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Water Treatment: Public Problems and Homeowner Options

water treatmentClean water is an essential part of life. Thanks to modern advancements in the plumbing and water treatment world, providing community-wide clean water has never been easier. However, things can go wrong with even the best water treatment plants. What can homeowners do when the community water system goes down? We’ll give you steps to take that can take to protect against the fallout of the city’s water treatment snafu. Before we get into that, though, let’s review the process that your water undergoes before it is lead to your home.

Public Water Treatment Process

surface waterYour drinking water follows a well-defined course from its source to the faucet. You can read more about basic water treatment in our previous post. Here’s the big picture.

Collection

First, specially designed equipment collects untreated or “raw” water from underground aquifers or from a surface water source such as a lake or river. Next, pipes transfer raw water to the designated water treatment facility. After that, the water undergoes a “pre-treatment” process. This process removes larger debris such as silt and leaves.

water treatment

Treatment

Once that pre-treatment is done, then the water will pass through a sequence of other treatment processes. These processes include filtration and disinfection with either chemicals or physical means. Disinfection helps remove and eliminate disease-causing microorganisms. When the water treatment process produces water ready for public consumption. Finally, the treated water flows out into the community through a network of pipes and pumps, aka the distribution system.

How Does Water Become Contaminated?

water treatmentJust because the United States is one of the most developed countries in the world, doesn’t mean it isn’t susceptible to water contamination. The catastrophe in Flint, MI represents one an unfortunate example of just how real water treatment issues become left untreated or unchecked.

Water contamination can happen anywhere, from larger cities to the smallest rural areas. Each problem is unique, which makes getting ahead of contamination that much more difficult.

water treatmentRural

When dealing with farming communities, agricultural runoff poses the greatest risk of contamination.  Water drains from farming fields as a result of irrigation, melted snow or rain. This runoff will likely contain pesticides, animal waste, fertilizers or even soil particles. All these contaminants can enter surface sources of drinking water such as lakes and rivers. Depending on circumstances, these same contaminants leach down into the groundwater supplies, or aquifers, and render them unsafe to drink. Treating groundwater is very difficult, and in some cases, an impossible venture, not to mention costly.

Industrial

The proliferation of industrial and manufacturing areas in metropolitan areas generates a substantial risk of water pollution. In larger and older cities, lead in the water supply still plagues residents. How does lead get into the water supply? Old infrastructure and aging deteriorated pipes contribute to this hazardous contaminant. A large number of industrial facilities also use freshwater to carry their waste away from their plant and deposit it into rivers, lakes and even oceans.

What Are the Risks of Drinking Contaminated Water?

Contaminated drinking water presents deadly risks. Each contaminant creates its own list of problems for unwary citizens. The Environmental Protection Agency provides a list of some of the most common contaminants and how they affect the population:water treatment

  • Lead: if consumed by children or pregnant women, it can lead to developmental problems and congenital disabilities.
  • E. Coli: E.coli, a bacteria that lives in human and animal feces, can enter water sources through human sewage or farming runoff. The symptoms of E. coli include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. If the case is severe enough, anemia, kidney failure, and potentially fatal dehydration can occur.
  • Pesticides and Nitrates: nitrates are components found in fertilizers. These are common water contaminants in farming communities. The most noticeable condition caused by nitrate contamination is methemoglobinemia, which is also known as “blue baby syndrome.”

What’s the Solution?

While the above information is scary and shouldn’t be taken lightly, there are steps that you can take to make sure your family has cleaner, safer water for your home.

Point-of-Entry Filtration System

Point-of-entry (POE) systems, also known as whole house water filters, connect with the main water line for your home. You will find the main water line where the water first enters your home from outside. The POE system treats the water so it can flow to every tap and every water-using appliance in your home. POEs treat wide-range water contaminants including iron, sulfur, chlorine and total dissolved solids. Depending size, POE systems last between five-to-seven years without needing a replacement. A POE does filter out a large number of impurities, making it safe for household and appliance usage. However, it does not filter enough for general consumption.

Point-of-Use Filtration System

Point-of-use (POU) filtration systems connect directly where the water exits the plumbing. For example, many homeowners install their POUs by a single water connection, usually under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This type of water filtration system is of lower capacity, making it a perfect option for light use application. Again, depending on size, your POU system can last anywhere from three-to-six months or in some cases, up to a year. The most common type of POU system, reverse osmosis, can be installed either under the counter or on the faucet.  Reverse osmosis filters use advanced filtration technology that removes up to 99% of water contaminants, producing the best quality water for consumption. As a result, reverse osmosis POU systems remain the most popular option in the large selection of POU products.

What does All This Mean?

Pollutants, accidents and human error continue to plague the water treatment industry. As a result, you shouldn’t rely on them to take complete care of your water. Water treatment facilities, in general, are a great starting place for water filtration. But, taking advantage of whole-house water filtration systems and point-of-use filtration systems is the sure-fire way to make sure your household has access to the purest water. If your home is missing one or both options contact us today. Let us help you on the right path to clean, crisp, delicious water.

Drinking Water Contaminants

Nothing is more refreshing after a strenuous work-out than drinking water. Although water is probably the most beneficial beverage on the planet, it can also carry significant health risks for the unwary drinker.

drinking water contaminantsWhat are drinking water contaminants?

Drinking water can contain millions of unexpected and unwanted particulates, compounds or even living organisms. The Safe Drinking Water Act defines the term “contaminant” as meaning any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water. Therefore, the law defines “contaminant” very broadly as being anything other than water molecules.

 

 

Common contaminants fall into a few basic categories:

biological

chemical

radiological

Let’s take a look at each type of contaminant and the problems they can cause.

Biological contaminants

drinking water contaminantsMicroorganisms

Cryptosporidium and giardia, the top two micro-organisms found in drinking water, can cause vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. Legionella, the third most common micro-organism found in water, causes Legionnaire’s Disease, a type of pneumonia.

Chemical Contaminants

Disinfectants

We add disinfectants to water to help control microbial development. The disinfectants  can cause eye and nose irritation, stomach discomfort and anemia.  Chlorine dioxide can cause anemia and nervous system effects in infants and young children.

Disinfection byproducts

Disinfecting water produces potentially harmful byproducts. Although the hazardous chemicals appear in small concentration, all of these byproducts have been linked to increased risk for cancer. Chlorite is associated with anemia and, in infants and small children, nervous system effects. TTHMS are associated with liver, central nervous system and kidney problems.

Inorganic chemicals

Inorganic chemicals are generally types of metals and come from a variety of sources including:

  • erosion of natural deposits
  • discharge from different types of refineries, industries, factories, mills, and mines
  • run-off from waste batteries and paints, landfills and croplands, fertilizer usage
  • corrosion of pipeline and water distribution systems including household plumbing
  • leaking septic tanks and sewage
  • leaching from ore-processing sites

Chemicals include antimony, arsenic, asbestos, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, cyanide, fluoride, lead, mercury, nitrate, nitrite, selenium and thallium. The chemicals cause a host of problems including high blood pressure, kidney, liver and gastrointestinal damage, skin damage and increased risk of cancer.

Organic chemicals

Organic chemicals are compounds that contain the element carbon. Carbon tetrachloride, benzene, and vinyl chlorides are just three of a long list of organic chemicals currently found in water supplies. A more complete list can be found on the EPA website. These chemicals pose a threat to almost every system of the human body including skin, nervous system, circulatory system, liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid glands, adrenal glands, reproductive system, eyes and stomach. In addition, they also put their victim at an increased risk for cancer.

Radiological

Radiological chemicals contain small degrees of radiation. They are produced by the decay of radioactive substances.

Radionuclides

The two most common radionuclides found in drinking water are radium and uranium. Both of these find their way into water sources through erosion of natural deposits. Prolonged ingestion of these contaminants can lead to kidney poisoning and increased risk of cancer.

Is your public system tap water safe?

Even public water supply systems are plagued with a variety of potentially harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. Although more regulated than private drinking water supplies from wells, public water systems frequently have outbreaks from contaminants.

Types of Contaminants

The CDC provides a list of the most common causes of outbreaks in the public water system.


Top 10 contaminants causing outbreaks in public water systems

Giardia
Legionella
Norovirus
Shigella
Campylobacter
Copper
Salmonella
Hepatitis A
Cryptosporidium
E. coli, excess fluoride(tie)

Sources
There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

Health concerns

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 immuno-compromised persons may be especially susceptible to illness. Many harmful contaminants are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA makes sure that water meets certain standards, so you can be sure that high levels of contaminants are not in your water.

Solutions

Whether your drinking water comes from a private well or a public water system it can be contaminated. But, there is good news. Scientists and other water specialists have developed a number of methods for treating water – from private and public sources. Be sure to look for the second installment in this series to learn about Basic Water Treatment.

Conclusion

Is your drinking water contaminated? You cannot tell just by looking at it. Let us help. Call Knoxville Water Treatment today and schedule your free water testing appointment.

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Water Softeners Part 3 Installation

water softener

                        problems caused by hard water

Time to install a water softener?

Scale build-up?

Bad taste & odor in water?

Stains on sinks, tubs, & laundry?

More scrubbing to get mineral deposits off faucets & shower heads?

If you’re experiencing any of these problems it’s time to get  your water tested.  A water softener system is the most cost-effective way to correct hard water hassles.

Once you’ve made the decision to install a water softener, you have some other choices to make.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS….

One choice will be the type of water softener you buy. Another will be how you will install the system. Many homeowners are comfortable with plumbing tasks and can do a DIY install. Others will want to enlist the services of a professional.

 

If you’re thinking about a DIY install, here are some pointers to get you started:

 

1. PERMITS

Be sure to check with your local building codes. Some locations require permits for installation of water softener units. They may also require emergency by-pass or shut-off valves. Local code requirements may affect your choice of system.

2. CHOOSE YOUR SYSTEM

Once you have the permit issue clear, your next step is to choose which water softener system you want to install. A multitude of online water softener sites provide an overload of information. You can get better information and more personal answers from your local water treatment service. We’ll help you evaluate your needs and get the best system for you.

soldering a copper pipe3. TOOLS

OK. You’ve gotten your permit and selected your system. Before you go to pick it up, or have it delivered, make sure you have the basic tools need to get the job done properly. Basic plumbing tools should be enough to get you started.

Pipe cutter      Pipe wrench      Torch & solder      Pipe fittings      Flex pipe tubing      Copper pipe           PVC solvent      Teflon tape      Elbow unit      Gloves and safety goggles     Pipe wrenches

4. CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION

Permit? Check. System? Check. Tools? Check. Excellent! water softenerNow you need to find a place in your house where you will install the system you’ve chosen. Things to remember when selecting the location for your water softener include:

  • Easy for you to access to install & maintain
  • Access to electrical outlet
  • Close to drainage (floor drain, standpipe, sump pump, or utility sink)
  • Connection must be before water heater split
  • Connection must allow softened water to water heater and inside faucets, but not to outside hose faucets

5. INSTALLATION PROPER

water shut off(Note: These are general installation steps. We like these DIY instructions for salt-based, reverse osmosis, and magnetic systems.)

Step 1: Shut off water to house.

Find the shut-off valve (usually in your basement) and close it. Now, open the lowest valve in your house water line to drain all water from the inside pipes. Once pipes are drained, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Cut the main line.

Use your pipe cutter to cut open the main water line where you’ve chosen to install your water softener.

Step 3: Connect by-pass or shut-off valve.

Follow manufacturer instructions to install the by-pass or shut-off valve. You should install this as a safety feature whether your local building codes require it or not.

water softenerStep 4: Tie in to water supply.

Use copper or flexible tubing and pipe fittings to connect water softener to main water supply.

Step 5: Set up drainage

Connect drain hosing to unit and clamp it in place. Feed the end of hose near where it will drain. Be sure to leave about a two-inch gap to prevent any backwash from contaminating the system.

Step 6: Connect brine tank (salt-based systems)

Connect the large backflow hose to the brine tank. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for details.

Step 7: Flush tank

Turn the valve into the bypass position and flush water through to clear any debris or sediment in the tanks.

Step 8: Add salt (salt-based system)

If you own a salt-based system, add salt to the brine tank following your manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 9: Turn on the water

Start by turning on a cold water tap somewhere in the house. Next, turn on the main line valve slowly until it is fully open.

Step 10. Plug unit in and set up timer

Plug your unit securely into the outlet. Follow manufacturer instructions to set timer on your system. Timer settings include time of day, hardness level of your water, and details related to the rinse and regeneration cycles of your individual model.

THAT’S IT! Enjoy your new soft water!!!

Knoxville Water Treatment knows that installing a water softener system requires a lot of work. If you have questions during your DIY installation, or if you decide you’d like a professional to do the job, give us a call today. We’re stocked with top-of-the-line water softener systems and offer free water testing. Get in touch today!

 

 

 

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Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

            Water, anyone?

Who doesn’t love a glass of cool, clear water on a hot day? Unfortunately, many people who go to their sink for a glass of refreshing, clean, clear water find themselves disappointed — or even kind of grossed out. Water taps across the country spurt odd-smelling water. The water often has unidentifiable particles of … well, something… floating in it and even sticking to the sides and bottoms of the glasses. No thanks! If this describes the water from your tap, it’s time to invest in a water filtration system. One of the most popular types of drinking water filtration systems is the reverse osmosis water filter system, or RO, for short.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

You usually hear about  reverse osmosis as a way to make ocean water drinkable by removing the salt.  Dictionary.com  says reverse osmosis is the process of producing pure water by forcing water with salt or other solid particles in it through a semi-permeable membrane. In order to really understand reverse osmosis, we need to talk first about regular osmosis.

Osmosis

Osmosis occurs when water moves through a semi-permeable membrane from an area of higher concentration of water particles to an area of lower concentration of water particles.

   Think of it this way:

You have one cup of fresh water and one cup of water with salt mixed into it. You pour the salt water into the left side of this U-shaped glass beaker. Then you pour the fresh water into the right side. A very thin plastic membrane filled with thousands of very tiny holes sits in the center of the bottom tube of the beaker. When you pour the cups of water into each side of the beaker, the fresh water flows to the side of the salt water.  The water level in that side of the beaker rises. This happens because there are more water molecules in the fresh water compared with the water molecules in the salt water. The fresh water moves toward the salt water to even up the number of water molecules.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis occurs when you apply  pressure to salt water. The pressure forces the salt water up against the membrane. The salt particles are too large to fit through the membrane openings and only the small water particles are pushed through. The membrane effectively filters out the salt and contaminants, allowing the now-clean water to pass through and mix with the fresh water on the right-hand side.

So how does all this work in a home drinking water system?

How reverse osmosis water filters work in your home

If you want to install a reverse osmosis system for your whole house, we can help with that. Most families, however, choose to start with a much smaller reverse osmosis water filter system that fits underneath the counter.

The reverse osmosis water filter system is connected to your water supply and the system processes the water  through a series of 3 to 6 tube filters before it passes into the storage container.  A separate faucet, installed on your sink, draws clean, filtered water from the storage tank. Some folks don’t want to install a complete reverse osmosis water filter system under their sinks. Most stores also carry a counter-top model of the reverse osmosis water filter system. This unit sits on the counter and connects directly to the faucet.

Now what?

Not sure if you want to try a DIY install for your reverse osmosis water filter system? Or maybe you need help figuring out what type of water filter system is best for you. Whatever your water purification needs, Knoxville Water Treatment can help. Give us a call today and start treating yourself to the best water you can get!

 

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5 Things Americans Take For Granted

It’s safe to say Americans take much more than just 5 things for granted, but this article outlines a few we can think about today. Maybe after you’ve read the article, you can think of a few more of your own, as well as some things you personally do appreciate.

Shoes

After seeing the feet of poverty, you’d never again take for granted your 5-20 pairs of shoes, some of which you’ve worn only a handful of times. Some of these feet walk on hot black asphalt in the dirtiest streets, they wear shoes that do not fit, inappropriate shoes like sandals in the winter, and holy out-of-style tennis shoes from 1980.

Clean Water

Clean water is such an issue for some parts of the world that well over 10 blogs and more organizations dedicate their platforms to the cause. In some parts of the world, having water that is safe enough to brush your teeth with it, is a blessing. Even natural sources of water across the globe are unsafe to drink from without requiring medication afterward. In some parts of the world, heat and dehydration are so much a daily threat to their residents, that they must carry around a gallon of clean drinking water to survive.

Transportation

Some folks in other countries cannot leave their homes when they want to, sometimes due to law, obligation, or a lack of transportation completely. Yes, there are parts of the world where no one has a car! In some places, your opportunity to leave may come expensively and in the form of the most crowded bus you can imagine, with people sitting practically on top of one another. One person of that many is bound to stink up the bathroom during your voyage and you will absolutely endure the smell of sweat and body odor for the duration of your trip, too!

Public School and College

 

Almost 70% of high school graduates in the United States now enroll in post-secondary education systems (colleges). You’d think that this 5 million enrollment increases in the past 15 years would mean that the American people have increased the sense of value they associate with their education, but that’s not the case. While young men and women in other parts of the world have no access to education from even Kindergarten through high school, Americans are paying for alarmingly high tuition and not even attending their courses!

Waste Management Services

More than half of the world’s nations don’t have access to regular trash pick-up while Americans produce 236 tons of waste annually. This data puts us as the #1 most wasteful country in the world, second is the Russian Federation (207.4 tons), and then Japan (52.36 tons). Concerned advocates of people and the environment call it a crisis because the consequences being overlooked are the pollution of nature, adding to the public health’s vulnerability, and sometimes drowning poor country’s in our relocated waste.

It’s easy to forget how easy and care-free our lives can be in America when daily, we coast without interruption, but consider the effects of your ungratefulness on a larger scale. Our attitude has and will continue to effect other countries. Your effort, whether for change or for staying the same, will effect others and finally, make its way back to the states and your backyard, or your future generation’s backyards. What are you grateful for today? Take a moment to reflect on all that you’re blessed with!

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Important Minerals In Drinking Water

Minerals are important for the body to intake to function optimally. They assist in controlling bone growth, regulate all the body’s fluids, balance nerve and muscle functioning, maintain metabolism levels, grow connective tissues, and so much more. It’s debatable that all of our minerals are obtained from drinking water, a common misconception. Most of our minerals are actually absorbed through our food and a proper diet, so you don’t have to fret between drinking tap or bottled water in this regard (because many believe bottled/purified water is void of essential vitamins and minerals). You would need to drink a full bathtub of water each day to receive adequate minerals. You can get all you need from eating a balanced diet. You will, however, want to be sure your water is as safe and pure as possible for drinking and using on and inside your body.

The minerals found in our drinking water are typically inorganic minerals that can actually be harmful to our health. Over time, consuming minerals the body has no use for can be slow to process and be unwantedly stored in tissues and our organs, eventually becoming a toxic buildup. The most harmful among them are calcium salts that later can cause gallstones, kidney stones, joint and bone calcification, arthiritis, and hardening and obstruction of the arteries. Organ failure and cancer development, too, have been known to develop in long term exposure cases. This mineral can be found n both tap and natural spring water, so it’s an element that would need to be specifically tested for. Food minerals are much easier for our bodies to use and digest and are never toxic.

If now you stand corrected on the point of water not containing our necessary vitamins and minerals, where do you get them? Well first, you must know which minerals are essential: Calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Calcium is conducive to strong bones and teeth, and also plays a significant role in the digestive system. You can find adequate supply of calcium in foods such as nuts (almonds), greens such as broccoli, kale, and spinach, dried apricots and figs, seafood, and dairy products.

Iron produces white blood cells and supports the immune system. Foods rich in iron are apricots again, raisins, figs, beans and lentils, eggs, greens, lean red meat, seafood, and whole grains.

Magnesium’s job is to regulate potassium and sodium levels in the body that help you to control your blood pressure. It also assists in the absorption and digestion of vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is found in apricots, figs, bananas, brown rice, whole wheats, green leagy vegetables, peas and sweet corn, lean meats, milk, and yogurt.

Zinc is a antioxidant that helps with replenishment and a healthy immune system. You can find zinc in foods like brown rice, whole grain bread, cheese, seafood, and duck, goose, lean red meat, and turkey.

Now that you know which minerals are essential to your body’s optimal functioning, that your water is not the most important source for them, and which foods to get them from, all you need to do now is properly filter the water you do have. You can perform a simple at-home test or call a professional to have your water quality evaluated. It will be tested for harmful contaminants such as flouride, arsenic, chromium, perchlorate, heavy metals, bacteria, and viruses. With this information, you’ll be able to pick out a water filtration system that works for you and your family!

So remember to eat a balanced diet with some of the suggested foods from this article and drink the cleanest water possible!

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The Importance of Consuming Water

You’ve heard about the importance of consuming water because you are mostly made up of water, but it’s always great to have a reminder to get us back on track to hydration and its benefits. Here is a thorough recap on why you should drink adequate amounts of water daily and its importance to the wellness of both human beings and the world.

So, it is 60%, that your body is made up of water. You brain alone is made up of 70% water, and your lungs 90%. Water is crucial to your body’s optimal functioning. First, you’ll notice that it cushions and lubricates joints for ease of use and minimal chance for injury. It protects and nourishes the brain, keeps the body temperature balanced, and aids you in waste removal through sweating, eliminating, and urination. Per day, 2.5 quartz is lost and needs replenishing through foods and liquids.

Human beings are said to have originated as single-cell organisms in the oceans millions of years ago, which would explain why we are made so much of water. If you lacked water consumption, you would probably last no longer than a week, they say. It’s more important to your health than food is, which you can go without for an entire month before it’s lethal. When your body is void of water it produces less blood, forcing your heart to pump harder to maintain its systems. As the state of dehydration becomes worse, you will become clumsy and tired without adequate oxygen to the brain and muscles. Your eyesight may become unpredictable, and in the final stages, you will feel nauseous and vomit. Complete dehydration will put you in a coma and you will die.

There is an instance you can also consume too much water. This condition is called Hyponatremia and it describes the occasion when too much water floods your cells and causes them to expand too much. Swollen brain cells can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headache, nausea, stomach pain, confusion, seizures, fatigue, come and death (just like dehydration). Who would do that though, you ask? Hyponatremia has killed a number of marathon runners.

Let’s address some myths about water now. Both the 8 glasses of 8 ounce water a day requirement and the only water, no caffeine or alcohol rule, are myths according to Dr. Heinz Valtin of Dartmouth College Medical School. His documented studies in the American Journal of Physiology showed no evidence of needing this requirement, and he did find evidence that beverages such as beer could contribute to your level of hydration.

Just Enough

Knowing your body is the best way to know how much water or fluid to intake per day and even then, the amount will differ based on your activity level and other factors. Try intaking fluids and food much slower and see if your body tells you when its had enough. Otherwise, British Broadcasting Corp. recommends you drink between 6-8 medium sized glasses of fluid daily, and this can include fruit juices. Looking at the color of your urine can also be an indication of a healthy or unhealthy level of hydration. Dark yellow urine is not good, but straw colored yellow urine or lighter is great.

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HOW A MUNICIPAL WATER DISASTER CAN HAPPEN

A municipal water disaster can present itself without warning. The potential for adverse health effects can be great. Contact your city’s municipal water department for the latest report on the safety and quality of your water. The following are examples of water disasters that took the residents of these cities by surprise.

Most recently the Flint Michigan water disaster comes to mind. Flint had switched using the Detroit water system to using the Flint River. Soon after, high levels of lead were detected in tested homes. The water from the river was corrosive to the city water pipes which leached lead into the water supply. Lead poisoning can cause organ damage. In children it can cause brain damage.

Our nations capitol Washington, D.C. faced a water crisis when it was discovered that their lead levels were unacceptable. It was found that the change from using chlorine to chloramine caused premature pipe corrosion resulting in lead leaching into the water supply.

Cryptosporidium, a parasite, lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals. Feces from hosts can enter municipal water supplies by farm runoff and storm water. Milwaukee Wisconsin had a cryptosporidiosis outbreak in 1993 which caused illness to 400,000 people. Of which at least 69 people died. This incident became the largest documented waterborne disease outbreak in U.S. History. Cryptosporidium oocysts are tiny and were able to pass through the water facility’s filtration system. Milwaukee has put in place practices that has improved water quality security including water monitoring equipment and updated filters.

In 2014, the Toledo , Ohio metropolitan area residents were under an order not to drink or cook with the water. Samples taken from a water treatment plant indicated a toxin call microcystin. This toxin was a result of a large bloom of algae on Lake Erie. Microcystins form with the conditions of warm stagnant water and oversupply of nutrients. Fertilizer runoff from cropland contributing to the process. Ingestion of this toxin can cause liver damage.

It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have an emergency supply of water in an event of a water crisis. Your water supply should include one gallon of water per person for three days. Ideally This water should be commercially bottled and sealed to ensure its safety. Rotate out bottles with close expiration dates. Include extra water if you have pets.

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Good Water Makes Good Coffee

For many people, the first thing they consume in the morning is a cup of coffee. A good cup of coffee would taste like coffee and look like coffee. A good recipe for good coffee starts with good water.

Good water can come right out of your kitchen faucet. If you’re lucky. Water hardness can vary depending on your geographical location. Water quality can vary from town to town. Call your water supplier for the most recent water report to learn how good your water is. The water report should also tell you how hard your water is. The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires the monitoring of 91 contaminants.

You know you have hard water if you see mineral deposits on your pots, sinks, and toilets. Hard water can leave whitish deposits on your coffee maker parts that do not wipe off. These deposits are from calcium and magnesium and do not pose a health risk. Over time mineral deposits can clog the tube and drip arm resulting in an uneven or failed brew. These minerals can also leave a slime floating on top of your coffee. Clean your coffee maker by running vinegar through a brew cycle. Be sure to run a cycle of water through after that to rinse the vinegar out.

Water that makes bad coffee? Pretty much the same culprits that make bad tasting drinking water can make bad coffee. How about hydrogen sulfide, that rotten egg smell. The presence of iron can give your water a metallic taste. How about too much chlorine?

Coffee shop chains use a filter system that treats their water so essentially a cup of their coffee tastes the same no matter where the coffee shop is located.

A better cup of coffee for you might just involve using a pitcher type water filter product. These can reduce chlorine taste, odor, and contaminants. Be sure to read the instructions on how often to change the filter. Keep the pitcher and parts clean and store your water in the refrigerator to inhibit bacteria growth.

Using bottled water can make a good cup of coffee but the expense makes this not such a good idea. Lugging several gallons of water from store to car to house can be a lot of work.

If you need a more advanced filter system call your local professional water treatment company for their advice and solutions. If you already have a water system in place a regular inspection is a good idea to make sure it is working properly and maintained correctly.

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3 Tips to Save Money With Water Purification Devices

Some of the water purification devices on the market are not really purifiers, at all. If you aren’t careful about which water purification device you choose, you could waste a lot of money and end up with little or no protection. Here’s how to tell the difference.

1. High Priced does not always mean high quality.

Most of us are used to paying more to get more, but when it comes to a water purification device; price has nothing to do with quality. The most expensive systems on the market include a reverse osmosis (RO) step.

Now, I’m talking only about systems that are designed for use by homeowners with a public provider. If you have a private well or other private source, you need laboratory testing to determine contaminants and then you can design an effective system.

If reverse osmosis is your only choice to remove specific contaminants, then you will also need to include other steps. Some companies’ advertisements make it seem that RO is all that you need, when nothing could be further from the truth.

People who are serviced by a public provider do not need an RO step in their water purification devices. There are less expensive, more effective options.

2. Low Priced might not do the job

On the other end of the spectrum are cheap products like the Brita water purification device. While the system does remove chlorine and some other common contaminants, it does not remove chlorine byproducts, commonly referred to as THMs.

THMs or trihalomethanes are known carcinogens. For many years, we were told that the amount released during the chlorination process was safe for consumption. The first studies that showed an increased cancer risk from this level of consumption were withheld from the public.

Now, we know that one of the reasons we need water purification devices in our homes is because of THMs and the increased cancer risk that accompanies them. If a water purification device does not include a multi-media adsorptive block, don’t buy it. No matter how cheap it is, it is still a waste of money.

3. The Best Water Purification Devices.

The best systems include several steps to remove the widest range of contaminants. First, granular carbon to reduce chlorine and other chemical contaminants, then a multi-media block to further reduce chemicals and get rid of the ones that are not trapped by carbon, alone.

The block should have a sub-micron sized porous structure to prevent water from circling around the granules, which would result in less effective contaminants removal. The structure also removes illness causing parasitic cysts that can be deadly.

The best water purification device also includes an ion exchange step to remove lead and other metallic ions. Heavy metals are exchanged for potassium and sodium, to both improve the taste and the healthfulness of your water.

These are not the most of the least expensive systems. The price is around a hundred dollars for a kitchen counter top purifier. People who install water purification devices like these save thousands of dollars per year by not buying bottled. It’s the safest and most economical choice for your family.