The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for metals in drinking water. Usually, the water treatment process can monitor and maintain these levels and prevent the levels of metals from becoming dangerous. Once the water supply enters a buildings system, the monitoring and treatment stops. There are many contaminants that can enter the water supply at this stage of the process. Regular testing can find a problem early and help a facility treat contamination early. In this blog, we are going to look at some of the metals that affect water quality and the risks they pose to the occupants of your building if they are not properly managed.
Lead – The most commonly occurring metal in water is lead. It can enter the water supply from pipes and solder joints and can quickly get out of hand if not monitored. This occurs most often in older buildings. Left untreated, toxic levels of lead can cause nerve and brain damage which could have lifelong implications. Children and young adults are more susceptible to the side effects than adults.
Chromium – Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metallic element that is naturally occurring. While certain types of chromium are essential for the human body, toxic levels can be dangerous. Exposure to high levels of chromium can cause various skin irritations, respiratory issues, and kidney and liver damage.
Copper – Another common metal in water is copper. The main source of excessive copper in water is the corrosion of plumbing, faucets, and fixtures. It is absorbed by the water supply at a slow rate (also called leaching) as the water supply crosses pipes and fittings. Similar to chromium, a small amount of copper is essential for good health. Short term exposure to high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal issues, while long term exposure can cause anemia, and again, kidney and liver functionality problems.
IFS recommends that all facilities have a Water Quality Management Team responsible for the regular monitoring and sampling of the water supply to ensure water safety. This is especially true for facilities in the medical, hospitality, and education sectors. IFS has a team of UA Certified Program Representatives and Certified Technicians that are available to be a part of YOUR Water Team. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist your Water Quality Management Team.