5 Reasons Water Treatment is Needed after a Disaster

Water is essential to all living organisms on earth. It is something that, those who have ready access to, can easily take for granted. In the occasion of a disaster, the last thing you may be considering at the moment is; can I drink from my water supply? Let’s take a look at some common natural disasters and consider how the public water supply may be polluted. We can then understand why treatment is commonly necessary, after such an event.

An earthquake takes place when two or more tectonic plates shift beneath the surface of the earth, violently disturbing everything that rests on their foundation. Many sewer and water lines run beneath the surface of our cities. Septic tanks, landfills and chemical storage are also stored below ground level. In the event of an earthquake, the water supply is commonly, heavily polluted, when our water source is mixed in with these other toxic and deadly pollutants. The CDC has published an excellent article for reference about “Earthquakes and Water Supplies.”

Flooding takes place when an area experiences rainfall that exceeds it’s limits, an ice damn releases pent up water, or during a tsunami or hurricane. Flooding commonly damages the local water supply do to the mixing of pollutants in our drinking water, or through bacteria growth that takes place in the presence of stagnant water. For more information, read this article by the Commission on Environmental Quality about “Drinking Water After a Flood”

Hurricanes and Tsunamis
Ocean originating disasters, such as storms and tidal waves, commonly affect our water supplies by destroying containing barriers of pollutants, and mixing these toxins with our water supplies through flooding. Bacterial growth is also a secondary contaminant that accompanies flooding. There also exists a major risk of salt pollution from the seawater, which makes public water sources a health hazard to consume. Micro-bacterias can also carried in from the ocean during these events. The CDC has published an in depth article that explores the “Contamination of Water After a Tsunami” after one of these events.

War and Conflicts
War is a devastating event that causes damage to many aspects of the environment where it takes place. There are multiple forms of damage that can affect our water supply and usually do so simultaneously. Death and decay breeds disease and bacteria. Contaminates such as uranium and other radio active materials usually pollute the water for years after the conflict is resolved. The offers and in depth look into the effects of “Wars Effect on Drinking Resources.”

In the event of a disaster, remember to be wary of the water you consume. Always try to drink water from pre-sealed containers, or from emergency relief centers, before you attempt to purify your own drinking source. Disasters in all forms commonly affect our public water supplies and as a result, require proper treatment before our water source is ready for consumption.

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