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Most tap and well water in the U.S. contain moderate to heavy levels of contamination from industrial and environmental pollution. All sources of water whether it be a lake, river, glacier or well, contain some level of contamination. Contaminants range from naturally occurring minerals to man-made chemicals and byproducts. Water from surface water (river or lake) can be exposed to acid rain, storm water runoff, pesticide runoff and industrial waste. Water from groundwater (private wells or public water supplies), can be contaminated by disease-producing pathogens, leachate from landfills and septic systems, hazardous household products and agricultural chemicals.
The majorities of contaminant levels are not high enough to cause immediate sickness but are more likely to cause chronic health effects. This means effects that occur long after repeated exposure to small amounts of a contaminant.