Water treatment plants use chlorine as their primary disinfectant ingredient. And although chlorine is a very powerful disinfectant, there are some water contaminants that are resistant to the chemical. One such contaminant is cryptosporidium, which is the cause of a waterborne disease that can have some serious health consequences. Today we’re going to talk about what cryptosporidium is, how it gets into tap water and what you can do to remove it!
What is cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that lives inside of the intestines of infected animals and humans. The parasite is passed via the stool of animals and humans, and it infects any water supplies where the source water comes into contact with it.
Cryptosporidium can get into both well water and public water supplies. Well water can get infected when storm runoff passes over a farm and picks up the parasite from animal feces on the ground. The water can then seep into the ground and infect nearby wells.
City water can get infected from human waste that comes into contact with public water supplies due to sewage overflows, busted city pipes and urban storm runoff. As we mentioned above, cryptosporidium is resistant to the chlorination of public water supplies because it has a protective shell that allows it to survive in harsh conditions.
What are the health effects of cryptosporidium in water?
The primary concern about cryptosporidium in water is that it causes a disease known as cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis has been the most commonly-contracted waterborne illness for the past twenty years, and it has affected more than one million people in North America and Europe.
Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include:
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
Cryptosporidiosis can last for several weeks in healthy people. For people with weakened immune systems, the disease can last much longer and can even be deadly.
How can you remove cryptosporidium from your home’s water?
Because water treatment plants cannot protect water supplies from cryptosporidium, the best way to keep it out of your tap water is to install a residential water treatment system. Two great options include a reverse osmosis system and an ultraviolet light system. A reverse osmosis filter will block out cryptosporidium because the parasite is too large to pass through an RO filter. An ultraviolet light filter will render the parasite harmless by exposing it to UV rays.
If you have any questions about cryptosporidium in water, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact EPA Water Consultants, 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 Lansdale, Chalfont and New Hope, PA.
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