Water and its Dangers
Our drinking water comes from far and near, and as it moves from place to place, it carries with it in solution or suspension anything which it can find, whether it be animal, vegetable, or mineral matter. The power of water to gather up matter is so great that the average drinking water contains 20 to 90 grains of solid matter per gallon; that is, if a gallon of ordinary drinking water is left to evaporate, a residue of 20 to 90 grains will be left. As water runs down a hill slope, it carries with it the filth gathered from acres of land; carries with it the refuse of stable, barn, and kitchen; and too often this impure surface water joins the streams which supply our cities. Lakes and rivers which furnish drinking water should be carefully protected from surface draining; that is, from water which has flowed over the land and has thus accumulated the waste of pasture and stable and, it may be, of dumping ground.
It is not necessary that water should be absolutely free from all foreign substances in order to be safe for daily use in drinking; a limited amount of mineral matter is not injurious and may sometimes be really beneficial. It is the presence of animal and vegetable matter that causes real danger, and it is known that typhoid fever is due largely to such impurities present in the drinking water.
FIG. - As water flows over the land, it gathers filth and disease germs.