Series: “Where’s my Water coming from?”

{Check out the other posts in this series here and here.)

Actually that is a very simple answer, either it is ground water or surface water.

Ground water originates from precipitation that falls in the form of rain or snow and seeps into the ground, filling the open spaces, or pore space, within layers of sand or gravel (formations) beneath the land surface.   Under the ground there is a zone of saturation where the subsurface is completely saturated with water.  Layers of sand and gravel in this saturated zone are called aquifers.  An aquifer is a geologic formation containing water in quantities sufficient to yield water to a well.  The well pumps water to the surface where the Water Treatment Plant treats it to ensure that it is safe to drink.  It is then pumped into a storage tank and upon demand by the customer, flows through distribution pipes into the home and ultimately to the faucet.

Surface water also originates from precipitation.  The precipitation reaches the land surface and recharges rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other surface water bodies directly.  Water is pumped from the water body to a treatment plant and then follows the same path as ground water on its way to the consumer.

More water systems have ground water than surface water as a source, but more people drink from a surface water system. Water utilities treat nearly 34 billion gallons of water every day. The amount and type of treatment (which I will go over in another post) varies with the quality and source of the water. Because surface water systems are exposed to more directly to the atmosphere and runoff they generally require more treatment. Ground water systems have the advantage of being filter as the water seeps into the ground.

Not sure where your water comes from? Well, your water department knows and is required to tell you about it on your Annual Water Quality Report. Go check it out!


4 thoughts on “Series: “Where’s my Water coming from?”

  1. I live in a rural area so we actually have our own well. In the twenty five years that we’ve lived in this house we’ve never had a problem with the water tasting funny or getting an odor. We’ve never even had it tested to tell you the truth (is that bad?) It tastes wonderful and is always cold.

    One interesting thing and i’ve often wondered if there’s a connection or not; my son’s one since died in an accident at the age of 22 the other is now 29 do no nor never had any cavities in their teeth. I always wondered if that had something to do with the water!

    1. If you have a well than you have ground water 🙂 which is good! It is recommended to get your water tested once a year and every time you replace or repair any part of your well system, otherwise you have no idea what you are drinking. I don’t want to gross you out, but even wastewater can look ‘clean’ if it settles and you just skim off the top. (I’m being totally serious here. If you just take the top of settled industrial/domestic waste and put it in a beaker you can’t tell the difference between it and ‘clean’ water with the naked eye. Horrifying actually.)

      EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. I encourage you to check out the EPAs site on private wells, here, they have a lot of information on maintain a well and what you need to look out for. Chances are, your water is clean of toxins, but all wells run a very high risk of microbial growth. Most microbes are harmless, but some can do great damage over time (or even suddenly).

      I’m glad you have a clean private well and it sounds like your water is very good. I wouuld really encourage you to have a basic drinking water test ran on it though. That test will check for microbes, nitrates, suspended solids, and pH levels. It is all I would recommend at this point, because you are happy with your water. A more advanced test would only be needed if something in your water changed (odor, color, taste).

      I have never had cavities either and I know that isn’t because of the water. (We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so no one water system would have affected my teeth for long.) It could be the water, but chances are they either have wonderful genes (given to them by their mother of course) or great hygiene. Soft water has a tendency to wear teeth out making them more susceptible to cavities and hard water tends to break down enamel, also leading to cavities. We can never win can we?

  2. Pingback: Series: How do they clean my water? « Chemically Inclined

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