We need water – perhaps the understatement of the century. It’s true, however. We need water to sustain our very lives, of course, but we also need water for many of the daily tasks of life. We need water to grow our food. We need water to wash out hands. We need water to bathe and to clean our homes and to nourish our bodies. A life without water, simply put, does not exist in any capacity.
But on a planet that is made up primarily of water, actual drinkable water is far more scarce than many people realize. In fact, of all of the water on Earth, less than 5% of it – 3% of it, to be more exact – is actually fresh water. And only 1% of it is drinkable fresh water. This water must supply the entire world with water – and not just the human population, but so much of the animal population as well, as the vast majority of animals must drink fresh water just as we do in order to sustain life.
Unfortunately, much of this drinking water once available to us has already been contaminated by contaminants of concern. These contaminants of concern vary, with human and animal waste and toxic chemicals all falling under the heading of contaminants of concern. But no matter what contaminants of concern might be in question, there is no doubt about the fact that all of these contaminants of concern can make the water that we need unsafe for human or even animal consumption, therefore putting many lives at risk.
Before we can discuss how to rectify this problem and eliminate contaminants of concern from our fresh water sources, we must first, of course, discuss how contaminants of concern got there in the first place. The answer is a complex one, because the contamination of our water sources by contaminants of concern happens in a number of different ways.
For instance, chemical spills are a huge culprit of the need for remediation services and groundwater contamination. Each and every year, in fact, there are more than 15,000 chemical spills on United States soil alone, let alone in other parts of the world where sources of clean drinking water are perhaps even more scarce than they are here (where water, especially clean water, is more abundant than in many regions on this planet). So how do these chemical spills happen? Primarily, they occur when hazardous materials are being transferred from trucks, trains, and even storage tanks. They can also happen while in transport of course, but the result is equally disastrous no matter how the event of the chemical spill originally occurs.
And chemical spills are certainly not the only reason for contaminants of concern to be found in various sources of groundwater throughout the country. It’s important to specifically mention groundwater, as groundwater actually makes up as much as 95% of all drinkable water found here in the United States. Therefore, groundwater pollution and groundwater depletion and groundwater contamination are hugely dangerous in so many parts of the country and to our access to fresh water as a whole.
Aside from the chemical runoff from chemical spills, groundwater can become contaminated by various hazardous waste sites found all throughout the country. These hazardous waste sites are likely to lead to pollution of groundwater – and, in fact, more than three quarters of the most serious of them already have, just here in the United States alone. This makes the need for groundwater remediation even higher, spending more money just to clean our sources of drinking water.
And industrial waste is a huge problem when it comes to introducing contaminants of concern to our groundwater sources as well. Unfortunately, industrial waste is all too often just dumped into bodies of usable drinking water – up to 70% of it, at the date that this article was written – where it hone renders the water quite dangerous for human consumption, to say the least. Taking steps towards the use of environmental remediation services has become more important than ever.