What is in untreated water that can make you sick?

by The Brazos River Authority

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.



About us

The Brazos River Authority was created by the Texas Legislature in 1929 as the first state agency in the country with the purpose of developing and managing the water resources of an entire river basin. Today, the Authority develops and distributes water supplies, provides water and wastewater treatment, monitors water quality, and pursues water conservation through public education programs. Although the Authority is an agency of the state, it does not levy or collect taxes and is entirely self-supporting.


The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource. 


If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us at information@brazos.org or call 888-922-6272.