|What's in Your Water?
The United States has some of the best drinking water in the world, the findings of a recent new report revealed that one in ten Americans or more are exposed to drinking water
that contains dangerous chemicals such as Lead, MTBE, Chlorinated Hydrocarbons, VOC's.and other possible carcinogens in the tap
water of major cities and the possibility of unsafe chemicals in drinking water
wells in rural areas. The Clean Water Act and
the Safe Drinking Water Act, our safe water laws to ensure and protect our water supplies are not being enforced. Barely 3 percent of violations resulted in fines or
other significant penalties by state officials responsible for enforcing
the law and testing of municipal water supplies lacks testing for contaminants that may possibly be in your drinking water, such as pharmaceuticals, estrogen compounds, etc..
Whether you water is safe depends on many factors:
its source, the type of treatment it receives, what, if any additives are placed into the water supply at the treatment plant and even the type and quality of the
pipes in your home.
Follow these steps to find out the quality
of your water:
* Where is your source water supply: The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency regulates the water systems
that supply drinking water to many urban areas. Every water system is
required to publish a yearly report detailing levels of
contaminants and any violations of water quality standards. You can see the
report for your water system by contacting the system directly. Most water suppliers send an annual report to constituents.
* If your on a well, have your water tested periodically: Wells, which
are not typically unregulated are more likely to contain
e.coli, coliform bacteria and other contaminants rarely found in municipal water systems. The E.P.A. advises that you
test well water annually, especially if you see signs of trouble like
corroded pipes, strange tastes or odors or stained fixtures or laundry.
* Check to see if there are free or low cost testing services available:
Your municipality, county or state health department may offer free or
low-cost testing services; otherwise, you can use a laboratory certified
in your state. The E.P.A. has a list of certified labs.
* Decide the contaminants your water needs to be tested for: Ask for
guidance from your neighbors, local water treatment equipment dealers, the lab or your local health department on which
contaminants to test for. Find out whether radon or heavy metals like
lead or arsenic are present in your area. Tell the
laboratory if you live near a farm, an industrial cattle-feeding
operation, a gas station, a mine, a factory, a dump or any other kind of
industrial operation that might produce serious illness causing contaminants that can find their way into
What Should You Do If Your Water is Contaminated?
Once you have identified the problem, you can take the appropriate steps to fix it.
* If the problem is corroded pipes in your home, consider replacing them as they may leach unwanted contaminants into your water.
* If your well is contaminated by bacteria, you can have it disinfected or possibly you can drill a deeper well, or consider reverse osmosis and ultraviolet systems.
* If your water contains other contaminants - heavy metals,
lead, arsenic, fertilizers,pesticides, volatile organic chemicals, minerals, parasites or bacteria - you should consider installing a filtration system. Consult our expert staff if you need assistance.
If you found that there are contaminants in your water and that a professional water filtering system
will get rid of them, use this guide to help you select the right filter
for your home.
Household water filters generally fall into one of two categories:
point-of-entry units, which treat water before it gets distributed
throughout the house; and point-of-use units, which include countertop
filters (e.g. filter pitchers), faucet filters, and under sink
units. Some filters use more than one kind of filtration technology.
choosing a filter, make sure it is certified as meeting NSF/ANSI
standards 42 and 53. NSF-certified filters have been independently tested to
show that they can reduce levels of certain pollutants under specified
conditions. Those that meet standard 53 are geared toward treating water
for health, not just for aesthetic qualities. While the NSF
certification program is not flawless, it does provide some assurance
that at least some claims made by the manufacturer have been verified.
Consult the list below to determine which type of filtering system will remove the contaminants in your water:
Activated Carbon Solid Block Filter
Bad tastes and odors, including chlorine. An activated carbon filter
bearing NSF Standards 42 and 53 certification will filter out most pollutants of
concern, including heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury; chlorine
disinfection byproducts; parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium;
pesticides; radon; and volatile organic chemicals such as
methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene
(TCE). But be advised, there are contaminants, for example perchlorate, a
rocket fuel ingredient, which a simple countertop or under sink water filter will not be
able to remove. In which case Reverse Osmosis may be the solution.
- Used in: Countertop water filters, faucet filters and under-the-sink water filter units.
- How it works: Positively charged and highly adsorbent carbon in the filter attracts and traps many impurities.
- Reduces: Most contaminants, including certain parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia;
heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead and mercury; and other
pollutants, including arsenic, barium, nitrate/nitrite, perchlorate and
- Used in: Under-the-sink units; often in combination with a carbon filter and a UV disinfection unit.
- How it works:
A semi-permeable membrane separates impurities from water, unfortunately it also removes beneficial minerals from the water and some users think the water tastes a little flat. Many bottled waters are made using the RO process and most add some minerals back into the water for added taste. This
filtration method wastes a substantial amount of water during the
- Reduces: Bacteria and parasites; class A systems protect against harmful bacteria and viruses, including Cryptosporidium and Giardia, while class B systems are designed to make non-disease-causing bacteria inactive.
- Used in: Under-the-sink units, often in combination with a carbon filter and sediment screen.
A note about maintaining your filter properly:
- How it works: Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and other microorganisms.
filter will give you good performance over the long term unless it
receives regular maintenance. As contaminants build up, a filter can not
only become less effective, but may actually make your water worse, by
starting to release harmful bacteria or chemicals back into your
filtered water. To keep your filter working properly, follow the
manufacturer's maintenance directions. Most water filters only require a
periodic water filter cartridge change. We offer annual replacement auto-ship programs for most of our water filter products. Before buying any water treatment system,
compare not only filter prices, but also operating and maintenance costs
for the different units.