Many of the most common tap water contaminants come from source water supplies (lakes, rivers, etc.) or are introduced into the water as it is treated and delivered to your home. Either way, these types of contaminants are already present by the time the water gets to your house. There is another category of contaminants, on the other hand, that actually originate inside of your home. Copper is one such example of the latter category, and today we’re going to talk about how copper can get into your tap water, the health effects it can cause when you consume it and how you can eliminate copper from your home’s water!
How does copper get into tap water?
Although copper is found in small doses in some lakes and rivers, source water supplies are not typically where copper contamination comes from. Instead, the most common source of copper in tap water is from the corrosion of copper pipes.
Many homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have pipes that are made of copper. If your tap water is corrosive, it can eat away at your copper pipes over time and allow pieces of copper to leach and dissolve into your water. The most common cause of corrosive tap water is low pH levels (acidic water), but contaminants like chloramine and zinc can also corrode your pipes. That being said, copper in tap water is actually a side effect of having corrosive water.
What are the signs of copper in tap water?
When copper is dissolved in your water, you can’t see, taste or smell it. As a result, the best way to know whether or not your tap water contains copper is to have it tested for free by EPA Water. If your home has copper pipes and you’ve never had your water tested, we highly suggest that you schedule a water analysis to find out whether or not copper contamination is an issue with your tap water.
Since copper in tap water typically comes from the corrosion of copper pipes, you should be on the lookout for any signs that your home’s pipes are corroding. Frequent pipe leaks, rusty water and stained dishes and laundry are all tell-tale sign of corroding pipes, no matter what material the pipes are made of.
What are the health effects of copper in tap water?
Consuming tap water that contains high levels of copper can cause both short- and long-term health effects, including:
- Short-term health effects: Gastrointestinal distress, including symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
- Long-term health effects: Damage to the liver, brain and kidneys, as well as elevated health risks for anyone who suffers from Wilson’s disease.
How can remove copper from your tap water?
The best way to prevent copper contamination is to make your water less corrosive. If your home’s water is acidic, you can even out its pH levels by installing an acid neutralizer. If your water contains high levels of chloramine or zinc, you can install an activated carbon or reverse osmosis system to remove those contaminants. By taking care of your water’s corrosive properties, you can prevent copper from leaching into your water in the first place and eliminate the problem at its source.
If you have any questions about copper in tap water, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact EPA Water, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We provide service all over Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including towns like Allentown, Newtown and Buckingham, PA.