drinking water quality


Drinking water quality standards describes the quality parameters set for drinking water. Despite the truth that every human on this planet needs drinking water to survive and that water may contain many harmful constituents, there are no universally recognized and accepted international standards for drinking water.

Even where standards do exist, and are applied, the permitted concentration of individual constituents may vary by as much as ten times from one set of standards to another.

In the United States, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes standards as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. For countries without a legislative or administrative framework for such standards, the World Health Organization publishes guidelines on the standards that should be achieved. These guidelines provide contaminant limits (pathogen, aesthetic, organic, inorganic, and radiological) as well as guidance on applying limits for the management of drinking water. Indonesia adopted its own drinking water standard Permenkes/492/2010 enacted by Ministry of Health in 2010.


The World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) include the following recommended limits on naturally occurring constituents that may have direct adverse health impact:

                     * Arsenic 10μg/l         * Barium 10μg/l
                     * Boron 2400μg/l       * Chromium 50μg/l
                     * Fluoride 1500μg/l    * Selenium 40μg/l
                     * Uranium 30μg/l

Organic Species:

    * Benzene 10μg/l                                 * Carbon tetrachloride 4μg/l
    * 1,2-Dichlorobenzene 1000μg/l        * 1,4-Dichlorobenzene 300μg/l
    * 1,2-Dichloroethane 30μg/l               * 1,2-Dichloroethene 50μg/l
    * Dichloromethane 20μg/l                  * Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate 8 μg/l
    * 1,4-Dioxane 50μg/l                            * Edetic acid 600μg/l
    * Ethylbenzene 300 μg/l                     * Hexachlorobutadiene 0.6 μg/l
    * Nitrilotriacetic acid 200μg/l            * Pentachlorophenol 9μg/l
    * Styrene 20μg/l                                   * Tetrachloroethene 40μg/l
    * Toluene 700μg/l                                * Trichloroethene 20μg/l
    * Xylene 500μg/l

Next question: is groundwater safe to consume?

Aquifers are typically made up of gravel, sand, sandstone, or fractured rock, like limestone. Water can move through these materials because they have large connected spaces that make them permeable. The speed at which groundwater flows depends on the size of the spaces in the soil or rock and how well the spaces are connected. Groundwater can be found almost everywhere. The water table may be deep or shallow; and may rise or fall depending on many factors. Heavy rains may cause the water table to rise, or heavy pumping of groundwater supplies may cause the water table to fall. Water that is deep underground, such as that from an aquifer, is more likely to be pure and of drinking water quality than water that is just below the surface (usually referred to as “groundwater”).

Groundwater supplies are replenished, or recharged, by rain and snow melt that seeps down into the cracks and crevices beneath the land’s surface. In some areas of the world, people face serious water shortages because groundwater is used faster than it is naturally replenished. In other areas groundwater is polluted by human activities. In areas where material above the aquifer is permeable, pollutants can readily sink into groundwater supplies. Groundwater can be polluted by landfills, septic tanks, leaky underground gas tanks, and from overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. A septic tank can introduce bacteria to the water, and pesticides and fertilizers that seep into farmed soil can eventually end up in water drawn from a well. Or, a well might have been placed in land that was once used for something like a garbage or chemical dump site.

 Assuming that your house is not in the vicinity of industrial area, or other activities that have high possibilities in releasing pollutants, it is safe to consume your groundwater by first boiling it to kill harmful agents or by filtrating the groundwater. In any case, it is wise to have your well water tested for contaminates.



Rainwater Harvesting to Repel Water Scarcity

Every raindrop matters at this time when large parts of the world are staring at water scarcity. With rapid climatic changes, increase in global temperature and population growth, there is a scarcity of potable water in many countries across the world. One way to deal with this crisis is to adopt rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater harvesting is the storing of rainwater during the monsoon season for the purpose of using it during periods of water scarcity. Generally speaking, it is a process used for collecting and storing rainwater for human use. Many techniques have been used by various beneficiaries to harvest and store water including channel reservoir, on-farm reservoir (Embung/Waduk), infiltration ditches, check dams, and infiltration wells. Traditionally, rainwater harvesting involves harvesting the rain from a roof, roof houses to be specific. The rain will collect in gutters that channel the water into downspouts and then into some sort of storage vessel. As the volume of the storage tank is limited, the tank should be connected to an infiltration well to prevent flooding. The excess harvested water is channeled to the well and infiltrates the earth soil on its water network, which later becomes aquifers.

Commercial rainwater harvesting system for household use
Reaching intermediate-deep aquifers through injection well
Design of rainwater storage tank and the connected infiltration well by BPPT

The importance of rainwater harvesting lies in the fact that it can be stored for future use. Just as it can be used directly so also the stored water can be utilized to revitalize the ground level water and improve its quality. This also helps to raise the level of ground water which then can be easily accessible. When fed into the ground level wells and tube well are prevented from drying up. This increases soil fertility. Harvesting rainwater checks surface run off of water and reduces soil erosion.