Water Treatment for you home

Water Contamination

Water contamination (or microbes) can be found in many water sources. Many of these microbes are harmless and are no threat to our health. Some of these microbes, however, can be very dangerous, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have compromised immune systems.

When we talk about safe water, we mean that the water contains no contaminants that may damage our short- or long-term health.

Water Contaminants

Water contaminants can generally be grouped into three groups: suspended solids, dissolved solids and microbiological concerns. These may not be the only classifications, but cover the vast majority of problems encountered in water supplies worldwide.

Suspended Solids

This describes material that exists in a suspended (insoluble) form in water, which will typically settle on the bottom of a glass or bottle as visible sediment. This type of contamination is very common in surface waters, such as rivers where water movement generates high turbidity. To remove this type of contamination, the physical method of filtration is employed. Different filter pore sizes allow for removal of particles to specific “micron” (millionth of a meter) ratings.

Dissolved Solids

This contaminant refers to material dissolved in the water. The solids are chemically dissolved as part of the water, and their concentrations are measured overall as total dissolved solids (TDS), and the maximum concentration allowed in drinking water is usually around 1000 ppm.

Total dissolved solids is a general measure of all solids dissolved while more detailed analysis will report the levels of individual dissolved species (for example, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonates, and nitrates). Dissolved solids are generally in the form of “ions”, cations carrying a positive charge and anions carrying a negative charge.

Microbiological

This type of contamination is a major challenge in many parts of the world where water distribution systems are lacking or not in a good state of operation and where water is stored for use in drought conditions. In these situations, the primary concern is to eliminate illness-causing pathogens that may be present in the water, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. In these same areas of high heat and humidity, reproduction of harmful organisms is often very rapid.

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Giardia

There are three main problem microbes that are often found in private well water sources that can cause illness in humans. These are Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and e.coli. Most people are aware of e.coli, as it’s often discussed in the media as a food contaminant, but it is also a water contaminant.

E.coli is a type of Coliform bacteria. Coliforms are bacteria that live in the intestinal tracts of animals, and any type of coliforms in the water is an indicator of some kind of fecal contamination of the water. Not all coliforms are dangerous, but the presence of them in a water sample indicates that there is a possibility that some of those coliforms could be e.coli.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium are both organisms that live in the intestinal tracts of animals. As part of their lifecycle, both of these organisms are flushed out with feces and form an extremely difficult-to-penetrate cyst to protect them, even in harsh environments. These organisms can persist, even in cold water, for months in the environment until they are ingested and start the cycle over again.

They can be an indication that fecal contamination is in the water, either from flooding events, bad well construction, septic or a myriad of other reasons. Both of these microbes can cause illness, and in children, the elderly, or immune-compromised people, they can be serious illnesses. Because of their protective cyst coatings these organisms are highly resistant to chlorine water treatment.

Ultraviolet disinfection eliminates all of these microbes in water without the use of harmful chemicals that can create disinfection byproducts. It can combat chlorine-resistant microbes, and does not change the taste or odor of water.

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The quality of your drinking water can change from day-to-day, season to season. Even if your tap water is safe today, contaminants can infiltrate wells and aquifers, and aging infrastructure can lead to an increased risk of contamination. In fact, boil water advisories are becoming more and more common, even in large cities.

Not all water disinfection technologies are created equal. For example, chemicals can be both dangerous to handle and potentially hazardous to the environment – and some waterborne illness-causing microbes are chlorine-resistant. Reverse osmosis wastes on average three gallons of water for every one gallon it purifies, and is no longer recognized as a barrier to microbiological contamination. Filters can improve taste, but they generally don’t treat microbiological contaminants. 

There is an option that addresses all of these issues: ultraviolet (UV) disinfection or UV water treatment. 

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Water Softener

Installing a water softener in your home can save your family a lot of money. Soft water has greater washing power, meaning to use fewer cleaning products like laundry detergent and dish washing soap. More importantly soft water can extend the life of your expensive household appliances by up to 30%. Hard water can also cause significant damage to your home’s plumbing system which can be difficult to repair.image2

Many people don’t like the way hard water feels on their skin and hair. Hard water can cause water stains and mineral build up that can clog pipes and shorten the lifespan of appliances like dish washers, water heaters, and washing machines.

Soft water leaves your body feeling cleaning and not as dry. Soft water also allows your dishes to clean more easily and makes your softer and cleaner in your washing machine.

 

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