The 4 Most Common Ways Our Water is Being Polluted and How You Can Tackle the Dangerous Effects

Water pollution is more than just tossing a beer can in a nearby river while camping. Other sources range from agricultural runoff to oil spills, which contaminate our rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and seas with chemicals, waste, plastic, and other dangerous pollutants.

We all know that water is essential to all living things, but we continue to litter it anyway. It’s no wonder why 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is left untreated and dumped back into the environment, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans and the environment.

Humans depend on clean water to not only survive but also to thrive. But obtaining this precious commodity has only gotten more difficult each year. How come? What is causing all this pollution to our freshwater?

Here are four common ways our water sources are being polluted every day, and what you can do to tackle the dangerous effects on your home and family.

1.       Agricultural pollution

Believe it or not, agricultural uses about 70% of the earth’s freshwater resources, and is the leading cause of the world’s water pollution problems. In America, farming and livestock production is the main source of contamination in rivers, streams, the second-largest source in wetlands, and the third main source in lakes. Sounds crazy, right? Well, there’s more…

Agriculture is also a major contributor to the contamination of estuaries and groundwater. Whenever it rains, toxic chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, and animal waste from farms and livestock operations wash nutrients and pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, in our waterways.

Nutrient pollution, which is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorous in water or air, is the single biggest threat to water quality worldwide. Besides, it can cause algal blooms, a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be dangerous for human health, aquatic ecosystems, and wildlife.

2.      Radioactive substances

Nuclear waste produced from industrial, medical, and scientific processes often uses radioactive materials, which emit more radiation than what is naturally released by the environment. Radioactive waste is normally generated by nuclear power plants, uranium mining, the production and testing of military weapons, and university and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicinal purposes. Nuclear waste can persist in the environment for centuries and can have detrimental effects on marine habitats.

3.      Oil pollution

Oil is one of the most vital energy sources on earth. Because of its uneven distribution, it has to be transported by ships across the oceans and by pipelines across the lands. This has caused several accidents in the past while transferring the oil to vessels as well as during transportation, breaking of pipelines, and drilling in the earth’s crust. You’ve probably heard about some of these catastrophic oil spills polluting oceans or coastal waters while watching or listening to the news.

However, consumers account for the vast majority of oil pollution in our seas. When oil and gasoline drip from millions of vehicles every day, they’re often washed into drains, then into mangroves and coral reefs, as well as breeding grounds for aquatic animals.

Furthermore, almost 50 percent of the estimated 1 million tons of oil makes its way into marine environments each year comes from tanker spills as well as factories, farms, and cities. Tanker spills account for 10 percent of oil pollution in waters around the world, while regular operations in the shipping industry contribute about one-third. Oil is also released naturally from under the seafloor through “seeps.”

Public health impacts of oil spills include illnesses caused by toxic fumes or by consuming contaminated fish or shellfish. However, there are other less obvious health impacts including disruptions of commercial and recreational fisheries, boating, seaweed harvesting, and other uses of affected water.

4.     Sewage and wastewater

Where does human waste, household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene products, used water from our sinks, showers, and toilets, and everything else that goes down the drains end up after leaving homes and businesses? In sewers. That’s right.  

And what happens when the rain washes pesticides, fertilizers, automotive chemicals, debris, road salts, oil, grease, and chemicals down gutters into those same sewers? Well, to say the least, the sewage backs up in people’s basements, flows onto the streets, in parks, and rivers, lakes, streams, and so on.

According to the United Nations, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused. That figure reaches as much as 95 percent in some least-developed countries.

In America, the wastewater treatment facilities process about 34 billion gallons of wastewater each day. On a good day, these facilities reduce the number of contaminants such as pathogens, phosphorous, nitrogen in sewage, heavy metals and toxic chemicals in industrial waste before discharging the treated waters back into waterways. However, the EPA estimates that the nation’s aging and inefficient sewage treatment systems also release over 850 billion gallons of untreated wastewater every year.

How to Protect Your Home and Family

Considering the different ways our water can be polluted and the significant effects it can have on our health and the environment, we must take proper measure to protect ourselves and our families from any possible harm. Addressing and solving those named sources of water pollution requires a combined effort, but there’s a great way to ensure that you and your family are kept safe while the governmental bodies work on creating more large-scale solutions.

Purchasing and installing a quality whole house water filter is the first step to safeguarding your household from the toxic effects of water pollution. Springwell Water Systems produces some of the highest quality whole house water filters to remove 95 to 99 percent of contaminants from your pipes before they enter your home. These systems are specially designed to eliminate toxic pollutants such as bacteria, chlorine, heavy metals, chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, sulfur, chloramine, haloacetic acids, debris, VOCs, and many more.

Springwell’s water filters use the latest technologies to produce the highest level of water filtration and purification. What’s more impressive is that their systems are easy to install and require little to no maintenance. Plus, they are super compact, so you can install them almost anywhere!

If you’d like to learn more about our systems or need assistance choosing your perfect unit, visit our website at or speak to one of our friendly customer care agents.


There you have it: four most common ways our water is being polluted and what you can do to protect your home and your family. Water is crucial to all living organisms on earth, so we must do our best to protect our homes and our environment. A smart start is to install a quality whole house filter from Springwell Water Systems.