As the most precious resource for humans, plants and wildlife, the quality of our water, is critical. We drink on average around four liters a day, and it is an irreplaceable element of our industry and our agriculture. It is at the very heart of our existence. The importance of water management has dominated human history.
Water carries nutrients to all cells in our body and oxygen to our brain. Water allows the body to absorb and assimilate minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose, and other substances. Water flushes out toxins and waste. Water helps to regulate body temperature.
All animals and plants need water to survive, and the human body is more than three-fourths water. Life-forms use water to carry nutrients around the body and to take away waste. Water also helps break down food and keep organisms cool, among other very important jobs.
Soil and water work together to support life. According to information gleaned from Michigan State University, soil filters water naturally by physically removing large debris and particles as water percolates down through the soil layers. Bacteria and microorganisms in the soil further purify water by breaking down chemicals and contaminants. Of particular importance are the wetlands. We should be honoring these lands instead of building on them.
Wetlands provide 3 levels of filtering surface water:
1 – Sediment trapping…the dense plant life naturally filters water by slowing down its flow. Impurities like metals will sink don w and over time become sequestered.
2 – Nutrient removal – the capture of pollutants before they flow into larger bodies of water
3 – Chemical detoxification – pollutants become buried in the sediment or plants convert them to less harmful chemicals.
But what about drinking water?
According to research our drinking water can include toxins generated by chemical compounds, pharmaceutical products and plastics (Troubled Water, Seth Siegel); there are more than 120,000. Of, that number, the EPA has only designated about 90 of them for regulation. And, thousands of chemicals are added each year. The last update to the EPA list for regulation was 20 years ago. (EPA listing: National Primary Drinking Water Regulations | US EPA)
If you are on a well system, this soil filtering process is at work. However, keep in mind that well water may be subject to farming chemicals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate wells.
Or, if on a public system add to this, aging pipes systems and inadequate monitoring (remember Flint MI…problem drinking water- it took more than 5 years – see recent update: https://www.cityofflint.com/2021/12/29/city-of-flint-december-29-2021-update-secondary-water-pipeline/).
Want to check out your public system? Environmental Working Group EWG Tap Water Database – Just put in your zip code and see the quality of your drinking water.
Next time you are out walking take a look at the litter along the roadways…better yet keep a trash bag in your vehicle and don’t use the roadside to capture your unwanted materials – food or paper. Eventually, depending upon the decomposition rate of the trash item, it may become a part of your water system.