Birmingham boasts an abundance of natural freshwater from multiple sources, some more vulnerable to contamination than others. The primary sources of freshwater come from Inland Lake and Cahaba River, as well as the Mulberry and Sipsey forks of the Black Warrior River. Parts of the Mulberry Fork are highly susceptible to contamination from strip mining and travel from both the bridge and highway that bypass it. Boat launches, septic tanks, and stormwater runoff are also sources of contamination in Birmingham’s other freshwater sources.
During the treatment process, minerals and chemicals – such as iron and chlorine – are added to the water, resulting in a low-quality end product that can sometimes taste and smell foul. High concentrations of added minerals or chemicals in hard water can result in:
Dissolved iron and other hard minerals are absorbed during the filtration and treatment process, as well as along water's journey from source to tap. These absorbed minerals and metals cause the water to become hard and its quality depleted. Some household headaches associated with using hard water include: