To some "Water, Water, Everywhere!" is a comic story but to others in other parts of the world, it's not amusing. Despite its abundance on earth, water has been one of the scarcest commodities both in quantity and in quality. In spite of advances in technology, drought and water borne diseases are common place globally. Drinking water supplies are exposed to all sorts of contamination sources and therefore causing confusion among consumers about their water quality. On one hand we are lead to believe that drinking water is well treated and safe to drink, on the other hand we can see news reports about few inefficient water treatment plants, or operators who try to manipulate water testing results. Water advisories are common-advising consumers to flush their water before they drink when certain contamination is discovered.

One sort of relief is that EPA indicated in "Water on Tap" report that the "actual events of drinking water contamination are rare, and typically do not occur at levels likely to pose health concerns." But the report says further that "there are growing numbers of activities that can contaminate our drinking water." Drinking water supply (surface and groundwater) can be exposed to such contaminants from combined sewer overflows, sanitary overflows, stormwater runoffs, concentrated animal feeding operations, failed septic tank discharges, and a host of others. These contaminants range from fertilizer, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, toxic wastes, oil, adionuclides, and metals. (USEPA, 2003)

Contamination from the source

Drinking water supply is sometimes exposed to harmful contaminants right from the source. Disease-causing bacteria can get into municipal drinking water, well water, or contaminated ice. According to the 2002 CDC report, from 1985 to 2000, 251 outbreaks and 462,169 cases of waterborne illness related to contaminated drinking water were reported. Some of these cases were linked to surface water supply sources that have been contaminated by sewage. Some drinking water contaminations have been linked to Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) and raw sewage discharges into water distribution lines. Forty two percent of water water-borne disease outbreak was linked to Giardia.

EPA identified 59 CSO outfalls in seven states having outfalls within one mile of drinking water intake. Although the Report to Congress did not find any relationship between a CSO discharges from these outfalls and the transport of contaminants to the vicinity of drinking water intake, it says a more complex modeling is needed to do a better study. (USEPA, 2004)

Contaminants from home plumbing systems:

Water can be contaminated by lead in home plumbing systems. Lead contamination can lead to a variety of health problems. According to EPA, "in babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level of 0.015 mg/l can result in delays in physical and mental development." While it is rare that lead can contaminate water from the supply, lead can leach to drinking water from corroded pipes in homes that have lead pipes, joints, and solder.

How to obtain fresh tasting and healthy water - The good news is that advancement in water treatment technology has made it possible to remove these water contaminants from our drinking water. Although, technology has not caught up with the pharmaceutical water contamination, most water treatment devices can remove drugs that contain volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). According to the NSF International, although many of the NSF certified water treatment devices are specifically designed to remove pharmaceuticals right now "many of these products can help provide additional protection against wide array of other contaminants." Consumers have a wide selection of water treatment devices to choose from and you don't have to buy bottled water-which can cost you lots of money annually, to obtain healthy water. In fact, studies have shown that some bottled water contains some level of bacteria. This is because tap water and bottled water are not regulated by the same standards and the same agencies.

An NRDC study showed that one third of 103 brands of bottled water tested contained some levels of contamination which includes traces of arsenic and E. coli. (NRDC, 999). Also, home filtration systems can improve the taste or appearance of tap water at a minimal cost. According to an FDA Consumer magazine article "water purified with these products typically costs less than buying bottled water. According to Brita, its high-end faucet filter system provides water for 18 cents a gallon, a considerable saving from $1 or more typically charged for an 8- to 12-ounce bottle of water." (FDA, 2002)

Before you buy a water treatment device Experts recommend that you should find out what types of contaminants are in your water before you decide on which water treatment device to buy. Home water testing kits cost between $9.00 for single parameter to about $99, or more, if you want to test for multiple parameters. The bottom line is the cost of testing your water is less because you don't want to buy or be pressured to buy a certain water filter just because a salesman says it's good.

A typical water filter device is designed to treat one or more contaminants. Most water treatment devices are certified by National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International. NSF (not to be confused with National Science Foundation) is an independent third party organization that has tested and certified thousands of water treatment devices such as home water filter, softeners, and purifiers to confirm treatment claims. Once you have confirmed what's in your water and have researched two or three water filters, you should confirm claims of treatment by these water filter manufacturers, then, make selection for the best water filter or purifier. If the treatment device you find is not certified, call the manufacturer to find out why. Beware that a treatment device may be tested but not necessarily certified by NSF.

What choices do you have?

Again, your choice of a filter device will depend on what your test confirms. For most, using a water filter may not be an issue but for those with compromised immune systems, it may be a necessity. Different options are commercially available. You may purchase a point-of-entry (POE) water treatment device if you want to treat all the water coming to your house. A POE or a whole house water filter is installed at the water main where water enters the house which will require an experience plumber to install. A point-of-use (POU) device is installed at the points where water will be dispensed around the house. These types of devices come as undersink or under counter, countertop, carafe, showerhead, and refrigerator water filters.

A POE (whole house water filter) can be fitted with activated carbon and reverse osmosis filters in that order. Some come as multiple-stage units fitted with more than one series of activated carbon filter to protect the reverse osmosis filter. Multi-Pure ($629), Apec ($385-$469), Aquasana ($799) are some of the few POE filters that are NSF-certified.

Water softeners are ideal for homes with hard water. You may want to check with your local government is water softeners are allowed due to elevated chlorides discharge from softeners. Most wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove excess chlorides resulting in excessive violations of their permits. As a result, water softeners are being banned by some local governments. Prices vary for all types of water softeners.

For POU water treatment devices, countertop or tabletop water filter are available in various shapes and models. A tabletop water filter is ideal for home owners who do not want to tamper with plumbing, and for a tenant whose lease does not allow him/her to modify the plumbing system.

Undersink water filters require some plumbing work. This is ideal for water treatment at a single location in the house. Prices will depend on the models and type of filters in the device.

In conclusion, before you choose an appropriate water treatment device, review your CCR report or have your water tested. Consider the long term cost and health benefits and most important of all is to read the fine print. Research NSF-certified water treatment devices.

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water filter system - Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column