How Do Water Filters Work?

What are Water Filters?

Water Filters remove unwanted impurities from water such as sediment, taste and odor, hardness, and bacteria to result in better quality water. From producing better-tasting drinking water to more specialist applications such as brewing coffee and making crystal clear ice, we offer a huge range of filters and cartridges to solve any number of water-related issues.

The 5 Types of Filters

Subject to your application, i.e. what you’re trying to remove or in some circumstances trying to stop, there are 5 types of water filters:Household Jug Water Filter

  1. Mechanical Filters
  2. Absorption Filters
  3. Sequestration Filters
  4. Ion Exchange Filters
  5. Reverse Osmosis Filters

Each one of these addresses a different water problem and many filters actually use a combination of these methods to perform multiple levels of filtration.

How Do They Work?

Water is one of the most important substances on the planet, it covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and the human body can contain as much as 75% of the stuff. Water is vital to a huge number of applications including agriculture, science, medical, transportation, heating, recreation, and food processing as well as washing, and perhaps most important of all: drinking.

For the majority of us, drinking water comes from a treated municipal supply that is safe to drink but will often feature unpleasant tastes and odors from chemicals such as chlorine which are used to disinfect the water and keep it free of germs and bacteria. Depending on where you live, you may also find that your mains water causes limescale deposits to form which can block pipes and damage appliances. These issues, chlorine taste/odor, and limescale formation are just two among a host of other common water problems which can be solved by water filtration. But how do water filters actually work?

Mechanical


The basic idea of mechanical filtration is to physically remove sediment, dirt or any particles in the water using a barrier. Mechanical filters can be anything from a basic mesh that filters out large debris to a ceramic filter that has an extremely complex pore structure for ultra-fine filtration of pathogenic organisms.

A filter that utilizes mechanical filtration will usually be given a micron rating which indicates how effective the filters are in terms of the size of the particles it is capable of removing. Common ratings you might see include:

  • 5 micron – Will remove most particles visible to the naked eye.
  • 1 micron – Will remove particles that are too small to see without a microscope.
  • 0.5 micron – Will remove cysts (giardia and cryptosporidium).
Wound Sediment Filter for Mechanical Filtration

Wound sediment filter with a 100-micron rating for mechanical filtration

 

Absorption

Absorption in water filters is most commonly carried out by carbon, which is highly effective at capturing water-borne contaminants. The reason carbon absorbs contaminants so readily is that it has a huge internal surface that is jam-packed with nooks and crannies that can trap chemical impurities such as chlorine.

Most common domestic filters contain granular activated carbon (GAC) which reduces unwanted tastes and odors by absorption. More expensive filters use carbon block elements which are generally more effective and usually carry a micron rating for particle removal.

A variety of different substances can be used to make carbon for filters including wood and coconut shell, with coconut shell filters being more effective but also more expensive.

Activated Carbon for Absorption Filtration

Granular activated carbon and a carbon block for absorption filtration

 

Sequestration

Sequestration is the action of chemically isolating a substance. Food grade polyphosphate is commonly used in scale inhibiting filters to sequester the calcium and magnesium minerals that cause limescale and corrosion. However, polyphosphate is generally only introduced in very small amounts and it only inhibits scale rather than eradicating it. This means that polyphosphate does not soften the water but instead works to keep the minerals within the solution, preventing them from forming as scale on any surfaces they come into contact with.

Due to the hard minerals still being present in the water, scale inhibition isn’t suitable for all applications. Instead, water softening using a process such as an ion exchange is usually recommended in water areas with alkalinity levels of 180ppm or more (very hard water) and applications where water is kept at a constant temperature of 95°C or more.

 

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is a process used to soften hard water by exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions found in hard water with other ions such as sodium or hydrogen ions. Unlike scale inhibition, ion exchange physically removes the hard minerals, reducing limescale and making the water suitable for applications where it is kept at a constant high temperature e.g. in commercial coffee machines.

Ion exchange is most commonly carried out using an ion exchange resin which normally comes in the form of small beads. A similar type of resin is used in some Water Softeners and in the case of a water softener the resin utilizes sodium ions which need to be periodically recharged to prevent the resin from becoming ineffective. As water filters are usually sealed units you would simply replace the filter with a new one though it should be noted that
Calcium Treatment Units (CTUs) can be returned to the supplier and regenerated.

Resins that utilize sodium ions aren’t usually used in drinking water filters as the amount of salt (sodium) that can be present in drinking water is legally limited to 200 milligrams/liter. As sodium ion exchange increases salt levels, a hydrogen-based ion exchange resin is the preferred option for filters.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is the process of removing dissolved inorganic solids (such as magnesium and calcium ions) from water by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane under pressure so that the water passes through but most of the contaminants are left behind.

Reverse osmosis is a highly effective way of purifying water and is usually combined with a number of other filters such as a mechanical (sediment) filter and an absorption (activated carbon) filter in order to return water with few contaminants remaining.

Reverse osmosis systems use water pressure to force water through the membrane so it uses no electricity, though a certain amount of wastewater is produced that has to be sent to the drain. The extra filters involved in multi-stage water filtration can make a reverse osmosis unit more expensive than other filtration methods but in applications where 99.9% pure water is required, RO offers the finest level of filtration available as is increasingly being used to treat water made for Coffee

Reverse Osmosis System

4 stage domestic drinking water reverse osmosis system

Combinations

Each filtration method has limitations on what it can remove, so most water filters or filtration systems use a combination of methods to achieve a specific level of water purity. To give an example, household water jug filters will generally use mechanical, absorption, and ion-exchange whereas inline filters will utilize mechanically and absorption with the possible inclusion of sequestration if the filter is designed to inhibit scale. Reverse osmosis systems can utilize mechanically, absorption, and of course, reverse osmosis depending on how many stages the RO system has.

By understanding the five different methods by which water can be filtered and the way they can be combined, you should hopefully find it easier to establish which kind of filters you need for any given application.

Water Filter Systems

Water Filter systems remove unwanted tastes and odors from mains water to provide clean, fresh-tasting water straight from your tap. Domestic systems such as a Watergem are compact and easy to install under a sink or small space. Commercial water filter systems are slightly different depending on the use in the kitchen or on the specialty equipment. Water filter systems come fully equipped with the kit to get you set up and tapped into the existing water line.

Watergem under sink water filter system

Watergem under sink water filter system

Coffee Machine Water Filters

Water is imperative in making the perfect coffee. Normal filtration rules don’t apply to the coffee bean which needs a very special blend of minerals before it will release its full flavor. This, complete with protecting and cleaning expensive espresso machinery means coffee machine filters are another level, luckily we are well equipped to handle coffee machine water filters

Inline Water Filters

Inline filters sit directly on the water line or appliance and the water passes through the filter before reaching the tap or appliance. Commonly used in households this type of filtration is perfect for under-sink installations due to its small size.

Inline filters can reduce common problems with municipal water such as chlorine taste, odor, and bacteria’s providing bottled water tasting water without the plastic waste. The Hydro + range of inline water filters is one of Europe’s top-selling filters.

Hydro Plus

One of Europe top selling filters

Drop-In Filters

Drop-in filters are made to fit inside of a water filter housing. Housings vary depending on the use but the most common sizes are 10″ and 20″. We also stock Jumbo housings and the Watts Big Bubba housing

Fridge Filters

Fridge filters are required to filter the feed water coming through to the drinking water and ice mechanism. Most commonly found on American-style fridge freezers, the size and compatibility of the filter vary depending on the make/model and style of the fridge freezer.

Water Filters for Commercial Foodservice

Combi ovens rely on good quality water for their steam. The chemical reaction of poor-quality water being heated to produce steam or hot water is a main contributing factor of causing limescale which can lead to breakdowns. Everpure Claris is one of the most trusted brands and supplies catering equipment manufacturers and their service partners tailored combi oven filters


Importance of Water Quality and Testing

Importance of Water Quality and Testing - banner image

Water Quality

The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world. Over 90 percent of Americans get their tap water from community water systems, which are subject to safe drinking water standards.

Drinking water quality varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives, but it must meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Community water systems follow the rules set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).external icon Many states enforce their own drinking water standards that are at least as protective as EPA’s national standards. The SDWA rules include guidelines for drinking water quality, water testing schedules, and water testing methods.

Even though U.S. tap water supplies are considered to be among the safest in the world, water contamination can still occur. There are many possible sources of contamination, including:

  • Sewage releases
  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (for example, fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes (for example, heavy metals, cyanide)
  • Malfunctioning on-site wastewater treatment systems (for example, septic systems)

In addition, drinking water that is not properly treated or that travels through an improperly maintained distribution system (pipes) may also create conditions that increase risk of contamination.

Private wells, which are not regulated by the EPA, supply drinking water to over 15 million homes. Well owners are responsible for keeping their water clean and safe. Visit CDC’s Private Wells page for more information on water quality of private ground water wells.

When water system officials find an issue with the drinking water supply (for example, that it has become contaminated), a water advisory may be issued to help protect the public’s health.

The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may be especially at risk for illness.

Water Testing

Best practices for water quality and testing - Professional Carwashing &  Detailing

The EPA sets standards and regulations for the presence and levels of over 90 contaminants in public drinking water, including E.coliSalmonellaCryptosporidium, metals such as lead, and disinfection byproducts. Learn more about these germs in the Diseases and Contaminants page.

Consumer Confidence Reports

Every community water supplier must provide an annual report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report, or “CCR,” to its customers. The report provides information on local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water.


Food security depends on water security – and we need to act now

The world is running out of clean, fresh water to feed—and nourish—a growing global population, ensure sustainable development, and maintain the health of our planet. There is not enough water—as currently managed—to adequately sustain the world’s population and end hunger and malnutrition. Therefore, better water management is crucial to global food and nutrition security.

Obviously, irrigation is key to increasing food production and farm income and improves resilience against weather variability. But water also affects food security and nutrition through other pathways. More precise irrigation management increases not just the volume but also the diversity of food that can be produced, including dry season crops and micronutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Improvements in the proximity and cleanliness of water sources and technologies for water extraction supports women’s empowerment and well-being, saving time and improving health. Effective management of multiple uses of water and wastewater reduces exposure to fecal contamination and the risk of infectious diseases.

To contribute decisively to ending hunger, water management, policies and investments must overcome daunting challenges. Rising global population, incomes, and urbanization are driving strong and diversified growth in food and water demand—and intensified competition for water within agriculture and across agricultural, domestic, and industrial uses. The global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, with by far the largest growth occurring in Africa and South Asia, where food security problems are the most severe. Meanwhile, rising incomes and urbanization will increase demand for meat and more nutritious diets—and therefore more water for livestock feed, and the need for more precise water management for fruits and vegetables.

Rapid urbanization also boosts water demand for household and industry, creating competition with irrigation in important water-scarce agricultural regions. That competition can turn into outright conflict, disrupting local livelihoods and triggering migration and transborder disputes.

Developing new sources of water to alleviate competition is difficult: the cost of developing water for irrigation and other uses is increasing, as the more accessible sources have already been utilized.

Even projected increases in global production of cereals of 37% between 2010 and 2050, meat by 66%, and fruits and vegetables by 85%, progress on hunger and nutrition will be too slow, Water scarcity could compound this problem, further jeopardizing production growth and continued progress on hunger and nutrition.

Climate change presents another serious challenge. Climate impacts across the entire water cycle could substantially slow progress on water management, agricultural production, and food and nutrition.  Increased variability in rainfall and streamflow, reduced rainfall in many dry regions, and thirstier crops due to higher temperatures will all require new policies and management to create more predictable and precise supplies of water. Sea level rise will lead to inundation and salt water intrusion in existing irrigated and rainfed areas, putting further pressure on the land base.

Intensive groundwater pumping for irrigation has depleted aquifers in many arid and semiarid agricultural regions, leading to saltwater intrusion and declining water tables. India’s Green Revolution, for example, relied on irrigation to greatly improve productivity, but it also massively reduced groundwater reserves.

Finally, water pollution in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors damages health and nutrition and reduces food production, constraining agricultural and economic development, especially in densely populated regions where water is already scarce and wastewater treatment is poor.

These global water security challenges are immense—as are the risks of inaction. But they can be overcome. If this vital resource is properly managed, it will be possible to meet both the food and water needs of current generations and begin building a sustainable, nourishing food system for the future.

The broad strategies outlined below can guide the design of regional and local priorities and begin to move the world toward greater food and nutrition security.

  • Water rights. The establishment of secure water rights is fundamental to improving water management. This means ensuring recognition of existing formal and informal rights and gender equity, to empower farmers and provide a framework for water management that is more effective and equitable. When small farmers have secure water rights, they know that they can retain access while investing in farm improvement, new crop varieties, and improved irrigation technology and crop management – all of which can change water use patterns. Physical controls on water usage, including rationing or quotas through enforcement of water rights, can maintain or reduce basin-wide water use after new technologies are introduced.
  • Incentives encouraging efficient water use. These include water brokering to water user associations (WUAs); paying farmers for reduced water use; and payment for environmental services to integrated soil and water management or upper watershed management that improves downstream water quality.
  • Reducing high subsidies for water, energy, and fertilizer use. These general support programs have caused overuse of these resources and environmental degradation. Cutting them can encourage the adoption of conservation incentives and practices, as well as the uptake of new technologies. The money governments save should be invested in increased agricultural and water research and development to boost productivity growth; in compensatory income support to small farmers; and in carefully targeted smart subsidies to achieve specific water management goals such as initial adoption of efficient technologies.  Thanks to rapidly increasing access to information and communication technologies, smart cards or phones can be used for the efficient transfer of compensatory funds to small farmers.
  • Reform education and extension systems. These should be overhauled to increase gender-sensitive farmer knowledge, disseminate information, and improve adoption of appropriate existing and new water technologies. Radio, TV, social media, mobile phones, and other advanced information and communication technologies can be used to reach farmers quickly and directly. Decentralized, demand-driven, and participatory extension services with increased participation by the private sector, NGOs, WUAs and producer organizations can engage farmers in programs whose goals coincide with their own.
  • Better data collection and mapping. Public-private partnerships are needed to develop satellite-based remote sensing and ground sensors to map groundwater and measure water availability and use; integrated information processing and dissemination of this information can inform real-time water and crop management decisions. In addition, increased public and private investments in infrastructure – including rural roads, cold chains, and water recycling and re-use – would reduce postharvest losses of food and water and increase farmer incomes.
  • Expand small-scale irrigation. Although some potential still exists for large-scale irrigation, the emphasis should be on selective investment in farmer-led small-scale irrigation, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara. This will require targeted access to credit, weather insurance, and smart subsidies during the initial adoption stage.
  • Reduce international trade and macroeconomic distortions. Addressing this problem will become more urgent as climate change increases the reliance of many developing countries on food imports. As water scarcity worsens and climate variability increases, imports of food (and the virtual water embodied in that food) will be crucial in water-scarce areas to ensure food security and to facilitate short-term term imports to address food shortages caused by weather-induced production shortfalls.
  • Promote balanced diets for health and sustainability. This should include encouraging more responsible water use through collective action across government and business. Schools can be a platform for early nutrition education, fostering healthy eating behaviors in school meals; corporations can convey positive health messages and promote healthier sourcing and products; and health and nutrition campaigns can improve diets and nutrition by carefully targeting populations, communication activities and channels, message content and presentation.

These policy reforms and investments will be difficult to implement and take time, political commitment, and money. Prevailing policies have strong constituencies that can be resistant to change. But overcoming these challenges will only get harder the longer they go unaddressed. The time to act on fundamental reform of water policies for food and nutrition security is now.

Mark Rosegrant is Research Fellow Emeritus with IFPRI’s Director General’s Office. This post first appeared on the Chicago Council blog. Join the Council June 13 for a related event: Water and Sustainability – The Coversation Continues


THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER FILTRATION

The Importance of Water Filtration

Water is such an essential part of our daily lives that many times we don’t stop to consider where it’s being sourced or the quality of it. We assume we’re receiving the best possible output. For many, tap water is deemed undrinkable, which is where filtered water comes into play. The importance of water filtration is that it gives people access to clean water that is free of contaminants, that tastes good, and is a reliable source of hydration. Without it, there’s the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water or the alternative of drinking other beverages that may not be as good for your health as purified water.

There are different types of filtered water but all offer the basics of the water purification process. This involves water that has been strained of harmful chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate the water. Although public water systems have filtration protocols in place, these vary from state to state. It depends on where your water supply is sourced from originally, the way it is treated, and the quality of water pipes. For example, older water filtration systems that use lead pipes may be harmful to the final dispersal of water because of lead leaching from the pipes into the water.

The main importance of water filtration is to prevent water-related illnesses and diseases. Infants, elderly adults, and people with poor immune systems are more highly susceptible to experiencing adverse effects due to contaminated water from the tap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the top causes of outbreaks in public water systems include:

  • Copper
  • Salmonella
  • Hepatitis A
  • E. coli
  • Norovirus

Any of these contaminants and heavy metals can lead to health problems such as kidney and respiratory issues, reproductive challenges, and cancer. A polluted water supply can also be harmful to your skin and hair. Lastly, depending on the quality of water, certain values may be outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended pH level. When this occurs, it leads to a chance of an increased measure of corrosivity that dissolves metal it comes into contact with and eventually becomes part of the water. Suffice it to say, the chance of drinking water that hasn’t been filtered of heavy metals and impurities isn’t a chance that many people want to take.

FILTERED WATER SOLUTIONS THAT REMOVE CONTAMINATION AND IMPURITIES

Fortunately, there are several ways people can get filtered water. A water filter has microscopic holes that remove sediment and pollutants from the water. The smaller the holes, the less it allows to pass through and the cleaner the water is. The way each type of water filtration system works is slightly different. The most common options are bottled water, at-home filters, reverse osmosis units, and alkaline water.

BOTTLED WATER

Billions of gallons of bottled water are sold yearly as demand for it continues to increase. Although perceived as an inexpensive, convenient filtered water option, it is more costly in the long run than other filtered water choices. The price of bottled water is nearly 2,000 times the cost of tap water and has vastly increased the amount of plastic waste affecting our environment.

Fortunately, many have begun to shift toward using reusable water bottles as an alternative. Having a filtered water supply readily available for use is a key factor in helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste filling up the landfills and oceans. People want clean water that tastes great and can be found conveniently at places where they frequent most often.

FILTER FAUCET ATTACHMENTS AND PITCHERS

These types of filters are easily obtained and are effective in improving the taste of tap water. They help to reduce lead and solids by using a filter screen to capture small particles. In some cases, these types of filtration solutions use a block of activated carbon that helps to remove unpleasant odors and tastes that might be present in your water.

When using either of these at-home options, it’s important to change the filter on a regularly scheduled basis. Failure to do so causes build up in the filters and the water that passes through may not be as clean as desired. Also, when it comes to the availability of filtered water using pitchers, they constantly need to be refilled and there is a period of waiting time until purified drinking water is available again. This is an inconvenience when using in larger households or in organizations where a large group of people is relying on a consistent source of filtered water.

REVERSE OSMOSIS UNITS

Reverse osmosis forces water through a semipermeable membrane using pressure. It ensures that the smallest of particles and chemicals cannot pass through, which leaves behind the purest of water. This filtration process can take a few hours to deliver a couple of gallons, which also can prove to be inconvenient. Additionally, the water used is approximately three times as much as what is treated and suitable to drink. It may remove more harmful contaminants than the average filter, but its efficiency is lacking.

For those who want to make sure their water is wholly free of toxins, this could be a valuable option. However, since it does such a good job of straining out all particles, it means any healthy minerals naturally found in tap water are often left behind as well. You get a pure water experience but compromise losing other benefits along the way.

ALKALINE ALTERNATIVES

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than typical tap water which helps to neutralize its acidity and effect on the body. There are DIY ways to make alkaline water, but the most common way is using a water ionizer. The purpose of this water treatment system is to raise its number on the pH scale.

A water ionizer uses electricity to separate water molecules into alkaline and acidic, keeping the former and removing the latter. People who suffer from acid reflux or want to reduce the acidity in their diet have found this type of water to be beneficial. However, health claims still lack solid scientific evidence that it works to improve health.

FLOWATER ADVANCED FILTRATION STATIONS

The technology of FloWater’s electric water delivery system tackles the importance of water filtration from several angles. It captures solids, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms from the water and filters them out. It also focuses on removing lingering odors and unpleasant tastes from tap water. Although these two filters work similarly to at-home filters, it captures up to 99% of harmful contaminants and is only two parts to a seven-step process.

The system also relies on an advanced osmosis filter to achieve the purest water possible. Plus, it neutralizes the water’s pH level through an alkaline enhancement filter. From there, it adds healthy components back to the water in the form of electrolytes and traces of essential minerals.

The process is then finished with a coconut carbon filter to remove any last odors or tastes to deliver a crisp, delicious finish. This extensive filtration process combines the filtered water benefits of other water treatments, adds to it, and provides it in one ready-to-go system.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM

The majority of people drink some type of filtered water. It’s best to consider all the factors when deciding which will work best for you. First is the performance. How well does the filter work? What percentage of harmful chemicals and particles does it remove? Does it add anything back to the water to boost its quality? Not all solutions deliver the same level of water purification.

The second thing to consider is the maintenance involved. How often do you have to change filters? Are there any other components that require attention on a regular basis to achieve safe drinking water? With at-home pitchers or faucets, the filters can become clogged after filtering a certain amount of water, which then deems them ineffective. It requires diligence and a continual cost to change out these filters on a constant basis.

The low-maintenance aspect of the FloWater Refill Station serves as another benefit that other choices don’t have. The setup is performed by a certified technician and the design has chemical-free, self-sanitizing features, such as a powerful drain pump and hidden catchment tray, to limit the amount of ongoing maintenance needed. The majority of customers who use the stations only require a filter change once per year. Third, of course, is the quality of the water itself. How does the water taste? How convenient is the system to use? The goal is to have the best-tasting water chilled to the perfect temperature available at all times. When servicing larger crowds in work environments, gyms, or other public areas, speediness is a factor and doesn’t have to come at the sake of taste. FloWater stations chill water to a crisp 42° and have a fast auto-replenishment feature that takes 9 seconds to dispense into a 24-oz. bottle. It hits all the marks: cool, quick, and convenient.

FILTERED WATER AT ITS FINEST

The importance of water filtration spans across all industries and households. Everyone wants cool, crisp water without the fear of contamination in their water. FloWater provides a convenient, environmentally-friendly solution to filtering water. It also adds back electrolytes and neutralizes the water for a well-rounded, high-quality product.

It’s no secret that staying hydrated is essential to everyday health. The better the quality, the more it encourages people to drink more water on a regular basis. It’s also important that the source of purified water is readily available on-demand. With so many options of filtered water available, focus on the one that meets the full range of what people want. You can control the quality of water by using a filtration system that delivers on all levels.


Importance of Water Filtration and Purification

Water is an absolute necessity of life. It takes about 60% of your body and is involved in many essential body functions ranging from regulating body temperature to flushing out toxins and protecting body tissues, joints as well as the spinal cord. Water also plays a critical role in carrying out many of the body’s chemical reactions. Without water, parts of your body such as the skin would lack its proper shape and fullness. This article will go into detail about the importance of water filtration so that you’re drinking the best quality of your water to keep you healthy.

696 Water Filter Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Importance of Water Filtration and Purification

Due to the high risk associated with impure water, the demand for water filtration has never been higher. Our natural resources are also under pressure, as we grapple with pollution, climate change, and a rapidly growing population. Unfortunately, tap water, which is meant to be safe for drinking, can be quite harmful as contaminants affect overall water quality.  Additionally, physical, chemical and microbiological impurities from various water sources make water even more unsafe for consumption.

Boiling water used to be sufficient enough to kill many germs and bacteria, making it safe to consume. However, things have since changed as boiling water, even for more than 20 minutes will not get rid of new age contaminants such as pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that find their way into our water sources. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the importance of water filtration, and purification options to keep your families drinking water safe. Water filters remove bacteria and harmful chemicals which can cause diseases and poor health. Here are some of the reasons to filter your water:

Reasons to Filter Your Tap Water

Drinking from the Tap vs Brita: Are Water Filter Pitchers Actually Better

  1. Filtering water can result in not only better tasting, but also better smelling water by removing chemicals, pesticides, chlorine, bacterial contaminants and heavy metals.
  2. Point-of-use water treatment filters remove a wide range of contaminants from drinking water including chlorine, chemicals, and up to 240 other volatile organic compounds.
  3. Research has established that water filters reduce the risk of certain cancers including colon cancer, rectal cancer, and bladder cancer by ridding water of chlorine and chlorine by-products.
  4. Carbon water filters are designed to selectively remove toxic contaminants from drinking water and still retain healthy mineral deposits that help to balance the pH of drinking water.
  5. By removing giardia, e-coli and cryptosporidium, water purification systems like reverse osmosis technology have been shown to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease by more than 80%.
  6. Filtered water is vital for children as it provides, clean, healthy water that’s essential for their immune systems.
  7. Water filters act as the last line of defense against over 2,100 known toxins that may enter the body through drinking water.
  8. Drinking clean, filtered water leads to general overall wellbeing and also helps to prevent disease.

Bottom Line

Benefits of a Filtered Water Dispenser | FloWater

Given the significance of water in sustaining life, it’s no surprise that access to clean water is a basic human right. Your body needs safe drinking water for it to remain healthy. Impure water, on the other hand, can be very deadly. That’s why the importance of water filtration is incredibly high. Water filtration experts at our service will be able to help you with anything ranging from whole-house water filtration systems to water softeners to improve the water quality in your home.


The Benefits of Good Water Quality

Water and Health Are Linked

Bad water is bad for you, but safe water is key to life — and good for you! Water has so many health benefits that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.

Water and health are linked. According to the CDC, the top causes of disease outbreaks related to drinking water are Giardia intestinalis, hepatitis A, norovirus, andShigella. Bad as that sounds, it’s far from a complete list. There are also health risks related to water contaminated with organic and inorganic matter, other bacteria and viruses and other pollutants.

Some studies link high levels of lead in drinking water to delays in physical and mental development, short attention spans, and learning difficulties in children. There’s also evidence that arsenic in drinking water can lead to nerve, heart, skin, and blood vessel damage. And Cryptosporidium is responsible for potentially life-threatening diarrhea.

Still, water is essential. The human body is, after all, 70% water, and although a human being can survive a month or more without food, a week without water can be fatal.

Good for Appliances, Too

Water Quality and Health Council

High quality water is good for your home and appliances. Softened water can save you money by keeping appliances at top efficiency, and making them last longer. The amount of dish and laundry detergent you use can be cut by half, or even more, if you use softened water. You can also lower wash temperatures from hot to cold without a drop in performance, according to two other independent studies.

A 2009 study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) and conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute found that adding a water softener helps water heaters and major appliances operate as efficiently as possible, while preventing clogs in showerheads, faucets, and drains. For example, researchers ran dishwashers and washing machines for 30 days and 240 wash cycles. They ran softened water through half of the units, while using a hard water source for the others. At the end of the month, the washers using softened water were nearly free of scale buildup, but the washers using hard water required scale removal to work well.

As for water heaters, the researchers found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years. Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent. Scale buildup shortened the lifespan of the heating elements inside electric water heaters, and some tankless water heaters using hard water failed after just 1.6 years.

The researchers found that showerheads performed well on soft water, but those running with hard water lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 months. When running hard water through faucets, the strainers on the faucets clogged within 19 days.

Studies conducted by the independent test firm Scientific Services S/D, Inc., of New York, revealed the following benefits of softened water:

What Is 'Raw' Water, and Should You Drink It? | Everyday Health

  • In washing machines, softened water can reduce detergent use by 50% and save energy by making it possible to wash in cold (60ºF) rather than hot (100ºF) water. Cold water washes with softened water achieved the same or better results when it came to removing stains and whitening fabrics.
  • In dishwashers, softened water can achieve the same cleaning results as unsoftened while using less than half as much detergent.

WATER QUALITY

AGRICULTURAL USES OF WATER

stream entering ag area

The USDA estimates that agriculture accounts for approximately 80% of the nation’s water use. In agriculture, water is used to grow fruits, vegetables, and raise livestock. Water is also used in agriculture for irrigation, the application of pesticides and fertilizers, and frost control.

PROTECTION OF WATER FOR AGRICULTURAL USE

The quality of water entering an agricultural area is extremely important for the area’s success. Too often, water quality is not suitable for agricultural uses. High salt concentrations limit the amount of water a plant can take up, resulting in high plant stress and decreased crop yields. High concentrations of metals also have negative effects on crop production.

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HOW AGRICULTURE IMPACTS WATER QUALITY

Agricultural practices may also have negative impacts on water quality. Improper agricultural methods may elevate concentrations of nutrients, fecal coliforms, and sediment loads. Increased nutrient loading from animal waste can lead to eutrophication of water bodies which may eventually damage aquatic ecosystems. Animal waste may also introduce toxic fecal coliforms which threaten public health. Grazing and other agriculture practices may intensify erosion processes, raising sediment input to nearby water sources. Increased sediment loads make drinking water treatment more difficult while also affecting fish and macroinvertebrates.

ag impacts


WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS

Water quality is vital for the success of agriculture, and in turn, proper agriculture management practices are necessary to meet domestic water quality standards and provide for ecosystem health. Cooperation between agriculture and domestic water users is necessary to provide adequate water quality for both parties.

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  GARDENING

GardenIn America, the average family uses about 400 gallons of water per day, 30 percent of that is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Unfortunately, inefficient watering practices can waste a lot of water on gardening and lawn care. When gardening it is important to know how much water your plants need and how often they need to be watered.

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Water Filter Basics

Homemade Water Filter Science Project | LoveToKnow

To learn more about the chemistry of the drinking water in your area, ask your utility company for a detailed report. If you want to go the extra distance (and cost), have the water tested by an independent laboratory.

For the most part, water provided by public utility systems is safe to drink. But whether you’re connected to city or well water, trace contaminants may give the water a discernible taste or odor. Categories of contaminants include rust, sediment, bacteria, heavy metals and other chemicals. Low-cost water filters will remove some of these impurities and can give the water a more neutral taste.

Among the most effective home water filters are reverse osmosis and distillation types. The reverse-osmosis type has a special membrane to block out impurities, whereas the distillation type turns the water to steam, then condenses it back to liquid, minus contaminants. These two systems produce the purest water, but they’re expensive, ranging in cost from $400 to $1,200. They can also be expensive to operate and maintain.

For DIYers, the best place to start is with one of several varieties of cartridge filters designed to remove particulate matter. These are less expensive and easier to install. Filter cartridges use fibers to trap rust and sediment. Some of the more specialized ones incorporate activated carbon to reduce odors as well as remove chlorine and bacteria. Some others also reduce lead.

Where To Buy Portable Water Purifiers Online

All cartridge filters require periodic changing of the cartridge. If the cartridge is neglected for too long, it will become saturated with particles and eventually begin leaching impurities back into the water. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your model.

The main varieties of cartridge-style filters are countertop (or faucet-mounted), whole house, under sink and icemaker filters.

The easiest filter to install is the faucet-mounted type. If you have a threaded faucet spout, you can install one in seconds and without using any tools.

Unscrew the aerator tip on the spout and attach the filter. Like the others, this filter’s cartridges should be replaced periodically as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. One drawback to this kind of filter is that it may put pressure on the O-rings and gaskets inside your faucet and could shorten the faucet’s life. Contact us for more information.


Choosing Home Water Filters & Other Water Treatment Systems

This information is designed as a guide for household water treatment, not a recommendation. Before installing a household water treatment system, contact your local health department’s environmental health group for consultation. Download A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for HouseHold Use. pdf icon[PDF – 1 MB]

Not all filters are created equal

Different water filters have different functions. Some can make your water taste better, while others can filter out harmful chemicals or germs. No single filter can keep every type of contaminant out of your drinking water, and not everyone needs a water filter.

The water that comes to your tap actually contains small quantities of many other substances. Some of these are beneficial, such as the appropriate amount of a disinfectant, like chlorine, that helps keep your water safe from germs and fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay. Other substances that might be in water can be harmful, such as lead and the germ Cryptosporidium. Filters can remove both good and bad substances from your water. Depending on your circumstances, filtering your water might not be a good idea.

There are many different types of filters available, and it can be confusing to decide whether you need one or which kind is best for you. In many areas of the world, the water is not safe to drink, so filtration is one option to protect your health. Here are some steps to consider when determining whether you want to use a water filter, and if so, what type and functions best fit your specific needs and preferences.

What are NSF ratings?
NSF ratings

NSF Internationalexternal icon is an independent organization that develops public health standards for products.  One way to figure out what a water filter does is to look for an NSF certification on the label. You can look up specific products in the NSF databaseexternal icon online to see what they are certified to protect against. Some of the NSF standards applicable to water treatments are standard 41 (taste and odor), 53 (cyst reduction), 58 (reverse osmosis), and 62 (distillation).

 

What is the “pore size” of a filter?

The pore size is the size of the tiny holes in a filter that let water through. Think of a strainer or colander: The smaller the pores, the smaller the contaminants they keep out. If a filter has an “absolute” pore size of 1 micron, for example, each and every one of the filter’s pores is 1 micron or smaller. This means that any contaminant larger than 1 micron, like Cryptosporidium, will be caught in the filter and will not go into the filtered water. Filters with a “nominal” or “mean” pore size of 1 micron have an average pore size of 1 micron which means that some pores are smaller and some pores are larger than 1 micron, so contaminants like Cryptosporidium can travel through the larger pores and into the water you filter.

Absolute pore size vs. mean pore size

 


Let’s Talk About Water: The Importance of Water Quality and Monitoring

18th September is World Water Monitoring Day, a commemoration intended to build public awareness regarding the importance of protecting water resources around the world.

On this day, people are encouraged to conduct some basic monitoring on the quality of water bodies near them and incorporate the results into an international database.

You might never hear the term water monitoring before, or you might have heard it but does not quite understand what does it entail. Worry not, because in this article we will talk about water and basic principles of water quality and monitoring.

Water: One Of Humanity’s Basic Needs

Water is one of the most fundamental needs to support people’s livelihood. Access to water and sanitation is even recognized by the United Nations as human rights, which reflects the crucial role of water in human lives. However, humanity is facing several challenges as water sources and availability become a pressing issue that needs to be addressed.

Water Scarcity

Do you know that less than 3% of the water covering the earth is freshwater? In other words, the other 97% of the water on earth is difficult to be accessed because it is either saline ocean water or freshwater that was locked away in the form of glaciers and ice.

Yes, our blue planet might not have THAT much of freshwater reserves for the 7 billion people (and counting) that inhabit it.

Water scarcity can mean scarcity in terms of physical shortage of water, or lack of access due to the failure of institutions to ensure a regular supply of water or a lack of adequate infrastructure.

According to UN Water, “water scarcity already affects every continent, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered.”

Some people have to walk many miles in order to get access to clean and safe water. Photo by Gyan Shahane/Unsplash

In fact, over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress (UN, 2018). Moreover, about 4 billion people, nearly 2/3 of the world’s population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2016).

This fact is alarming because humanity has been acting that water is an infinite source while in fact, it is not. We have been taking water for granted every time we turn on the tap, acting as if the water will never run out while in fact, our water resources are at risk all over the planet.

Children in South Sudan collect water from a submerged hand pump. Source: UNMIS via unwater.org

Water Safety

Another issue is water safety. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene are significant contributors to the 485.0000 deaths caused by diarrhea every year.

Source: World Health Organization

Moreover, globally, at least 2 billion people‘s source of drinking water is estimated to be contaminated with feces. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can enter drinking water in many ways such as sewage leakage, untreated wastewater that were directly disposed into water bodies, and even unhygienic handling of the stored water sources.

Water Quality: Defining Water that is Safe to be Consumed

Water quality can be defined as a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use, based on the following characteristics:

  • Physical: temperature, colour, light, sediment suspended in the water
  • Chemical: dissolved oxygen, acidity (pH) level, salinity, nutrients, and other contaminants
  • Biological: bacteria, algae, and phytoplankton.
Clear and turbid water becomes one of the parameters of water quality. Photo source: wbaconsulting.com

These parameters of water quality are relevant not only to assess surface water like the ocean, lakes, and rivers but also for groundwater and industrial processes.

Water Monitoring: Why and How

Water monitoring can answer some basic questions like the condition of our water bodies and resources, as well as whether that water is safe enough to swim in, fish from, use for consumption, or for irrigation purposes.

Water monitoring is important to make sure that people have access to safe water. Photo source: www.awwa.org

Furthermore, monitoring water quality is important in ways that it can help researchers to predict and learn about water’s natural cycle in the environment as well as determine human impacts on the process. These measurement efforts can also assist in restoration projects or ensure environmental standards are being met.

Simple Water Monitoring

On World Water Monitoring Day, organizations like the EarthEcho Water Challenge encourages people from all over the world to conduct simple water monitoring in their surroundings.

They provide test kits that can be ordered and used to monitor water resources. With the provided test kit, there are 4 characteristics that can be measured

  1. Temperature (in Celcius): Aquatic organisms such as fish, insects, and snails are sensitive to changes in water temperature. Consequently, they require a certain temperature range to be able to thrive. Moreover, temperature can also affect the amount of oxygen the water can hold.
  2. Turbidity (in JTU): Turbidity is the measure of the relative clarity of water, but should not be mixed with colour. Turbid water may be the result of soil erosion, urban runoff, algae blooms, and bottom sediment disturbances.
  3. Dissolved oxygen (In PPM or PPT): Dissolved oxygen, also known as DO, is important for the aquatic ecosystem. Most organisms need oxygen to survive. hence, water bodies with consistently high dissolved oxygen tend to indicate a healthy and stable environment.
  4. pH: pH is a measurement of the acidic or basic quality of water. The pH scale range from 0 (very acidic) to 1 (very basic), with 7 being the neutral point. Aquatic organisms need a specific pH level and might be greatly affected if the pH is either too high or too low, with most organisms prefer the pH range of 6.5 to 8.0.
Example of a datasheet for simple water monitoring. Photo source: EarthEcho Water Challenge Monitoring Kit Instructions

Protecting Our Water Resources

Now that we came to learn the importance of maintaining good water quality and monitor it, what are the ways that we can do actually help?

1. Use and Dispose of Harmful Material Properly

Do not pour or dispose of your liquid and hazardous waste down the drain, on the ground, or into sewers. This could seriously contaminate the soil, groundwater, or nearby surface water.

Be mindful of how you disposes some of the chemicals in your home. Source: wikihow.com

Some of these harmful chemicals are namely oil, leftover paints, household cleaners, and some medicines.

Instead, learn how to dispose of them properly and safely, both for your well-being and the environment. Find out about companies/organizations that can process these hazardous waste and learn to transport them properly.

Used cooking oil, for instance, can be sent to Waste4Change to be processed into biodiesel via the Send Your Waste program.

2. Limit the Use of Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Be mindful of the fertilizers that you use in your garden and opt for a natural and safer alternative instead. There are many simple and effective fertilizers that you can give to your plant babies that will not cause harm to the environment, such as compost from your organic waste or even eggshells.

3. Properly Maintain Your Septic System

Malfunctioning septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals to local aquifers and waterways. The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Moreover, septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years

4. Get Involved

After the pandemic is over, you can also join some cleanup activities in your environment or participate in a water monitoring program (if any). Volunteer in your community, or even organize one if there isn’t any.

Join your local water monitoring activities. Photo source: http://ourcanadaproject.ca/place/carden-water-quality-monitoring/

Collective activities like cleanup are important to raise people’s awareness of the issue and gather support for the cause that you care about.