Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water

Over 60% of the human body is water. Having said that, drinking water and staying hydrated automatically becomes the most crucial part of our survival. Not only does drinking water help improve your physical performance, but it also affects your energy levels and boosts your brain function. 

If you’re wondering how water could improve your brain function, here is why. “Over 73% of the human brain and heart comprises of water.” Apart from the brain and heart, bones also contain water with over 31% of its total volume. 

However, to keep your body healthy and to ensure your organs function the way they’re supposed to, you need to drink purified water – free from any contaminants. Drinking contaminated water can drastically affect your health and, in severe cases, lead to numerous diseases, which are discussed below. Without any further ado, let’s dive into how you can assess the quality of water and the effects of drinking contaminated water.

How can you assess the quality of drinking water?

The water that is safe for us to drink is free from any form of contaminants, such as microbial, chemical, and physical. Some of these contaminants affect your health, and others give water a particular odor, which makes it challenging to drink.

Primarily, water quality can be assessed using three different segments. These are discussed below.

Microbial Contamination:

It is the presence of hazardous pathogens and microbes, usually induced from contact with feces. For instance, typhoid fever and cholera can be caused due to microbial contamination. 

Chemical Contamination: 

It is the presence of metals, organic compounds, and/or other chemicals in the water that can adversely affect human health. However, not all chemicals are harmful to your health (these include sodium and calcium), and in fact, only a few aren’t good for your health. Industrial waste and improper disposal waste are the primary contributors to chemical contamination. 

Physical Contamination:

It refers to the physical status/condition of the water available to you. The state your water is in, the color of your water, the temperature, and cloudiness in your water are factors that determine the physical contamination of water. Although physical contamination of water might have no up-front health complications, they can make water unpleasant to drink.

Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water:

While the water in your taps is filtered through different water filtration systems and is processed before it reaches your taps. But, certain complications could arise irrespective of the filtration systems, and water may get contaminated and/or become dirty. Moreover, it might not have any odor to indicate whether the water is compromised.

A primary way to ensure whether your water is safe for drinking is to conduct some tests at water testing laboratories in your city. However, there are other factors that could indicate if you’re drinking contaminated water. 

If you or any of your family members notice any of the following symptoms, you should immediately examine your water. Effects of drinking contaminated water may include 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Stomach related problems 
  • Nausea
  • Intestinal complications
  • Dehydration, 
  • In the worst cases, it may result in death. 

However, keep in mind these effects might not appear immediately and depends upon factors such as age and physical health. Moreover, these effects might not occur in certain people, and they may experience other long-term complications, such as cancer and heart diseases. 

How does water get contaminated?

Pure and safe water is crucial for both drinking and domestic use. Several factors contribute to the contamination of water. The primary factors include bacteria and parasites from feces, chemicals from industrial waste, waste material from spraying crops, and leftovers from fertilizers such as nitrates. 

Moreover, minerals, too, can affect the quality of the water. These include lead and mercury, mainly from improper disposal of waste. All of these factors contribute to water pollution. Considering the fact that water is a universal solvent, it can dissolve almost all of the chemical substances, which is why it can get contaminated quickly. 

How can you purify contaminated water?

Now that you know how drinking contaminated water could drastically affect your health, you might be wondering what your call to action should be if you come across contaminated water. Your first priority should be getting bottled water from your local stores. If that isn’t available, you can continue to boil your contaminated water to get rid of any viruses and pathogenic bacteria that your water might have.

Here’s an insight into how you can purify contaminated water at home. However, keep in mind this is only an emergency resort, and you will have to contact your local authorities for proper rectification of contaminated water. In addition, you might need to get water filters as well. 

Boil Water – Boiling water before you could drink it could help eliminate the presence of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. To purify water, filter it using a clean cloth or any filter and then bring it to boiling temperatures for up to three minutes. Let it rest afterward so that it could cool naturally. After it is cooled, it can be used for drinking purposes. Keep in mind, boiling water makes it taste flat, and you could add a pinch of salt to a liter of water to improve its taste. 

Wrap Up

Water being a universal solvent, can dissolve almost all of the substances and chemicals that it comes into contact with. That being said, water can quickly get contaminated and could lead to severe health complications. Although it is filtered using different water filtration systems before the water reaches your house, it is relatively easy to get contaminated. 

Moreover, there might not be any odor to indicate whether your water is contaminated, which is why conducting tests is crucial. Effects of drinking contaminated water include diarrhea, nausea, stomach-related issues, intestinal complications, and in worst cases, it could lead to death. Irrespective of whether you use water for household chores or drinking, it needs to be purified and made free from any contaminants before you could drink it.


The Tale of Two Annoucements: The Pedestrian Bridge
MEDIA ALERT: VCP Annoucement
PUBLIC IS NOT INVITED – Croton Filter Project Annoucement

If you are the press you are invited to a Media Event on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 2 pm on the parking Lot at Shandler Field to the announcement that various governmental entitiies will fund the Pedestrian Bridge uniting East and West in Van Cortlandt Park.

If you are the public, you are not invited, but since it is on public lands, you can attend. Well, that is at least how it sounds on the various emails that have been circulated. I know, you think I am picking on the DEP for not inviting the public to the announcement, after all, it was the DEPs project, they really wanted to do it, they had the money all along, they willingly did the cost estimate.

No wait, that’s wrong. The PUBLIC wanted the Pedestrian Bridge. Since 1999 the PUBLIC fought to get the DEP to present the Study of alternatives, and costs.

The DEP fought the project every step of the way, and even now, are only paying for PART of the project even though it was in the 1999 Mitigation package in the City Council ULURP.

Don’t forget who walked across the imaginary bridge on that rainy cold day in March 2014. IT WASN’T THE DEP ……….It was the PUBLIC.

I urge you to go if you have the free time tomorrow afternoon. These government officials work for you, not their agency. Sometimes these things are forgotten. Sometimes government officials play games.

Posted by karen

city’s argument does not hold water

Background: The City constantly purports that the water travels from Jerome Park Reservoir to the tap within 30 minutes. This is nothing close to the truth. These security concerns around Jerome Park Reservoir prohibit the public from walking inside the fence. They prevent stakeholders from participating in the protection of the balancing reservoir, one that no longer supplies drinking water. Two DEP Commissioners thought this was worthy of study. Below is my disagreement with the current position of the NYC DEP.

Recently, it has been reported in the press and by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) representatives that water travels from Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR) to the tap in just 30 minutes. This appears to be a prime reason the public cannot have access to inside the fence on DEP property.

The City’s argument does not hold water! What was once true before the Filter Plant was built is not now. The timing of water entering the distribution system changed when the City decided to filter that water supply.

Now is the time to correct these mis-statements. Clarification can be found in this link for the 2011 Report and Recommendations of the Jerome Park Reservoir Access Working Group commissioned by Commissioner Emily Lloyd (Lloyd Report) in March 2011. The Lloyd Report describes JPR’s function after the Croton Plant is in operation : when “the Croton Filtration Plant is operating, un-treated (”raw”) water from the New Croton Reservoir will flow into JPR, ….. all water released for in-city distribution will go through the Croton Water Filtration Plant …..” (emphasis added) That is, no water will go to the NYC public via Jerome Park Reservoir. Even now, before the plant is operational, no water from Jerome Park Reservoir is currently delivered to the in-city distribution system, and none has been since 2008. (see page 3 of the report linked above)

In other words, the water in the Jerome Park Reservoir is raw water which does not go to the taps of the NYC public. This raw water will always be treated at the Plant before it goes to the tap. More than likely, this raw water will be stored at JPR to balance the pressure at the Plant – it will “serve the Croton Filter Plant as a ‘surge tank,’ protecting the Plant from unexpected pressure surges.”

Additionally, the Lloyd Report proposed a pilot program in the cover letter to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. when construction was completed. At this time, the Croton Water Treatment Plant and its off-site construction at the Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR) is coming to an end at both sites.

This is an opportunity to expeditiously implement the pilot program as proposed to the Bronx Borough President by NYCDEP Commissioner Caswell Holloway in 2011. This program could be completed by the end of next summer.

Please support the JPR public access pilot program: “it should consist of several days; it should provide for the use of the perimeter path if the path is safe for public use; it should include an educational tour of the site and its facilities; … it should include a less-structured type of “open house” where residents could have access to specific parts of the site; …. that the specific elements of the pilot program should be developed with the input and participation of the community and other interested stakeholders.”


Posted by karen