Who knows what evil lurks in your tap water? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its state partners are hard at work, spending a lot of money to do just that. In compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that was passed by Congress in 1974 to regulate the nation’s sources of public drinking water, testing and treatment with chemicals has led to the United States having the most sanitized water in the world.
The water we all drink is sourced from surface and ground waters that come from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, geologic formations, wells, and underground aquifers. This calls for specific types of treatment depending upon the water quality from any given source.
Impurities consisting of lead, nitrates from fertilizers, chlorides, silicates, aluminum, phosphates, minerals, dissolved gases, dissolved inorganic compounds, micro-organisms, and more can be filtered out. We now know that there may be dangerous levels of chlorine, fluoride, and even traces of prescription drugs that have been flushed, which all return to the drinking water supply.
Many people presume they can substitute bottled water as their source of drinking water. However, studies have shown that the ubiquitous plastic containers in which the purified water is bottled holds chemical properties proven to be hazardous to our health.
For instance, exposing these plastic bottles to increased temperatures releases polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), a known carcinogen. These PCBs also may be released when reusing the bottles after their structure has been undermined or cracked from use. There are several methods to purifying water beyond boiling or adding bleach to water stored in sterilized containers.
Carbon filters may be attached inline or used in a counter dispenser where water is gradually filtered through activated carbon to remove impurities and contaminants, including lead and nitrates, to produce filtered water for drinking and cooking.
One caution would be that these filters will reduce the pH in the water while not removing all of the toxins from the water. While not as effective at removing salts, minerals, and dissolved inorganic compounds, carbon filters are effective at removing chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and sediment. It is possible to have your plumber install what is called a Whole House Water Filter System that provides a long-lasting system addressing a multitude of impurities.
The exchange of ions between an electrolyte solution and electrolyte complex is a process of purification and separation. Decontaminated water is produced through the use of robust polymeric ion exchangers, also referred to as a water softening system. “Hard water” is evident from the calcification that appears on pipes or fittings due to the high mineral content in the water. While not as harmful to health, it takes its toll on the plumbing, water heaters, and limiting the ability of soap to form suds to clean effectively.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse osmosis (OS) works with filtration under applied pressure that allows purified solution to pass through a selective membrane after it has trapped larger molecules and ions. RO is most commonly used to remove the salt and other particulates from the seawater to produce water for drinking and cooking. The system consists of a sediment filter, activated carbon filter to trap organic chemicals, an RO filter, a second carbon filter, and possibly an ultra-violet light to zap microbes that might get through all this filtering.