What Should Be Your Next Steps If You Have Consumed Contaminated Water?

Water is crucial for our survival, and it’s an essential part of our daily life. Surviving without food for a month is possible, while the same is not true for water. We will surely die in less than a week without water. There are many sources of water contamination (pollution) on Earth, but most of them stem from our own human activities.

We need water to drink, wash, and use for cooking. However, drinking contaminated water can lead to serious health problems like diarrhea, cramps, dehydration, and many chronic diseases like cancer. You should be aware of how to deal with a water-borne disease like cholera because it can spread easily in places where there is no proper sewage system or clean drinking water.

Seek Medical Attention

The first thing that you should do if you have consumed contaminated water is to seek medical attention. You should also seek medical attention if you have symptoms of water-borne illness, such as fever and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea).

  • You should seek medical care if you were exposed to contaminated water while working in an area where an outbreak is ongoing or after a flood or hurricane.
  • If you are pregnant at a time when the water supply has been contaminated by sewage or chemicals that contain harmful bacteria or viruses, consult a doctor about how best to protect yourself and your unborn baby from getting sick with a water-borne illness.
  • If you are an elderly person over 65 years old or suffer from chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, then contact your healthcare provider immediately as these conditions may increase the risk of developing serious infections from exposure to contaminated drinking water. 

File a Lawsuit Against the Responsible Entity

If you or a family member has been exposed to contaminated water and developed some serious diseases as a result, then you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the responsible entity. The process of filing and litigating such a claim can be complicated, so it is crucial to look for assistance from an experienced attorney who understands how these types of lawsuits work.

If you are willing to pursue legal action following your exposure to contaminated water, you should contact your local health department and ask them if they have received any reports concerning illnesses caused by drinking water contamination. If they do not have any information regarding this issue, contact other state agencies or local utility companies that might be able to help you identify where the contamination originated.

You can take inspiration from the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit, where the affected individuals filed lawsuits to receive their compensation.

Identify the Kind of Contamination

Now that you have determined that the water is contaminated, it is essential to identify what type of contamination it is. Commonly, there are three types of water contamination: biological, chemical, and radioactive.

Once you have identified the type of contamination in your water source, contact your local health department and report your findings. If you do not know where the contamination came from or if no one else has reported any illnesses related to this event, then stop drinking from this source until further notice.

Stop Drinking Water From the Source

If you think that you may have consumed contaminated water, don’t drink any more of it.

Along with drinking, contaminated water should not be used for cooking or cleaning. This can be particularly dangerous to children, who are more likely to accidentally swallow contaminated water while they’re playing nearby, and adults who might not be aware of how much they’ve ingested before it’s too late.

Don’t use the water to make ice cubes or ice in your freezer. Ice cubes made with contaminated tap water could cause illness if swallowed with food and drinks, so avoid using these at all costs.

Don’t use this contaminated H2O for brushing your teeth either—or showering. If possible, maintain a distance from such contaminated water and consider using filtered water until officials say otherwise.  

Boil the Water

If you think the contamination is not severe, then you can consider boiling your water. Boiling is the most effective way to kill any bacteria or parasites in it. Boil the water for three minutes, and then let it cool before you drink or cook with it. You can also use a household chlorine bleach solution (1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water) to disinfect the water, but be aware that this method may not kill all forms of bacteria, so boiling should be used as well.

If your tap water is contaminated by chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or industrial pollutants, boiling will not remove them from your drinking supply.

Don’t Just Worry – Take Action

If you think that you have consumed contaminated water, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and take action early. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention.

Moreover, if you are unsure whether the water is contaminated, you can get it tested as soon as possible. You can do so by calling your state or local health department and requesting a test for bacteria in your water. If the bacteria levels are found to be higher than acceptable levels, they should provide advice on how to tackle the situation arising from water pollution. They may recommend that you boil water before consuming it or buy bottled water until they can take steps towards improving the water quality at their facilities.