No matter where you are, the dangers of water pollution are present. Every single year, millions of Americans are made sick from contaminated and polluted water, with dozens dying as a result. Polluted water is bad for your health, bad for your community, bad for your house price, and bad for your business.

That is why knowing the causes of water pollution is of crucial importance. Knowing what causes water pollution can help you take preventative action to stop it from affecting you.

This knowledge will also ensure that you can quickly identify water pollution in its earliest stages. With that in mind, here are the most common water pollution causes that you need to know about. 

1. Fertilizers and Pesticides

As this expert guide on the dangers of water pollution explains, a major cause of groundwater pollution in the US and beyond is the use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. When farms use fertilizers and pesticides, this can seep into the groundwater and reach drinking water supplies that are held beneath the Earth. Given that rural communities rely on this type of water source to survive, the effects of fertilizer pollution can be catastrophic. The most common type of pollutant in this category is nitrates, which have been found in 40% of groundwater sources in the US.

2. Animal Waste

If animal waste such as manure is not properly handled, it can quickly poison precious water sources. Animal waste frequently enters rivers, streams, and reservoirs when storms wash it away from where it is held on farms. 

Among the effects of water pollution caused by animal waste are deadly diseases such as dysentery and E-Coli. This is why it is crucial that animal waste is properly stored and disposed of. 

3. Industrial Metals

Although less of a problem in the US, metal pollution of water sources is a huge problem in developing countries such as China and Thailand. Industrial processes and heavy industry that takes place next to large water sources can produce large amounts of metals such as zinc, chromium, lead, and copper.

When these metals reach water sources, the water pollution effects can be corrosive to public health. Water pollution such as this is thought to be responsible for thousands of deaths around the world every year. 

4. Sewage

When sewage is not treated properly, it can and does destroy valuable sources of drinking water. In countries where sewage treatment infrastructure is underdeveloped, such as India and in Sub Saharan Africa, sewage renders countless gallons of water completely undrinkable.

The microorganisms that are found in household sewage are breeding grounds for lethal diseases such as Malaria, which continues to kill millions of people every year. 

5. Mining Activities

The process of mining coal, diamonds, lithium, gold, and more has already had a catastrophic impact on the world’s supply of clean water. Entire ecosystems and massive bodies of water have been permanently poisoned by industrial mining activities.

Mining on a large scale will typically flood groundwater and nearby freshwater supplies with toxic runoffs and sulfides, making them almost impossible to clean up. 

Preventing the Causes of Water Pollution

Understanding the causes of water pollution can help you take preventative action against it. To learn more about how to make the world a greener and more sustainable place, we have got you covered. Make sure to check out our Green Living section to learn more about the steps you can take to reduce pollution in our fragile environment.