Common Questions About Water

More than half of the human body is made up of water. Doctors recommend drinking several liters of water a day (the exact amount depends on your personal situation). You swim in it, bathe in it, and drink in it, but how much do you know about it?

Bottled Water vs Filtered Water

Many people assume bottled water is always the healthier option—after all, it comes in a bottle, so it must be manufactured and checked for safety somewhere, right? Wrong. There are very little or no regulations in place to control the quality of bottled water. Of course, this does not mean that every bottle of water is a cesspool of bacteria and contaminants; much, even most, bottles of water are probably perfectly safe sources of water, but don’t ever just assume bottled water is automatically the safest option because it comes in a bottle. It comes from an industry that is largely self-policed; that is not the best way to ensure regulations are followed. (In fact, it may be the worst.)

In stark contrast to the bottled water industry, commercial water treatment is regulated according to strict guidelines and quality control standards. Before their products can enter the market, manufacturers must conduct a tremendous amount of testing, verifying, and reporting to show the effectiveness of their product in purifying water. They must submit formal data sheets to document the outcomes of the testing, which show whether or not their water treatment system actually improves water quality.

Whole House Systems (POE) vs Counter-top Filters (POU)

While both POE (point of entry) and POU (point of use) filters work to cleanse your water before use, POU filters are the better option. This is because a lot of the foreign material in water is collected from plumbing, after it is already in the house. POE systems work to filter water that comes from outside your house, but cannot protect against any contaminants that are picked up once inside the home. POU systems give the water a final filter right before you use it, taking out any last-minute contaminants your water may have collected while in your pipes, such as lead or vinyl chloride

What does it mean if an area tests negative for chlorine?

The short answer is that a negative chlorine test does not mean that the water is free of chlorine. Almost, if not all municipal water systems contain some amount of chlorine. Chlorine is used to prevent water-borne diseases from entering the water supply, so they are an essential part of the purification process. The chlorine level of a water source depends on several factors: season of the year, outdoor temperature, distance from water utility, and distance from water usage. Some localities periodically use ammonia to lower the chlorine level of water; in that case, the amount of chlorine in water would depend on how recently the water had been flushed with ammonia. Because of these factors, the amount of chlorine can change drastically on a daily basis, potentially causing the same body of water to test negative one day and positive the next.

What is the source of lead in our drinking water?

Lead enters the water supply through the series of brass fixtures, solder, service connections, and pipes that transport it from the water source to homes and businesses. All are potential sources of lead contamination because the water causes a corrosive reaction in the metal materials.

What is distilled water?

Water is considered “distilled” after it has gone through the distillation process of boiling, evaporation, being collected whilst in its vapor form, cooled, condensed, and allowed to return to its original liquid state. This is also called an evaporation-condensation cycle. Distillation ensures that water contains no dissolved solids.

What is an ultraviolet (UV) system and how does it function?

In a UV system, ultraviolet light inactivates cysts, bacteria, and viruses that are potentially present in the water in its UV chamber. UV intensity multiplied by the length of time the water was in contact with it determines the effectiveness of the UV filtration process, because those two factors dictate the dose of disinfectant the water receives.

What is activated carbon and how does it work?

Activated carbon is the preferable method for eliminating pesticides and other organic chemicals, chlorine, chloroforms and THMs, and VOCs comprised of industrial cleaners, solvents, and gasoline.

To create carbon for a filtration system, a source of carbon, like coconut shells or bituminous coal, is grinded and heated to 1000° in an oxygen-free environment. This will remove any impurities that may have been present in the original carbon source. A standard 10 inch carbon filter cartridge holds only one pound of activated carbon, but has the surface area found in that of a 160 acre farm.

A carbon filtration system works because, as a highly absorptive material, it attracts contaminants to it and holds them there, thus preventing them from entering a water supply. Carbon also serves as a catalytic agent, changing some contaminants’ chemical compositions.

What is reverse osmosis and how is it used to filter water?

Reverse osmosis is a process by which water is pushed through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane will only allow water molecules to pass through it. In a reverse osmosis system, the cleansed water is diverted to a storage tank while any impurities are flushed away.

 

By learning about the qualities of water and the different filtration systems used to cleanse it, you will be able to make smarter, more informed decisions about the water you imbibe on a daily basis.