A potable water system is essential for readily available drinking water. Potable water is used for drinking water, cooking water, toilet flushing, washing, and irrigation. Inadequate access to potable water spreads waterborne disease, and is a major cause of illness in developing countries.
Potable water is pumped into homes and businesses through pipes. Water can become fit for consumption by boiling, using specific chemicals, and/or filtering to remove particulates. In the United States, public water systems (PWS) are regulated by the EPA. These systems provide clean drinking water to 90% of Americans.
If household pipes are corroded, copper can get into drinking water and cause gastrointestinal distress and/or liver or kidney damage. An additional issue is homes built in the early 1900’s had been built with lead interior pipes. By 1986, lead pipes were banned nation-wide. However, when the pipes were replaced with copper, lead solder and flux were often used, which is a major source of lead contamination today. Newly built homes are also at risk for lead contamination. Currently, chrome-plated faucets are popular. They are often made with brass, which contains 3-8% lead. Contamination happens easily; once water comes in contact with the fixtures, it is contaminated. Lead contaminated water can cause damage to your brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells. Young children and pregnant women are at greatest risk.
Waste Water System
Waste water systems transport water that has been compromised by liquid waste away from residential, commercial, industrial, healthcare, and education facilities. The waste water is transported to a sewer or septic tank where it is treated.
Drain and sewage outlets from homes and businesses move waste-water into sewage pipes and into the treatment plant. Within the treatment plant, the waste water goes through a series of steps to sanitize it and return it to its potable water state.
In areas where houses or buildings are too far apart for a sewer system to be plausible, homes and businesses use septic tanks. Wastewater is moved from the home through sewer pipes into the septic tank. A septic tank can hold about 1,000 gallons of liquid. As new waste water enters the septic tank, old waste water moves into a drain field.
Without a properly working sewer outlet or septic tank, health and comfort issues can arise. Harmful bacteria such as E. coli can infect water and cause diseases. If waste water releases into the environment it can cause environmental problems. It increases algae, reduces oxygen, and can kill aquatic life.