How safe is your tap water?
by Building Inspector and Indoor Air Specialist, Dan Schilling
Water is the second most important nutrient to your life, second only to the air you breathe.
The benefits of water
There are many reasons why we should drink copious amounts of clean water. Water relieves hunger, prevents fluid retention, helps prevent constipation and aids elimination. Water also metabolizes stored fat, cleanses toxins from the body, maintains muscle tone and joint lubrication, as well as controlling body temperature and circulation.
Out of sight = Out of mind
There are some things in life we take for granted and the tap water we drink is often one of them. Just as it is with our indoor air, it is very easy for us to assume our drinking water is fine based on not being able to see what is in it. Many people wrongly assume that the water coming from their taps is free from bacteria and chemicals.
The scope of the tap water problem
Both bacterial and chemically contaminated water is commonly discovered in private wells and municipal water systems throughout the country. Most often it is discovered “after” people have been drinking the water. Sometimes it is not discovered at all, and sometimes municipalities know about it, but rather than inform the public as required, they just wait for the contaminant levels to return to acceptable levels.
Oddly enough, many people who drink city water think that well water is unsafe and bad tasting, while those with well water feel the same way about city water. This is just a matter of the taste buds becoming acclimated to whatever is in the water, which them makes other water taste "different". This also clearly shows that judgment regarding taste and water purity is often based on lack of knowledge.
When visiting the water utility in my city, I was impressed with the many TV monitors around the room monitoring the aquifers serving the 27 wells. When I asked an employee what was done when contaminants exceed the legal limit in a well, I was told that they open valves connected to other wells to help dilute the unsafe levels. That was not very reassuring to me.
All the press coverage indicates that the water problems are only getting worse. It stands to reason because humans have been burying tons and tons of bad materials in the earth over the last 150 years, as well as dumping into lakes and streams. Materials that we never dreamed would one day leach into our drinking water supplies.
Add to this the chemical and biological pollutants from road runoff, farming fertilizers, chemical spillage from industry, leaking underground fuel tanks, sewage plant spillage, toxic landfills, and lead from plumbing pipes, and it becomes understandable why there is concern. Even the sanitizing chemicals we put into our water can add to the problem. For instance when chlorine synergistically combines with the dead bacteria that it has killed, new forms of chemicals are created in the water called trihalomethanes, which are known carcinogens.
While most municipal water sources may not be considered contaminated by "legal" definition, the "allowable" levels of contaminants may not be to your own personal standard. For instance, many cities are supplying their tap water from the same lakes and rivers that they discharge sewage into. I have heard that some cities actually have legally allowable levels of used toilet paper fibers to be in their tap water. When considering human and animal populations, and the limited amount of water on earth, it has been calculated that each glass of tap water we drink has been consumed at least six times before. Isn't that a pleasant thought?
We used to believe that our water supply was unlimited and that nature would clean it for us. Now we know that we have a very limited supply of fresh water on this planet and that it needs environmental protection and sophisticated cleaning for safe consumption.
While some people are concerned only about taste, others are concerned about the health effects. In either case, given a choice, most people would opt to improve the quality of the water they consume.
The bottled water myth
I measured the bottled water display at a local grocery store and it was 90 feet long with water from the floor to as high as you could reach. A lot of this water is being purchased because of the increased press coverage on the nation's water problems. It is however being purchased foolishly by gullible people.
While most bottled waters have chlorine removed to improve the taste, I could write for hours explaining all the spin language on bottled water labels used to get you to believe that you are paying for some fantastic water.
Regarding cost, the water in this store ranged in price from 50 cents per gallon, up to $22.50 per gallon. This was dependent on the container sizes, how cleverly the bottle was designed, and the ingenious names given to the water to make you think it would be the best one to purchase.
Regarding quality, the truth is that bottled water does not have to meet any greater health standards than that of your existing tap water. In fact you could take your own tap water and sell it just as many of these companies do.
The bottom line is this, bottled water is not what you think it is from a health standpoint, and even at 50 cents per gallon it is very expensive, and bottled water is incredibly inconvenient to store or transport.
At just pennies per gallon, the cost of purifying your own water is far lower than purchasing bottled water. Purified water will also taste much better, as well as significantly enhance the flavor of food and beverages. Children also drink more water when it tastes good. Once people upgrade to purified water, they don't go back. We become spoiled…but in a good way.
Solving your own problem at the point-of-use
Because of my research and sampling water from many buildings, I became increasingly aware of the tap water problems and have personally avoided tap water for over 20 years now. I have done so by treating my water at the point-of-use so it is on tap whenever I want it. I also carry it in my vehicles and keep it next to my bed. Just like clean indoor air, clean water is another wonderful privilege.
Being that our water is susceptible to pollution from many sources and the health effects of consuming poor quality water are numerous, more and more people are deciding to use “point-of-use” purification systems, essentially meaning that you clean only the water used for cooking, beverages, and drinking.
It is simply impractical to treat water for an entire city when most of it is going right back down toilets, bath tubs, or used to water lawns. Therefore, if you want truly clean drinking water, the best option is to purify it at the very point where you are using it. And I do mean purify, I do not mean merely running your water through a filter that is attached to your faucet or a plastic pitcher.
Those companies pitching the cheap water filters will happily show you the long list of chemicals their filters will remove from your water. What they never show you is the even longer list of pollutants that their filters will NOT take out. That would not be good advertising. A true water purifier is designed to remove contaminants from all three types of pollutants, not just one or two like basic filters do.
Point-of-use systems come in a variety of technologies ranging from crude filters to high-tech purification systems. Any system you purchase should be tested and certified by the National Sanitation Foundation to obtain validation of contaminant removal claims. Typically you'll get what you pay for when it comes to ease of use, maintenance, and cost per gallon.
Purchasing a Water Purification System
I have researched all of the various technologies used to solve drinking water contamination problems. Of those technologies, reverse osmosis (RO) is the absolute most efficient method of purifying drinking water. There are however poor quality (cheap) versions of RO systems that must be avoided.
After looking into the different brands, their features and efficiency ratings, I believe the Water Factory reverse osmosis systems are the best by all standards. They provide the least cost per gallon, the easiest maintenance, and the highest quality end product. The Water Factory reverse osmosis system is what I use in my own home and provide for my clients because it makes the most sense. If you want to be happy from the beginning, I suggest purchasing a Water Factory RO System.
The Water Factory system is superior when it comes to contaminant reduction and is the most convenient regarding ease of use with water on tap at all times. The system is capable of producing up to 33 gallons per day if needed. They also fit nicely underneath the kitchen cabinet or in the basement below the kitchen.
Another big consideration is ease of maintenance. This is the only system with patented bayonet filter attachments. This makes hiring someone to change your filters unnecessary. Just a quarter turn and the old filter is removed, and a quarter turn and the new filter is installed.
Another very important consideration is the amount of rinse water that it takes to produce the product water. The Water Factory reverse osmosis systems feature an automatic shut-off built right into the system so the rinse water flow stops the moment your reservoir of purified water is full.
The uses for purified reverse osmosis water are many.
Food tastes more flavorful and the nutrient colors are not bleached out during cooking.
The flavors of juices, coffee, or tea are simply incredible.
Use 25% less ingredients when mixing juices or coffee because purified water draws out more flavor.
Baby formula is safer for babies with developing immune systems.
No calcification scale to clean in coffee makers, pans, or ice cube trays.
Ice is crystal clear, no off taste, and leaves no residue in your drinks.
Protects refrigerator water/ice makers and their solenoid valves from damage.
Steam irons and humidifiers do not get scale build-up inside.
The perfect water for use inside of batteries and automobile radiators.
Maintains healthy plants and extends life of cut flowers.
Purified water tastes great when cold or at room temperature.
The Water Factory Purification System
The SQC 3 Water Factory system shown above is the best choice for all residential and small business applications.
Your water purifier should be considered as an investment into your home and family. You'll want a system that will endure for the long term and require little operational cost.
The complete Water Factory system retails for $764.00. If you order one, I can have it shipped to you with a 15% discount, free shipping, and no sales tax if you are outside of Wisconsin. This is a total savings of approximately $175.00.
with those you care about.
© Copyright 2008 Indoor Air LLC, All Rights Reserved