The Risk of Water Contamination in Damaged Pipes: Water You Gonna Do?

Man fixing sewage pipe

The United States enjoys one of the world’s most reliable and safest supplies of drinking water. At least, that’s what the Environmental Protection Agency says. After Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, public water systems came under regulation and have since had to follow specific safety standards.

In spite of this, however, you may sometimes encounter drinking water that looks, smells, or tastes a little off. Be wary about this, if it happens. It may be a sign that your water’s contaminated. The culprit? Call your emergency plumbing in Woodbridge because it might be your old or damaged pipes.

The Threat of Old or Damaged Pipes

Among the most well-known causes of water contamination are hazardous waste materials from sewage or septic systems. If your sewage pipes are damaged, human waste products seep out and end up in nearby groundwater. Since Virginia heavily uses groundwater through aquifers, your damaged sewage pipes might contaminate not only your own water supply, but that of thousands of other people.

On the other hand, toxic waste from the surrounding area may leak into your damaged water pipes. It is commonly assumed that the pressure inside water pipes forces water out through leaks. A 2015 study, however, found evidence confirming the opposite.

Engineers from the University of Sheffield in the UK proved that groundwater around pipes, which often contain harmful contaminants, can be sucked into cracks on the pipe when the pressure inside suddenly drops. From these fissures, the contaminated water travels through the plumbing system and you may end up drinking it.

Apart from that, water contamination may result from plumbing materials themselves. As pipes age, they begin to rust and corrode. Pieces that peel off then fall into the water and contaminate it. An example of some of the hazardous chemicals that may come from these old plumbing systems is lead.

The Health Effects of Contaminated Water

The consumption of contaminated water may lead to several health problems. These may range from something as simple as nausea to extremes like death, especially if you consume tainted water over a long period. Drinking contaminated water can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Stomach cramping
  • Dehydration
  • Developmental problems
  • Reproductive problems

In some cases, some people may even develop certain types of cancer. Contaminants like radium, which is a carcinogen, presents a potential health risk. When it contaminates the water, especially at above-acceptable levels, and you’re exposed to it continuously, your risk of developing cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors, increases.

Prevent Water Contamination From Damaged Pipes

Knowing how contaminated water adversely affects your health, you must be vigilant about the quality of water you’re drinking. Not only that, but you must also ensure that your plumbing system is in perfect condition all the time.

First off, if your pipes are old and deteriorating, you must consider having them replaced. The cost of replacing your piping system is significantly lower than what you could end up spending if you were to fall ill from drinking contaminated water.

For drinking water, the best kind of pipe to use is stainless steel. Pipes made from this material are rust-resistant because it contains elements that are water-insoluble, such as chromium.

Ultimately, you will have to rely on your trusted plumber to repair or replace your pipes. Fortunately, a reliable residential plumbing company in Woodbridge, Virginia is one call away. When you’re in need of affordable plumbing services that are done efficiently, don’t hesitate to call 1 Stop Mechanical.