Is Natural Spring Water As Safe As We Think It Is
by Bert Middleton
handled carefully, monitored and periodically tested for contamination.
The seepage of spring water moves with gravitational forces and is eventually forced
up to the surface. Due to rainfall and volume in the earth-space available, how much
actually makes it up out of the earth varies from year to year and season to season.
Comparatively, water from spring sources can be subjected to the possibility of
contamination in the same manner that shallow ground water wells are; either to
contaminates that are on or just below the surface.
Some springs only flow for a relatively short distance underground, through the rock,
sand and other "filtering" material and depending on the immediate surroundings and
activity, this is not always enough to filter out the organic and inorganic substances
that are present.
In addition, industry, agriculture or similar enterprises that are located in an uphill
position to the collection reservoir or path of a natural spring can obviously create
detrimental and health-threatening ramifications to what may be assumed to be a
viable source of suitable and safe drinking water.
Due to moderate or strong rainstorms, natural spring waters can become
endangered from a broad range of contaminants via surface water. Agricultural
crops, livestock, wildlife, poorly engineered septic and sewage systems, holding
ponds and fuel tanks, and forestation activities are some of the more obvious and
well documented instigators of introducing toxic chemicals into pristine spring-fed
wells and natural sources.
When contamination occurs there are a few different indicators like changes in color,
odor, taste, and flow rate that are reasonably easy to identify or observe.
Many precautions can be implemented to protect natural springs but it is generally
either not monitored well enough or the resources needed to remedy adverse
situations are not available. Here are a few ideas;
- Build a fence. If it is possible to build a fence roughly 150ft in each direction of
the mouth of the spring, this will help keep wildlife, livestock and people from
inadvertently causing bacterial contamination and ongoing misuse.
- Try to access the ramifications of civil activity uphill of the perceived flow of the
spring; roads and traffic, agriculture, and industry. These types of activities may
cause compaction that disrupts flow and/or allows for organic and inorganic
contamination to occur.
- Divert storm water run-off an adequate distance uphill of the spring opening.
- Take precautions to not allow the spring area to become prone to flooding.
- Make sure that authorities and civil planners are aware of the spring and its
surrounding conditions and prepare signage or other methods to bring
awareness to the area and employ measures of protection.
In conclusion: Springs are a very good source of the best drinking water but periodic
testing needs to be performed to insure that the quality of a specific spring or well
has not declined.
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Drinking water sources grow
continually more suspect daily. While
most are confined to either municipal
water supplies or wells, they is a
small part of the US population as
well as others around the world that
are fortunate enough to be able to
take advantage of sources of Natural
Typically natural spring water is the
result of rainfall that seeps into the
earth uphill from where the spring
actually surfaces. This is an ideal
scenario however it is not without
potential hazards. Springs need to be
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