Water is collected from lakes, rivers, and underground aquifers, which are fed water by rain from storms and melting snow.
This is called source water.
Source water is pumped into treatment facilities where it undergoes filtration and purification to make it safe to drink.
Clarification separates particles from the water.
Then those particles are removed by sand, anthracite, or activated carbon filters.
Lastly, the water is disinfected using chlorine or ultraviolet (UV) light to kill off any bacteria and most of the common viruses.
Once the water has been deemed safe for human consumption, the clean water is carried out of the water treatment facility and into the distribution network.
This network consists of mains and water lines, which bring the water into homes, businesses, and other places with a source of running water.
Whenever you turn on a faucet, run the washer, use the dishwasher, or any other appliance connected to a water line, you get to enjoy clean tap water!
Used water, whether it goes down the sink drain or is flushed down the toilet, is pumped out of the home into the sewage system, which is responsible for removing waste water and delivering to its next destination.
The dirty water is treated at a wastewater treatment plant where it’s processed and cleaned so that it can be recycled back into the environment safely.
The clean wastewater is returned to the lakes, rivers, and aquifers it came from initially, and is topped off with water collected by stormwater systems.
In addition to pipes and ditches, other natural systems collect rainwater and snowmelt, redirecting them away from residential and business areas, and back into the natural environment to help ensure we have plenty of water available for the future.
Rinse and repeat as the water system starts all over again.
Sometimes the water that comes into our home contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium, which gives you hard water. Hard water can wreak havoc on your plumbing, kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Hard water leads to a build-up of hardened minerals in your shower, faucets, dishwashers, and laundry.
It also reduces the flow of water in the pipes, causing soaps and shampoos to lather poorly, and reducing the effectiveness of your washing machines.
When hard water evaporates, it leaves hard water stains behind.
Below 17 mg
Americans use, on average, 88 gallons of water per day in their home.
US households can waste up to 180 gallons per week from leaks alone.
This is 900 billion gallons of water per year, nationwide.
Watering an average-sized lawn 20 minutes every day for 7 days would use as much water as running the shower constantly for 4 days, or taking more than 800 showers.
You can save 8 gallons of water per day if you shut off the tap while brushing your teeth.
You could save 10 gallons of water for doing the same when shaving at the sink.