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Water quality is referred to the biological, chemical, and physical content of water. The water quality of rivers and lakes changes over time without any pollutants present, depending on the temperature and geographical area. Substances present in the air also directly impact rainfall. If dust or natural gasses such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or oxygen are in the air, they can get entrapped and dissolved in rain, which then makes its way into the water supply. Forestry and industrial activities, mining, and farming also affect the quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater. All this can negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem and make the water supply unsuitable.

Water quality standards are usually defined based on various factors. Water quality parameters are also reviewed and updated every few years. These parameters may include the temperature of the water, dissolved oxygen levels, and pH levels of the water. Water pollution is a major concern these days, and diseases and deaths are rampant due to poor water quality worldwide. Today, the greatest threat to water quality is industrial activity. Activities such as agriculture, mining, and urban development also impact water quality.

If you've ever hopped onto Google and searched for "how to improve the water quality in my area," there are several factors you should first examine.


Pollutants, when introduced into the environment, can have an undesirable effect and can spoil resources. Pollutants greatly impact the water quality in a locality. Different types of pollutants include stock pollutants and fund pollutants. Stock pollutants include non-biodegradable materials that have little absorptive capacity. These include plastics, synthetic chemicals, and heavy metals. These pollutants cause more damage as their quantity increases.

Fund pollutants can be absorbed into the environment. They become a problem when their quantity surpasses the environment's capacity to absorb them. For example, carbon dioxide can be problematic when it mixes into water in large quantities.

Algae or Aquatic Weeds

Algae or Aquatic weeds can increase pH levels and decrease oxygen levels in water bodies. This can be harmful to fish and can also clog water sources, hindering boating and swimming activities.


Bacteria and other organisms growing in water can be responsible for many illnesses. This can include skin diseases, dysentery, minor respiratory issues, and typhoid.

Varying Ph Levels

Water with very low pH levels tends to be acidic, while water with very high pH levels is alkaline. In either, many biological processes of human beings, such as reproduction and metabolism, are hampered.


Sedimentation can be responsible for carrying pollutants to other water bodies. It can also clog fill gills and damage them. Sediment can also suffocate fish eggs fill the spaces where fish lay eggs with gravel.

Varying Temperature

Aquatic life is very sensitive to the temperature of the water. They require water temperature to fall within certain ranges. If temperature levels increase or decrease and go beyond the tolerance levels, organisms become stressed and have difficulty getting the right supply of oxygen.

Dissolves Gas

If there are elevated levels of dissolved gas, it can cause harmful a harmful impact, similar to high pH levels.


Turbidity is very similar to sediment. It is also a measurement of the clarity of the water. High turbidity can indicate high amounts of suspended sediment in water bodies such as streams.

Ground Water Pollution

Pollutants that are present on land can sometimes enter underground water bodies, causing pollution. Consumption of this water can cause diseases such as cholera or diarrhea. The use of nitrate fertilizers can also cause groundwater pollution. A small quantity of nitrates is absorbed by plants while the rest is accumulated in the soil. This can later reach groundwater and contaminate it.

Water Quality Testing

The United States is one of the safest water suppliers in the world. More than 90% of the American population gets their water from community water systems that implement specific drinking water standards. (

Even though the tap water supplies in the US are safe, water contamination should never be completely ruled out. There could be many possible sources of contamination.

These include sewage releases into the water supply or naturally occurring minerals and chemicals present in the water. This can include uranium, radon, or arsenic.

Contamination could also occur from land practices, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and concentrated feeding residue. Wastewater treatment systems that malfunction on-site can also cause water quality to decline.

Moreover, if drinking water is not treated in a proper manner or if it travels through pipes that are not properly maintained, it holds the risk of contamination.

Many water quality testers are available with innovations in modern chemistry to test water quality. Thousands of chemicals, even at low concentrations, can be tested easily. Water quality in a specific locality can easily be tested for monitoring purposes. There are also low-tech versions of these tests available to meet all ranges of budgets.

When it comes to chemical monitoring of water quality, check for amounts of arsenic, fluoride, and nitrate present in water. You can also check for high levels of iron and manganese, which are naturally occurring metals. Also, check for the level of total dissolved solids in water (TDS). TDS consists of a mixture of inorganic salts such as magnesium, potassium, chloride, sodium, and calcium. All three of these factors may cause a taste and odor problem in water. If the water in your area is chlorinated, also check for pH and chlorine levels.

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