the skin and scalp, which retains dirt and can promote bacterial growth. Hard water leaves whitish deposits on dishes, shower doors and others. Water hardness also has an effect on plumbing and household appliances. In fact, significant scale deposits can build up, reducing the flow of water in the pipes, and considerably curtailing the efficiency of your water heater. This will result in a loss of heating and reduce the service life of the unit, among other things.

OTHER CONTAMINANTS LIKE IRON OR MANGANESE can leave orange or black stains in sinks, bathtubs and household appliances. Freshly washed clothes can be left with rust stains.

THE PRESENCE OF HYDROGEN SULFIDE in water can give rise to the smell of sulfur (rotten eggs). If there is no hydrogen sulfide in the water, there could be an organic contamination problem (microbial growth imbedded in a film of adhesive polymer, called a biofilm). These odors can signal the presence of harmful bacteria that alter the taste of water.

WHILE ACID water results in the corrosion of pipes and sanitary units, colored water often indicates the presence of minerals or organic compounds suspended in the water. These organic compounds, also known AS TANNIN, give the water a yellowish tinge. This problem occurs frequently in lakes and municipal waters.

There are two possible explanations for water with a SALTY TASTE: either the softener is poorly adjusted and uses too much salt or a large quantity of solids (TDS) has dissolved in the water.

THE FORMATION OF A BIOFILM IS also a concern. A drop in a well’s production is often related to minerals or the presence of bacteria. A film of adhesive biological coating can clog openings and an accumulation of gravel can quickly have an impact on production. Corrosion can develop either chemically or microbiologically inside the lower part of the well, quickly affecting the quality of the water as well as the service life of this type of installation.

Microbial colonization or biofilms can hold problem bacteria, causing undesirable odors and tastes. Coliforms, which indicate contamination, often hide in biofilms, making disinfecting more difficult.

REDDISH WATER WITH A METALLIC TASTE AND A GELATINOUS CONSISTENCY is often caused by iron particles. These frequently give rise to corrosion, considerably reducing the output of the water pumping system.

URANIUM, RADON AND METHANE, these contaminants can be found in certain area’s in potable water, it is recommended to verify your water, these contaminants in water with a long exposure to it, could cause serious health problems, if positive solutions available.

FOLLOWING AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, virtually any well can be saved and its production restored. In some cases, the output can be greater than it originally was. However, this requires a proper identification of the problem, a stringent inspection of the water pumping system, and a mineralogical and microbiological analysis. These measures will help determine the real problem inside the well, making it possible to choose the most appropriate treatment.

These are but a few of the problems that can affect drinking water. Pesticides, herbicides, lead, arsenic, parasites, protozoa and other contaminants also threaten the quality of your water.

DO YOU QUESTION THE QUALITY OF YOUR WATER ? THEN HAVE IT TESTED!
We can’t necessarily detect water hardness or the presence of contaminants. The only way you can really know whether or not your water should be softened, treated or decontaminated is to have it analyzed by professional technicians and, for bacteriological analyses, by an accredited laboratory. Protect your health and your investment: your quality of life depends on it.

THE QUALITY OF DRINKING WATER FROM MUNICIPAL SYSTEMS

The quality of water from municipal systems has been making the headlines on a regular basis, and with good reason. From 1989 to present, 24 epidemics resulting from the consumption of surface water have been reported to public health authorities. Some 800 individuals were affected by these. Yet, this represents only a fraction of the total number of water-related outbreaks, since a multitude of other cases go undetected and unreported.

It is important to know that chlorinating coloured water produces chlorine by-products that are carcinogenic for animals and are suspected, by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, to be carcinogenic for humans as well. Another phenomenon of concern relates to the fact that the concentrations of Atrazine, a herbicide used on corn fields at the beginning of summer, can temporarily exceed Canadian recommendations in a dozen networks.

Furthermore, 97% of municipal systems meet chemical standards subject to regulations. However, approximately 30 of them distribute to 100,000 consumers, water that exceeds nationally and internationally recommended limits for chlorine by-products.

(Source: Water Management in Quebec, public consultation document published by the ministère de l’Environnement du Québec)

Don’t gamble with your health. Avoid drinking water of questionable quality. It could contain bacteria such as Giardia Lambila, Cryptosporidium and E-coli, which can resist chlorine if they are not in contact with this product long enough.

LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE AND DRINKING WATER PIPES

Legionnaire’s disease is another threat to water quality. A few years ago, a study conducted by Laval University revealed that the bacteria responsible for this disease is often found in hot water systems in the Quebec City region. To many, these results indicate a high incidence of this problem in Quebec. Fortunately, the use of a UV disinfection unit on cold water pipes will destroy this pathogenic agent quite effectively.

CHLORINATED WATER AND CANCER

In its July 11th, 1992 issue, Science News stated that people who drink chlorinated water are 21% more likely to develop bladder cancer and 38% more likely to develop colon cancer than those who drink non-chlorinated water. And although these figures are hardly recent, we continue to use chlorine to treat water.

High concentrations of THMs (trihalomethanes) are considered to be carcinogenic. What’s more, they can cause genetic mutations, affecting the fetus in pregnant women. But they are being kept to a minimum level according to the regulations.

SHOWER WATER AND YOUR HEALTH

Showers produce significant exposure to chlorine by-products through the inhalation of fumes and absorption through the skin. A hot shower opens up the pores, making the skin like a sponge, and so, in addition to breathing in chlorine fumes, you also absorb them through your skin, giving them access to your vascular system. Taking showers when the water is chlorinated or contaminated can have harmful, long-term effects on your health.

MORE THAN 75,000 CHEMICAL PRODUCTS

Our water contains more than 75,000 chemical products such as chlorine and fluoride. Lead, gasoline, dioxins, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, arsenic,...there is no shortage of contaminants. In some regions, traces of hormones and medication have even been found in municipal systems. Yet, a link has clearly been established between chlorine (and its by-products) and some health problems, including cancer, asthma, allergies and premature aging.