Copper is an element most people are familiar with. In fact, many of us encounter copper every day – as currency. However, you might have more daily encounters with copper than you think. Why? Because copper could likely be in the pipes of your home’s plumbing system and could possibly be a contaminant in your water.
Copper is actually an essential nutrient, needed by the body make red blood cells, support immune function, and form tissues. But like many things, copper is only healthy in moderation. Excess ingestion of this transition metal, any amount above 1-3 milligrams per day, can cause serious damage. Over a short period of time, excess ingestion of this contaminant can cause gastrointestinal discomfort including nausea, vomiting, and cramps. If elevated copper exposure continues, significant liver or kidney damage, or even organ failure, may occur.
How does this contaminant make its way into water supplies in the first place? In addition to copper’s perhaps most notable use in U.S. coins, as an alloying material, the contaminant is frequently used in construction, electronics, motors, and wiring.
But of all copper’s industrial purposes, the most direct introduction of the contaminant to your drinking water is as an alloy in household pipes. Copper alloys are commonly used to make water-carrying pipes and household plumbing fixtures. Subsequently, as water passes through the copper-based material, the water’s contamination is augmented.
Copper’s other functional purposes also contribute to water contamination as a side effect of mining and improper waste disposal. When copper is deposited in the local environment as a result of these practices, surface runoff can transport the contaminant to surface water and groundwater sources.
Because of its harmful potential, the Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum level of contamination at which copper can occur in water to 1.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Any public water supplier is obligated to keep their water within this standard of purity or to notify customers if contamination levels exceed the maximum. If you are concerned about the amount of copper in your water, reach out to a water testing laboratory to receive an accurate measurement.
There are a few filtration options approved to combat elevated contamination levels. Distillation can reduce copper contamination by up to 99%. This method works by heating water into vapor which leaves contaminants like copper behind. The purified vapor is then collected, cooled, and safely used. Reverse-Osmosis is another efficient filtration system for copper removal. This option removes impurities by passing water through a semi-permeable membrane which allows water to pass through while trapping up to 85% of copper on the other side. Follow the EPA site below for more information about the role of copper pipes in water contamination and tips to manage copper contamination: EPA.gov.
In order to safeguard yourself from serious waterborne problems or risks to health, consider using water filters water filters at home or at institutions. Water filtration for all uses can easily provide protection from contaminants. It is highly recommended to adopt a convenient and affordable water filtration method to fight potentially harmful elements found in Water supply caused due to Water pollution.
Yes, Copper can be present in Water. There are multiple ways Copper can accumulate in Water. The levels of Copper in Water may vary. But Copper in the Water supply can pose health risks.
Copper is a commonly used plumbing material. It can enter Water due to corrosion and discharge from industrial uses.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the information and guidelines regarding Copper in monitoring Water quality criteria.