Water drawn from rivers, lakes stream and other bodies of water as well as groundwater can be contaminated and could make you sick if you drink it without treating it first. Waterborne diseases, caused by microorganisms that live in untreated water, can cause diarrhea, nausea vomiting and other symptoms, and in extreme cases, death.
Many of these pathogens infect water through contact with human and animal feces, carried there by runoff or seeping into the water supply from leaking sewage or septic systems.
Water can also be contaminated by any pollutant improperly handled by man, such as dumped chemicals, or fertilizers and other chemicals used in agriculture that wash into lakes and streams.
Some contaminants, including microbes and chemical elements, can occur naturally in the ground surrounding the water. Though soil and rock can filter water as it percolates down into groundwater supply, such water can also become contaminated by natural and manmade pollutants and pathogens. For more information on waterborne diseases and contaminants, click here.