Appalachian Water, Air and Soil Analysis, Inc.
Home Water Filters
Standard home water filters are like sieves. Imagine a sieve with openings about the size that might be found in a window screen. It is pretty clear that these openings are small enough to retain small rocks, gravel, clumps of dirt and any other debris that is larger than the openings in the screen. But would they hold back sand, or would the sand pass through? If the sand grains were very large they may not pass through easily but if they were fine they would pass right through, just as sugar grains, or salt grains, etc.
Now imagine that large particles (by microscopic standards) include the sediment that comes from a well or water distribution system. The “grit” and muddy silt that you might find in a creek or river that has been disturbed by a heavy rain. This grit is what the “screen” will hold back. But particles such as parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, iron reducing bacteria, sulfur reducing bacteria, slime forming bacteria, blue-green algae, pseudomonad’s, Legionella, and others would pass right through this screen as would all viruses (which are even smaller than bacteria). So the water filter acts to screen out only the large particles, and those do not include the organisms that are dangerous to our health nor any chemicals.
So how do you know if these organisms are present and passing through your filter? Well it is almost certain that some, if not many of these bacteria are present. Testing is the only way to know which are present and if they are getting through the filters you have and coating the water purification devices you have purchased. Some of these bacteria are natural inhabitants of the soil but will not grow if their chemical food is not present. So testing for certain chemicals is also important. Knowing which bacteria are present tells us what disinfection / purification procedures will work and which will not.
One very good reason to test, even though many of these species are NOT pathogenic to man (disease causing) is because they grow in your water distribution system, in your house, in your water heaters, toilets, pipes, water tanks, pressure tanks, and many other places and create a biofilm – just like plaque on your teeth. This biofilm can grow very rapidly to levels that will prevent many types of purification devices from working properly. The water can be clear, odorless and tasteless, yet still have over 100 thousand bacteria per fluid ounce.
Another good reason to test, is that the presence of such biofilms allows for the growth of microorganisms that ARE PATHOGENIC to man. It has been demonstrated that Legionella pneumophila, the cause of legionnaires disease (a pneumonia) thrives on these biofilms. Also, some bacteria and cyanobacteria produce and release metabolic products that are toxic to man or feed fungi that can then grow and cause medical problems. Also, some of these bacteria can produce very powerful corroding compounds such as sulfuric acid, which can etch away plumbing, fixtures, seals, pumps, purification devices etc. creating leaks and other problems.
You might think that if you get your water from a municipal water treatment system that there is no reason to test. They already test at the water treatment plant. True, but the plant is a long way from your house and most water distribution systems are not water-tight and have many places where bacteria can enter the system. The water is chlorinated at the plant to help prevent such growth, but it cannot stop it entirely, and chlorine levels always fluctuate, often dropping below levels that disinfect and prevent bacterial growth. If you have periodic drops in water pressure at your home, you are especially susceptible to this kind of contamination.
Do your toilets develop a ring that looks like this? You definitely have bacteria and/or Fungi growing in your home water distribution system (plumbing). Even the best housekeeping will not keep them out of your drinking water, shower water etc..
They come in through your well or your municipal water supply and can create serious biofilm buildups in your distribution system, water heater, and all water-utilizing appliances. Want to find out if they are posing a health risk? Want to get rid of them? Call us now!!!
Call Now: 706-219-3349
or Toll Free: 1-866-626-1716
By the way, this is the same water you are drinking!!!
How would you know? You would not know until enough chemicals, or bacteria or parasites or fungi entered the system to make you immediately sick. Long before that happens many of these bacteria have been growing on your activated charcoal filter, your water heater walls and heating elements, your toilet tank, your mechanical filters, your reverse osmosis membrane, to make them essentially ineffective or significantly increase power consumption and reduce appliance life. Testing for these bacteria can let you know whether or not an additional stage is needed to protect your purification system and make it work effectively, or whether there is no reason to be concerned. With proper treatment you can reduce the organic matter going to your distillation apparatus, make your ultraviolet light disinfection system work effectively, prevent bacterial growth on your activated charcoal filtration system (one of their favorite places to grow) make your chemical disinfectants work properly (instead of being inactivated by large amounts of organic matter produced by bacteria). If bacteria are found, a single shock chlorination of a well-based system, or a single stage added to an in-house purification system can be enough to permanently prevent problems.
Testing provides the information needed to decide whether or not bacteria are present, whether they can be controlled by nutrient limitation, which bacteria are present and thus what purification technology will work, and can assure you of a drinking water quality that exceeds the best municipal, well, or bottled drinking water. The money saved by not needing to buy bottled water alone will return all cost in less than one year, and the additional money saved through energy conservation and longer appliance life is an added bonus. See our section on how to choose which tests to request on a first water test.
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No laws require it to be purer than tap water: In 1991, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Commission did a study on bottled water with the following findings:
Also: From Consumer’s Report
Bottled water is controlled by the same regulations as drinking water and in addition some rules by several other agencies. And like drinking water it can vary a great deal in quality and substance content.
Why take a chance on borrowing problems from a distant source (water that has been shipped in from other locations) about which you know nothing, when you can find out the precise composition of water from your own systems (by testing) and correct any deficiencies, and produce better water than you can get in most bottled waters? Most people don't purify the bottled water they drink. We wonder why, given that they know less about imported water than they know about their local water supply. The only real justification for bottled water is if the local water is so bad that purification would exceed the cost of purchasing bottled water.
In most cases, purifying your current water supply is the surest and least expensive way to get the purest water. However, other alternatives do exist.
Talk with us, we can help. Also see http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/bwinx.asp National Resource Defense Council information on bottled water
Please note also, that in these days when over the counter medications are being tampered with, when bioterrorism has become a reality, when many water treatment plants are known to be taxed beyond their capacity because of population increases, and when saving money is more important than ever, it just makes sense to install a system in your own home that will give you complete protection against any tampering, accidental or intentional contamination of the water supply and still save money over the long run. And since groundwater is not immune to contamination, those who own wells are also smart to spring, on a one-time basis, for the cost of a treatment system that will protect them, their children, and ageing parents.
Most consumers think that bottled water has been tested for, and is free of contaminants. NOT SO. Bottled water can have as many and as much or more of any given contaminant than your tap water. See below "several samples of bottled water were above the EPA's proposed standard for arsenic, a couple of samples had a fairly high level of bacteria that can indicate spotty sanitation, and eight of ten polycarbonate jugs leached a potentially problematic plastic component into water.”
The nation's thirst for bottled water, we suspect, has grown at least in part because its confidence in tap water has been shaken. Concerns were fueled in 1993, when cryptosporidium, a parasite from animal waste, entered Milwaukee's water supply. It killed more than 50 people, sent 4,400 to hospitals, and sickened hundreds of thousands.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has standards for some 80 contaminants in public drinking water and maintains that the U.S. enjoys some of the safest water in the world. You can check for yourself: Since 1999, Federal law has required local water utilities to send "consumer confidence reports" to their customers each year. The reports detail ongoing laboratory testing, name system trouble spots, and outline measures being taken to fix problems…
Bottlers often imply their product is purer than tap water. Some play up "protected sources," often underground springs whose output the company tests regularly. Others say their waters have undergone ozonation (it disinfects but leaves no chlorine aftertaste) or "one-micron absolute" filtration (water is strained through pores small enough to catch cryptosporidium).
We tested all the bottled waters for trihalomethanes (THMs), a potentially harmful by-product of the chlorine treatment to which tap water is subjected. We confined tests for other contaminants to waters in which they would most likely be found. Without comprehensive nationwide tests, no one can say how much cleaner bottled water might be than tap water. We do know that none of the waters in our analyses--bottled or tap--harbored contaminants at levels above current standards. However, several samples of bottled water were above the EPA's proposed standard for arsenic, a couple of samples had a fairly high level of bacteria that can indicate spotty sanitation, and eight of ten polycarbonate jugs leached a potentially problematic plastic component into water.”
•When consumers become concerned about the safety of their water supply, they may consider adding water treatment devices to their homes. The array of choices and the terminology associated with these devices can bewilder even the most knowledgeable consumer. ….will assist a consumer in:
1.•Determining whether a water treatment device is needed.
2.•Understanding what the devices can remove from water and how they work.
3.•Evaluating the effectiveness of a water treatment device for the home.
•From: IP-6 WATER QUALITY IN KENTUCKY: USING ACTIVATED CARBON FILTERS TO TREAT HOME DRINKING WATER ISSUED: 9-90 REVISED: Joseph L. Taraba, Agricultural Engineering Department Linda M. Heaton, Dept. of Human Environment: Design and Textiles Thomas W. Ilvento, Department of Rural Sociology
This link is a must read, and won’t take more than about 10 minutes http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/lovecanal/chronology_menu.html
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