August 04, 2022 3 min read

Inorganics contaminants

Inorganics can include a combination of metals, salts, compounds, particles, and mineral complexes which do not contain carbon; carbon compounds are organics. Inorganic contaminants include natural or man-made elements or compounds that can contaminate water or be concentrated in the water cycle. Water is not pure H₂0; some of the most common contaminants or conditions include carbon dioxide and other gases, salts like Chloride, Sodium, Carbonate, Alkalinity, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, and Manganese. For the most part, the inorganic contaminants create aesthetic problems such as: a salty or bitter taste, discoloration, or even chemical scale/corrosion. 

How do Inorganics impact health?

Inorganic contaminants in your drinking water can pose  an acute or chronic health risks or concerns with conditions such as cancer, liver damage, tumors, damage to the nervous and circulatory systems, kidney disorders, bronchitis, anemia, delayed mental and physical development, gastrointestinal disorders, adult degenerative disorders, and autoimmune disorders. The following are common Inorganic Compounds or Conditions found in drinking water for both city water and private water systems:

  • Antimony

  • Arsenic

  • Barium

  • Beryllium

  • Cadmium

  • Chromium

  • Copper

  • Cyanide

  • Fluoride

  • Lead

  • Mercury

  • Nitrates / Nitrites

  • Selenium

  • Thallium

  • Turbidity

  • Microbiological contaminants

    Microbiological agents range from single cell organisms to small living things such as Bacteria, Total Coliform Bacteria, Parasites, Protozoans, Fungi, Molds, and Viruses.  In many cases, there can be is virtually no warning sign of a microbiological problem until someone becomes ill or sick. This is why proactive monitoring and regular screening is strongly suggested. What aAre the cCategories of mMicrobiological aAgents?

    Common Microbiological Agents can be divided into three categories, Bacteria, Waterborne Pathogens, and Protozoans.

    How do Microbiological Agents impact health?

    They can be characterized as pathogenic or disease-causing or can serve as vectors that facilitate the spread of disease or other disorders, such as Autoimmune diseases. Common disease-causing agents include Total Coliform Bacteria, E. coli, Waterborne Pathogens, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Legionella, Shigella, E. Coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. 

    Other microorganisms, such as: Nuisance Bacteria, Pink Bacteria, Iron Bacteria, Slime Bacteria, Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria, and standard plate count (heterotrophic bacteria) are typically associated with nuisance or aesthetic related issues, but they can also be associated with Corrosion and the premature failure of water-related infrastructure and equipment and elevated levels of corrosion by-products, such as: Copper, Chromium, Lead, Zinc, and other metals.

    The following are common Microbiological Agents found in drinking water for both city water and private water systems:

  • Bacteria

  • Total Coliform Bacteria

  • E. Coli

  • Giardia, Cryptosporidium

  • Viruses

  • Waterborne Pathogens

  • Organic contaminants

    Organic contaminants include herbicides, pesticides, and plant and animal tissues, and are usually expected to cause adverse impacts on the environment. Trace levels of organic contaminant residues present in the soil, water, air, and sometimes food may result in harmful effects for human and environmental health.  [RESEARCH]

    Radiological contaminants

    Radiological water contaminants are undesirable radioactive substances that have entered a water supply. They are also known as radionuclides. Naturally-occurring radiologicals are found everywhere: the earth’s crust, food, the sun’s rays and even our DNA. Radionuclides like uranium, radium and radon are often found in areas with granite bedrock. Potassium is present in bananas, brazil nuts and carrots, as well as in among other foods. Typical, naturally-occurring radiologicals found in drinking water include , isotopes of radium, uranium and radon, among others. 

    Radiologicals can also originate from man-made sources, such as waste from nuclear power plants and some medical facilities. Released, or improperly stored radioactive particles can seep into groundwater, or bind to particles of dust in the air. These particles can then travel for a distance before settling into surface drinking water sources, like rivers, lakes and streams that supply a community’s drinking water.

    Duncan Peters
    Duncan Peters

    Chief Purifier - Duncan has been on a journey to improve water purification for over 5 years. When he's not working on water purifiers at Novus, he's writing articles about water, is out exploring nature, or can be found mountain biking in Scotland.



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