Do you have cysts in your home drinking water? Here you will learn everything that there is to know about the cysts that may be present in your home drinking water supply. Below is a simple question and answer format that should give you a better understanding of the subject.
• What are Cysts, Anyway?
The word cyst is actually short for oocyst. This is one of the reasons that finding information on the subject can be difficult. Some, such as purifier manufacturers, refer to them one way and scientists refer to them in another. If you did a search for cyst or cysts on the internet, you would find information primarily about the skin condition or other forms of human cysts.
The term oocyst refers to a developmental stage of certain kinds of parasites and protozoa. The cryptosporidium oocyst is the one most commonly encountered in water supplies. Cryptosporidium is a parasite.
• How Cysts Get in the Water Supply?
There are several ways that cysts can get into a community’s water supply. Homes with private wells are generally safe, as long as the well is deep and capped at the surface. Any open water source can become contaminated with cysts.
An animal infected with parasites like cryptosporidium can wander into a stream or river. The cysts of the parasite are present in the animal’s intestines and feces. If the animal defecates in or near an unprotected water supply, the cysts can get in the water. In areas where there are lots of animals, this can be a big problem.
• Don’t Local Facilities Disinfect the Water?
Local treatment facilities use chlorine, chloramines, UV radiation and other disinfection methods to kill algae and most other forms of life. Oocysts cannot be killed with any of those methods. The hard shell makes them hardy. Their small size makes them impossible to trap using public filtration methods.
Don’t Facilities Advise the Public When Cysts Are Present in the Local Water Supply?
The facilities do advise the public if they become aware of a cyst contamination. But they do not test for them on a regular basis. According to information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, it is unfeasible to test for cysts on an ongoing basis. They would have to test daily, even hourly, because contamination can occur suddenly at any time. So, the EPA advises that cysts may be present in any supply at any time and may even be found in bottled water.
• What Health Problems are caused by Cyst Consumption?
The infection caused by cyst consumption is similar to food poisoning. The symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. If a person’s immune system is strong, the illness is typically short-lived, lasting less than a week. If a person’s immune system is weak for any reason, the illness can cause death. This is why the EPA advises at-risk individuals to be aware of cysts and take precautions to avoid them.
• How Do You Avoid Cysts?
Although public treatment facilities can do little to protect your health from cysts, removing them from the water of your home is relatively simple. You will learn how to remove cysts from your home drinking water in my next article.