During a customer’s annual maintenance service call, our technician found the filter was completely exhausted. As you can see, this filter has a brown muddy consistency, which is called sediment. Imagine drinking, cooking or showering with that water?! This is the perfect example of why manufacturers recommend yearly service. You may not be able to see what’s in your home’s water, but the filters are doing their job by getting the contaminants out!
The water quality in your home depends on where your water comes from, the construction around the area of your home, and how the water is transported into your home (i.e. lead, pvc or copper pipes). Most sediment that is transported via water is due to home building construction in the area. Other sources of sediment found in water are from soil erosion or from the decomposition of plants and animals. Wind, water and ice help carry these particles to rivers, lakes and streams.
Sediment entering stormwater degrades the quality of water for drinking, wildlife and the land surrounding streams in the following ways:
- Sediment fills up storm drains and catch basins to carry water away from roads and homes, which increases the potential for flooding.
- Water polluted with sediment becomes cloudy, preventing animals from seeing food.
- Murky water prevents natural vegetation from growing in water.
- Sediment in stream beds disrupts the natural food chain by destroying the habitat where the smallest stream organisms live and causing massive declines in fish populations.
- Sediment increases the cost of treating drinking water and can result in odor and taste problems. Sediment can clog fish gills, reducing resistance to disease, lowering growth rates, and affecting fish egg and larvae development. Nutrients transported by sediment can activate blue-green algae that release toxins and can make swimmers sick.
- Sediment deposits in rivers can alter the flow of water and reduce water depth, which makes navigation and recreational use more difficult.
While natural erosion produces nearly 30 percent of the total sediment in the United States, accelerated erosion from human use of land accounts for the remaining 70 percent. The most concentrated sediment releases come from construction activities, including relatively minor home-building projects such as room additions and swimming pools. Sediment pollution causes $16 billion in environmental damage annually. The Environmental Protection Agency lists sediment as the most common pollutant in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs.