Common Contaminants in Tap Water

The quality of tap water can vary significantly depending on its source and the treatment processes it undergoes. Unfortunately, tap water is not always free from contaminants, and understanding these common pollutants is crucial for ensuring the safety and quality of the water we consume. In this article, the experts with Aquarius Water Conditioning will share some of the most common contaminants in tap water and their potential health implications.

Chlorine and Chloramine

Common Contaminants in Tap WaterChlorine and chloramine are disinfectants commonly used in water treatment facilities to kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. While they serve an important role in making water safe to drink, residual chlorine or chloramine can sometimes remain in tap water. Inhaling or ingesting chlorine byproducts can lead to health concerns, including skin irritation, digestive issues and an increased risk of certain cancers.


Lead contamination in tap water often results from aging plumbing systems, particularly in older homes with lead pipes or solder. Lead exposure is a serious health risk, especially for children and pregnant women. It can lead to developmental issues, learning disabilities and a range of other health problems. Regular testing and proper plumbing maintenance are crucial for addressing lead concerns.


Microbial contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa, can infiltrate water sources through various means, including sewage overflows or animal waste runoff. These microorganisms can cause illnesses like gastroenteritis, hepatitis and cryptosporidiosis if they make their way into tap water and are not adequately treated.


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can contaminate groundwater, particularly in regions with high levels of arsenic in the soil. Chronic exposure to arsenic in drinking water is associated with an increased risk of various health issues, including skin, bladder and lung cancer, as well as cardiovascular problems.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are primarily linked to agricultural runoff and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. High levels of these compounds in tap water can pose a risk, particularly to infants and young children, as they can interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. This condition, known as methemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome,” can be life-threatening.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Residues from pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture can leach into groundwater and contaminate drinking water sources. Long-term exposure to these chemicals has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, reproductive issues and other health problems.

Heavy Metals

Aside from lead, other heavy metals like copper, mercury and cadmium can find their way into tap water, often due to corrosion of pipes or industrial discharges. Chronic exposure to these metals can lead to a range of health issues, including neurological damage, kidney damage and developmental problems in children.

Sediment and Turbidity

Sediment and turbidity in tap water can result from soil erosion, construction or changes in water flow. While not directly harmful, high levels of sediment can affect water clarity, taste and odor, making it less appealing to consume and use.

Water quality standards and regulations are in place to protect public health, but individual vigilance and proactive measures are equally crucial in removing common contaminants in tap water. An Aquarius Water Conditioning professional can install a Kinetico system that will eliminate whatever issues you’re experiencing. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can use our online form or call 844-565-9198.


I’ve noticed that many people ignore their water unless it’s causing a visible problem. But having good, clean water impacts the quality of their lives.

More and more people seem to understand that and are interested in improving their water now. Kinetico can help.

Mike Holmes

DIY Network