treatment

Question: Are home water treatment units effective in removing hazardous contaminants from the drinking water?

Answer: Installation of a home water treatment system may be a feasible option for people with contaminated drinking water. However, such systems are usually considered a temporary solution due to periodic maintenance requirements, performance monitoring difficulties, and varying effectiveness with changes in the intensity and type of contamination. The only permanent solutions to water contamination problems are discontinuation of the source(s) of the contamination or finding a new drinking water source.

Our favorite water purification unit is the Berkey Water system. After trying several Brita water filters and water delivery services, we finally found a system that filters out bacteria, pesticides, viruses, heavy metals, e.Coli, fecal matter, antibiotics, and pharmaceutical drugs. Berkey water systems are more than filtration units. They purify the water to a degree that Brita water filters cannot. Brita filters are designed to filter lead and other heavy metals. Unfortunately, Brita filters do not filter out bacteria, viruses, and medicine. Brita filters need to be changed after filtering 120 gallons of water, whereas Berkey water filtration systems filters need to be changed after 6,000 gallons of water.

Different types of systems are available involving different treatment technologies. The list of treatment processes includes activated carbon filtration, ion exchanging, reverse osmosis, distillation, chemical oxidation, and UV radiation. No one system removes all possible contaminants and the various treatment technologies differ widely in their effectiveness in removing different classes of contaminants. For example, while activated carbon filters are efficient in removing organic compounds, pesticides, and lead, distillation effectively removes metals and microorganisms. Therefore, an important first step for the homeowner before any system is purchased is to have the drinking water analyzed. The county health department or a private laboratory can provide this analysis and public health officials can interpret these results to help the homeowner determine which treatment process is most appropriate.

No federal, state, or local regulations govern the manufacturing or use of home water treatment units. Many different brands are available in the marketplace. To ensure some level of quality and effectiveness, certification of treatment units is carried out by independent testing laboratories such as NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) . Their insignia will be evident on the packaging or individuals can contact the NSF to find out if a particular product has been certified for the use intended. Also, the Water Quality Association (WQA), a trade association of manufacturers and distributors, offers voluntary validation standards and advertising guidelines to their members. Thus, the WQA seal of approval provides another indication of product quality.

Question: Are home water treatment units effective in removing hazardous contaminants from the drinking water?

Answer: Installation of a home water treatment system may be a feasible option for people with contaminated drinking water. However, such systems are usually considered a temporary solution due to periodic maintenance requirements, performance monitoring difficulties, and varying effectiveness with changes in the intensity and type of contamination. The only permanent solutions to water contamination problems are discontinuation of the source(s) of the contamination or finding a new drinking water source.

Different types of systems are available involving different treatment technologies. The list of treatment processes includes activated carbon filtration, ion exchanging, reverse osmosis, distillation, chemical oxidation, and UV radiation. No one system removes all possible contaminants and the various treatment technologies differ widely in their effectiveness in removing different classes of contaminants. For example, while activated carbon filters are efficient in removing organic compounds, pesticides, and lead, distillation effectively removes metals and microorganisms. Therefore, an important first step for the homeowner before any system is purchased is to have the drinking water analyzed. The county health department or a private laboratory can provide this analysis and public health officials can interpret these results to help the homeowner determine which treatment process is most appropriate.

No federal, state. or local regulations govern the manufacturing or use of home water treatment units. Many different brands are available in the marketplace. To ensure some level of quality and effectiveness, certification of treatment units is carried out by independent testing laboratories such as NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) . Their insignia will be evident on the packaging or individuals can contact the NSF to find out if a particular product has been certified for the use intended. Also, the Water Quality Association (WQA), a trade association of manufacturers and distributors, offers voluntary validation standards and advertising guidelines to their members. Thus, the WQA seal of approval provides another indication of product quality.