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What is in your drinking water?

GlassDrinking water, like every other substance, contains small amounts of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are common ones and they are generally not harmful. Chlorine is usually added to drinking water to prevent bacterial growth while the water streams through pipelines. This is why drinking water also contains minimal amounts of chlorine. Water mostly consists of minerals and other inorganic compounds, such as calcium.

What dangers can there be in raw drinking water

Glass2There are several problems that can endanger the quality of drinking water. A number of these problems are summed up here.

Coliform bacteria are a group of microrganisms that are normally found in the intestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals, and in surface water. When these organisms are detected in drinking water this suggests contamination from a subsurface source such as barnyard run-off, pit latrines or sewer overflows. The presence of these bacteria indicates that disease-causing microrganisms, known as pathogens, may enter the drinking water supply in the same way if one does not take preventive action. Drinking water should be free from coliform.

Yeasts and viruses can also endanger the quality of drinking water. They are microbial contaminants that are usually found in surface water. Examples are Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Giardia is a single cell organism that causes gastrointestinal symptoms. Cryptosporidium is a parasite that is considered to be one of the most significant causes of diarrhoea disease in humans. In individuals with a normal immune system the disease lasts for several days causing diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. People with weakened immune systems can suffer from far worse symptoms, caused by cryptosporidium, such as cholera-like illnesses.

Nitrate in drinking water can cause cyanosis, a reduction of the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. This is particularly dangerous to infants under six months of age.

Lead can enter the water supply as it leaches from lead pipelines. As the water streams through the pipes, small amounts of lead will dissolve in the water, so that it becomes contaminated. Lead is a toxic substance that can be quickly absorbed in the human systems, particularly those of small children. It causes lead poisoning.

Legionella is a bacterium that grows rapidly when water is maintained at a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees for a longer period of time. This bacterium can be inhaled when water evaporates as it enters the human body with aerosols. The bacteria can cause a sort of flu, known as Pontiac fever, but it can also cause the more serious deathly illness known as legionellosis.

Is bottled water safer than tap water?

BottleMany people worry about getting sick from tap water, because of articles on the news and in the papers, for instance about sewer contamination or Legionella outbreaks.

They may either drink bottled water or install expensive water purification systems as a result of this. However, studies have indicated that many of these consumers are being ripped off due to the expenses of bottled water and in some cases they may end up drinking water that is dirtier than they can get from their taps. To be safe, consumers that buy bottled water should determine whether the company that supplies them with water is KEBS certified. For those using KIRIWASCO's water, they need not worry as our piped water is fully certified. The KEBS inspectors certified our water and its very safe for drinking.

People can also spare themselves the costs of bottled water and have their water tested by public health, KEBS or private labs. For households within KIRIWASCO's coverage, this is not necessary because our tap water is safe enough.


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