I really like this question.
The answer to the question is very important, and unfortunately people do not want to hear it. I run into climate activists, environmental activists, and enemies of manufacturing every single day who say they want clean water, point the pollution finger at everyone else, and have blinders on when it comes to looking at their own behavior, or the things they advocate for and believe in.
As one of the world’s foremost water experts I want to answer this question first with some fundamental truths about water and humanity. These truths are at the base of understanding water, and also of being able to secure safe drinking water. Sadly, they are routinely ignored by those claiming to champion clean water. So, let’s get to it.
- There is no such thing as pure water in nature. Water thrives to become contaminated. Water will absorb anything it comes into contact with to achieve equilibrium.
- There is no such thing as a clean process. There is no such thing as clean energy, clean manufacturing or clean anything else. The first two laws of thermodynamics teach scientists and engineers very early on that producing a pound of X is going to create Y amount of waste. To believe otherwise is to be an imbecile.
Solar panels and Wind generators require mining of metals (Cr, Pb, Ni, Cu and more) This mining uses fossil fuels, destroy land and pollutes water.
Electric Vehicle batteries consume prohibitive amounts of water, pollutes land and water with lithium mining which is a very similar process to fracking.
Every activity of man pollutes. There is no escaping this. There is no minimizing it.
As citizens we throw away a never ending array of garbage that contains paints, dyes, oils, chemicals and whatever compounds went in to making them. Our pesticides and fertilizers run freely in the rivers of our storm water. Our excrement contains drugs, chemicals and diseases. Discarded CFL bulbs have mercury. We throw away batteries, paint, motor oil, shoes, clothing, and on and on it goes. Once these things are in landfills, they once again find their way into our water and soil.
The danger we face is in not acknowledging that no matter what we do, our very existence will continue to pollute our water sources. There is not enough money in the world to build treatment plants to protect our water sources from becoming polluted.
We must change the way we build homes and treat water. Municipal supplies must be responsible for a general quality of water for bathing and domestic use, and a personal purification system for drinking water. There is no debate on these issues.