JWARP  Vol.12 No.8 , August 2020
Comparative Analysis of Chemical, Physical and Biological Contaminants in Drinking Water in Various Developed Countries around the World
Abstract: Sustaining a reliable and contaminant-free drinking water is becoming an increasing challenge worldwide due to human activity, industrial waste, and agricultural overuse. Surface water is the main source of drinking water around the world. However, groundwater is also becoming increasingly popular, due to its clarity and minimal need for processing to reduce turbidity. Over the years, the demand and growth in the agricultural industry has also been the means of groundwater contamination. Due to the health burden that raw water can pose, water must be processed and purified prior to consumption. Raw water quality can be compromised by physical, chemical (heavy metals and disinfection by-products), and biological contaminants. Biological contaminants can significantly impact immunocompromised populations, while chemical contaminants can impact the growth and development of young children. Although obtaining a steady and high-quality water flow to the general population is an increasing challenge, developed countries have utilized state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to provide contaminant-free water to their citizens. This research aims to provide information about the regulatory parameters, characteristics, and sources of safe drinking water in the world as a model for future use in the developing world. In this, secondary data was used to compare and contrast drinking water quality among countries in the European Union, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The data indicates that Ireland and the United Kingdom have relatively lower amounts of contaminants in their drinking water. Upon completing this research, it is recommended that countries desiring clean drinking water systems should initiate and invest in programs that control and protect treatment plants, water distribution systems, water sources, and catchments.
Cite this paper: Karim, K. , Guha, S. and Beni, R. (2020) Comparative Analysis of Chemical, Physical and Biological Contaminants in Drinking Water in Various Developed Countries around the World. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 12, 714-728. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2020.128043.

[1]   Leal, J.L. (1909) The Sterilization Plant of the New Jersey City Water Supply Company at Boonton, NJ. Proceedings American Water Works Association, 100-109.

[2]   Hazen, A. (1916) Clean Water and How to Get It. Wiley, Hoboken, 102.

[3]   Leoni, V., Fabiani, L., Marinelli, G., Puccetti, G., Tasitani, G.F., De Carolis, A., Vascia, N., Morini, A., Aleandri, V., Pozzi, V., Cappa, F. and Barbati, D. (1989) PCB and Other Organochlorine Compounds in Blood of Women with or without Miscarriage: A Hypothesis of Correlation. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 17, 1-11.

[4]   Pathak, R., Mustafa, M., Ahmed, R.S., Tripathi, A.K., Guleria, K. and Banerjee, B.D. (2009) Association between Recurrent Miscarriages and Organochlorine Pesticide Levels. Clinical Biochemistry, 43, 131-135.

[5]   Den Hond, D., Schoeters, G., Koppen, G., Van Larebeke, N., Nelen, V., Bruckers, L. and D’Hooghe, T. (2006) Relationship between PCBs, Dioxins, Chlorinated Pesticides, and Fertility Problems in Young Women. Epidemiology, 17, S193.

[6]   International Agency for Research on Cancer (1990) Chlorinated Drinking-Water, Chlorination By-Products, Some Other Halogenated Compounds, Cobalt Compounds. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: Chlorinated Drinking-Water, Lyon.

[7]   Flaten, T.P. (1992) Chlorination of Drinking Water and Cancer Incidence in Norway. International Journal of Epidemiology, 21, 6-15.

[8]   Morris, R.D., Audet, A.M., Angelillo, I.F., Chalmers, T.C. and Mosteller, F. (1992) Chlorination, Chlorination By-Products, and Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health Association, 82, 955-963.

[9]   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1970) Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970.

[10]   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2018) Ground Water and Drinking Water: National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

[11]   Gulf News (2015).

[12]   SDWA (2017) Background on Drinking Water Standards in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington DC.

[13]   Dieter, C.A. and Maupin, M.A. (2017) Public Supply and Domestic Water Use in the United States, 2015. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1131, 6 p.

[14]   Karim, K., Guha, S. and Beni, R. (2020) Comparative Analysis of Water Quality Disparities in the United States in Relation to Heavy Metals and Biological Contaminants. Water, 12, 967.

[15]   Lenntech (2019) EU’s Drinking Water Standards.

[16]   World Health Organization (2017) Water Quality and Health—Review of Turbidity: Information for Regulators and Waste Water Supplies.

[17]   World Health Organization (2019) Drinking-Water.

[18]   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2018) Ground Water and Drinking Water: National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

[19]   United States EPA (2018) 2018 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories Tables.

[20]   Szewzyk, U., Szewzyk, R., Manz, W. and Schleifer, K.-H. (2000) Microbiological Safety of Drinking Water. Annual Review of Microbiology, 54, 81-127.

[21]   Hass, C., Rose, J. and Gerba, C. (1999) Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, 1-5.

[22]   Sponseller, J.K., Griffiths, J.K. and Tzipori, S. (2014) The Evolution of Respiratory Cryptosporidiosis: Evidence for Transmission by Inhalation. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 27, 575-586.

[23]   Despommier D.D., Griffin, D.O., Gwadz, R.W., Hotez, P.J. and Knirsch, C.A. (2019) Giardia Lamblia. Parasitic Diseases. 7th Edition, Parasites without Borders, 11-20.

[24]   Benedict, K., Reses, H., Vigar, M., Roth, D., Roberts, V., Mattioli, M., Cooley, L., Hilborn, E., Wade, T., Fullerton, K., Yoder, J. and Hill, V. (2017) Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water—United States, 2013-2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 66, 1216-1221.

[25]   Yang, K., LeJeune, J., Alsdorf, D., Lu, B., Shum, C. and Liang, S. (2012) Global Distribution of Outbreaks of Water-Associated Infectious Diseases. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 6, e1483.

[26]   Villanueva, C.M., Gracia-Lavedan, E., Bosetti, C., Righi, E., Molina, A.J., Martin, V., Boldo, E., Aragones, N., Perez-Gomez, B., Pollan, M., Acebo, I.G., Altzibar, J.M., Zabala, A.J., Ardanaz, E., Peiro, R., Tardon, A., Chirlaque, M.A., Tavani, A., Polesel, J., Serraino, D., Pisa, F., Castano-Vinyals, G., Espinosa, A., Espejo-Herrera, N., Palau, M., Moreno, V., La Vecchia, C., Aggazzotti, G., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. and Kogevinas, M. (2017) Colorectal Cancer and Long-Term Exposure to Trihalomethanes in Drinking Water: A Multicenter Case-Control Study in Spain and Italy. Environmental Health Perspectives, 125, 56-65.

[27]   Klaasen, C.D. (2019) Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons. 9th Edition, McGraw-Hill Education, New York.

[28]   Waller, K., Swan, S.H., DeLorenze, G. and Hopkins, B. (1998) Trihalomethanes in Drinking Water and Spontaneous Abortion. Epidemiology, 9, 134-140.

[29]   Grazuleviciene, R., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J., Vencloviene, J., Kostopoulou-Karadanelli, M., Krasner, S.W., Danileviciute, A., Balcius, G. and Kapustinskiene, V. (2011) Individual Exposures to Drinking Water Trihalomethanes, Low Birth Weight and Small for Gestational Age Risk: A Prospective Kaunas Cohort Study. Environmental Health, 10, 1-11.

[30]   Levin, R.B., Epstein, P.R., Harrington, W., Olson, E. and Eric, G. (2002) U.S. Drinking Water Challenges in the Twenty-First Century. Environmental Health Perspective, 110, 43-52.

[31]   Dubrovsky N.M., Burow K.R., Clark G.M., Gronberg, J.M., Hamilton, P.A., Hitt, K.J., Mueller, D.K., Munn, M.D., Nolan, B.T., Puckett, L.J., Rupert, M.G., Short, T.M., Spahr, N.E., Sprague, L.A. and Wilber, W.G. (2010). The Quality of Our Nation’s Waters—Nutrients in the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater, 1992-2004. US Geological Survey, Reston.

[32]   Adin, A., Katzhendler, J., Alkaslassy, D. and Rav-Acha, C. (1991) Trihalomethane Formation in Chlorinated Drinking Water: A Kinetic Model. Water Research, 25, 797-805.

[33]   Yousef, S., Eapen, V., Zoubeidi, T., Kosanovic, M., Mabrouk, A. and Ademnd, A. (2013) Learning Disorder and Blood Concentration of Heavy Metals in the United Arab Emirates. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 6, 394-400.

[34]   Nigg, J., Knottnerus, M., Martel, M., Nikolas, M., Cavanagh, K., Karmaus, W. and Rappley, M. (2007) Low Blood Lead Levels Associated with Clinically Diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Mediated by Weak Cognitive Control. Biological Psychiatry, 63, 325-331.

[35]   Feldman, R. and White, R. (1992) Lead Neurotoxicity and Disorders of Learning. Journal of Child Neurology, 7, 354-359.

[36]   Thames Water Utility Limited (2019) Water Quality Report—2020.

[37]   Ottawa (2019) 2019 Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality.

[38]   European Commission (2018) Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption.

[39]   Reykjavik Grapevine (2014) Something in the Water.

[40]   Gunnarsdottir, M.J., Gardarssona, S.M., St. Jonssonb, G. and Bartramc, J. (2016) Chemical Quality and Regulatory Compliance of Drinking Water in Iceland. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 219, 724-733


[42]   Berliner Wasserbetriebe (2020) Tap Water—Always Fresh and Available.

[43]   Berliner Wasserbetriebe (2019) Analysendaten der Wasserwerke.

[44]   Climate Change Post (2020) Fresh Water Resources: Iceland.

[45]   DC Water (2018) 2018 Drinking Water Quality Report.

[46]   Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (2009) Drinking Water Quality in Qatar.

[47]   Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (2014) Overview on: KAHRAMAA Drinking Water Quality Requirements.

[48]   Board of Health (1984) Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand.

[49]   PUB (2019) Singapore Drinking Water Quality.

[50]   RSB for Electricity & Water (2019) Water Quality Regulations.

[51]   Sydney Water (2020) Water Analysis.

[52]   UISCE Eireann: Irish Water (2020) Summary of the Drinking Water Quality Results for Your Water Supply Zone (WSZ).

[53]   Wellington Water (2019) Chemical Analysis—Te Marua.

[54]   Borgen Magazine (2017) Water Quality in Iceland: Soft and Pure.

[55]   Lowry, R. (2007) One-Way Analysis of Variance for Independent Samples.

[56]   Al Rashdi, S., Arabi, A.A., Howari, F.M. and Said, A. (2015) Distribution of heavy metal in the Coastal Area of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 97, 494-498.

[57]   O’Driscoll, C., Sheahan, J., Renou-Wilson, F., Croot, P., Pilla, F., Misstear, B. and Xiao, L.W. (2018) National Scale Assessment of Total Trihalomethanes in Irish Drinking Water. Journal of Environmental Management, 212, 131-141.