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Water is probably the most essential of our basic needs, and most of the time, we take it for granted until such a time when we no longer have access to clean and safe drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, 2 billion people have to draw water from a water source with human waste. As a result, around 485,000 people die from diarrhea caused by contaminated water.
This situation is going to be far worst. WHO also estimates that half of the world’s people will have limited access to safe drinking water by 2025. If you have problems with your water, it’s time to buy the best water purification and treatment system. To do this, you should have a full grasp of different things, including:
- Knowing your water source, as well as the potential contaminants
- Knowing what type of water purification and treatment systems can address these possible contaminants
- Looking at specific characteristics and benefits of water purification and treatment devices so that you can choose the best ones for your needs.
You don’t just buy the cheapest water purification and treatment systems available on the market. You should make sure that it is sufficient to filter out the contaminants that are in your water. Sit back and discover everything you need to know so that you can enjoy safe drinking water.
All the Things You Need to Know About Water Purification and Treatment Systems
While the primary role of water filters is to keep waterborne germs from infecting you and your family, there are some things that you should know. According to the Centers for Disease Control, different types of water filters have various purposes and can do their work in different ways. You cannot expect one water filter to keep out all the assortment of contaminants your water might have.
You should be aware that water filters can keep out both the good and harmful substances out of your water. For instance, your tap water generally contains:
- Chlorine, which acts as a disinfectant that keeps your water safe from germs
- Flouride, which protects your teeth from decay
Water filters can take these substances away from your water just as it can filter out lead, germs, and other harmful contaminants. It brings you to the question of whether you really need a water purification and treatment system in the first place.
Knowing Your Water Source
What you should do first when choosing the best water purification and treatment system is to know the source of your water. Much of the decisions and filtering needs you will have will be based on your water supply quality. Other considerations will include:
- Your preferred taste and odor in the water you drink
- Any health-related issues you or your family might have.
Knowing your water’s source is a good starting point in knowing what types of contaminants are already in the water. As such, it will give you an idea of what kind of filtration system is needed.
If you are getting your water from a cistern or a private well, you should take a sample of the water and have it tested by a certified lab once a year. Be sure that the laboratory is certified and that the water will be tested for dissolved solids, pH levels, nitrates, and coliform bacteria, as well as other common contaminants where you live.
You can consult with your local health department to know what types of contaminants you should test for. Aside from the once a year testing, you should have your water tested when somebody in the family becomes pregnant or if children join your household. Plus, if you see changes in odor, taste, or color, then it’s time to send a sample to the lab.
The laboratory results will tell you the levels of different contaminants in your water. The Environmental Protection Agency has a guideline on the maximum contaminant levels found in safe and clean drinking water.
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, whatever water purification and treatment system you use, the level of contaminants in your drinking water should be at a certain level. This table will show you the maximum levels of each pollutant to ensure that your water is safe to drink.
|Heterotrophic plate count (HPC)
|Total Coliforms (including fecal coliform and E. Coli)
|Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
|Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
|Cyanide (as free cyanide)
|Nitrate (measured as Nitrogen)
|Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
|Nitrite (measured as Nitrogen)
|Beta particles and photon emitters
|Radium 226 and Radium 228 (combined)
Aside from the maximum contaminant level goals of these substances, which are measured in milligrams per liter, you also have different forms of chlorine, where the maximum residual disinfectant level goal is used. That means that after disinfecting your water with chlorine, and its other form, they should have the following levels:
- Chloramines: 41 milligrams per liter
- Chlorine: 41 milligrams per liter
- Chlorine dioxide: 0.81 milligrams per liter
Be on guard for asbestos fiber, and the acceptable level for that is 7 million fibers per liter.
If you collect rainwater to help save on resources, then you should know that this might not be safe to drink. Rainwater can easily get contaminated by viruses, parasites, bacteria, soot, and chemicals as it washes down your roof, gutter, and finally into the rain barrel or tank that you use to collect it.
What’s more, there are instances when insects and parasites find their way to your stored rainwater. If you have an excellent water filter, you can filter rainwater and then boil it. But this might not get rid of the chemicals that are in your water.
The EPA doesn’t recommend drinking stored rainwater, nor should you use it to wash cookware and utensil. If you are going to bathe with rainwater, be sure not to swallow or inhale it in. You should also avoid watering plants that you intend to eat with rainwater.
Public Water Source
If you’re getting your water from a public water system, you should check out the reports they give you every year. The EPA has mandated that public water providers give their users a yearly report that will contain details about the quality of their drinking water.
It will also have information on the contaminant levels found in your water. These Consumer Confidence Reports are sent out every July 1, and you will receive these together with your water bill.
What Type of Water Purification and Treatment System Do You Need?
Once you know what’s in your water, you can decide whether or not you need a water purification and treatment system. And if you do, you can narrow down your options to the types of water filters that can actually help you the contaminant levels found in your water.
Several types of contaminants are in your water, and these can make you sick. There are water purification systems that can be effective with protozoa or bacteria, but not with viruses.
Different Types of Water Purification and Treatment System
Boiling water for at least three minutes will kill all pathogens in it. But if boiling water is not an option, there are several types of water purification and treatment systems that you can use to clean contaminated water. These are:
- Ultraviolet devices
- Water softeners
Water filters can reduce the levels of pathogens in your water. It can keep out most microorganisms that can make you sick, but this would largely depend on the pore size. The smaller the pore size of your chosen water filter, the more pathogens it can weed out.
Remember that water filters should have some kind of chemical disinfectant to kill some viruses. Or you can use it in conjunction with a chemical disinfectant.
There are two main types of filters out there. Reverse osmosis works by pushing the water up a permeable membrane, thereby removing the smaller contaminants than its pores.
Then you have the micro straining filters, which work very much like your kitchen strainer. Depending on the pore size, these may be called microfilter, ultrafilters, or nano filters.
Chemical disinfectants can also reduce the microorganisms in your water. But how effective it cleans will largely depend on several factors, including:
- Contact time
- Disinfectant concentration
- Water temperature
- Acidity and cloudiness of the water
Ultraviolet light can kill some of the harmful microorganisms in your water, but you will still need to filter the water first. As such, UV light can be seen as a way to reduce further the pathogens that might have passed through a filter’s pores.
UV light systems clean water more efficiently with clear water. There are no assurances that this would work optimally if the water is cloudy.
Water softeners use technologies that swap or remove ions to help bring down magnesium or calcium levels in the water. As such, it can lessen the hardness of the water.
Some water softeners can easily remove manganese, iron, nitrates, radioactive components, sulfates, selenium, chromium, and heavy metals in your water. Keep in mind that water softeners will not kill protozoa, viruses, or bacteria in your water.
Pore Size: A Quick Explanation
A filter’s pore size will determine how effective it is at preventing contaminants and other substances from passing through. If you have a strainer, the smaller the pores are, the fewer contaminants pass through it.
The confusion exists because there are two pore size indicators used today, absolute and means pore size. What’s the difference?
An absolute pore size of, for instance, 0.5 micron means that all the pores measure 0.5 microns or smaller. That means that if all the contaminants in water are slightly bigger than 0.5 microns, then the filter will be able to catch them all and give you absolutely clean water.
On the other hand, the mean pore size can mean that some pore sizes are bigger or smaller than 0.5 microns. In this scenario, if you filter water from the same source, some of the contaminants will pass through the bigger pores.
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Different Types of Water Purification and Treatment Systems
To give you an idea of how the different water purification and treatment systems block these contaminants, look at this table.
|Most chemicals and metals
What Contaminants Are in Your Water?
This table shows the assortment of pathogens are in your water, and choosing the best water purification and treatment system will largely depend on the type of pathogen that lives in your water.
It will seem that all devices that are certified by the NSF will keep you safe from protozoa, except for water softeners.
These protozoa include:
- Cryptosporidium, which comes from human and animal feces and can cause diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues
- Giardia lamblia, which also comes from fecal matter and can cause gastrointestinal illnesses
If bacteria contaminate your water, you will do better with devices that use ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, distillation, and reverse osmosis.
Some of the bacteria that these devices can get rid of are:
According to the CDC, around 1.5 million Americans fall sick because of campylobacter every year. Drinking contaminated water, eating undercooked or raw poultry, seafood, produce, or meat, and contact with animals can get you campylobacteriosis.
This illness is often accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, as well as stomach cramps and ever. It may lead to more severe diseases such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, or temporary paralysis.
About 1.35 million Americans are getting infected with salmonella every year, and 420 of them are dying. Food is usually the culprit, but some get salmonella from drinking untreated water. Salmonella often leads to fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Escherichia coli are a diverse group of bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea and other symptoms in those that get in contact with it through contaminated water and food, as well as contact with infected people or animals.
In mild cases, you will suffer from diarrhea, fever, nausea, or vomiting. E. coli infections usually last around five to seven days. Still, some five to 10 percent of those infected will develop more serious complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome and kidney failure.
Shigella comes from human feces and can be very contagious. It can spread by coming in contact with waste matter from an infected person, eating contaminated food, or drinking even small amounts of the bacteria in untreated water.
Shigella can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, and fever. It can lead to dehydration, rectal prolapse, seizures, toxic megacolon, arthritis, or hemolytic uremic syndrome in severe cases.
Filters with smaller pores and ultraviolet treatment can help you get rid of viruses in your water. Some of the viruses are:
People infected with enterovirus typically display cold-like symptoms, such as cough, sneezing, fever, runny nose, malaise, skin rash, and mouth blisters.
Hepatitis A primarily affects your liver and can spread via the ingestion of the virus. It can lead to stomach pain, yellow skin, nausea, and liver damage.
Hepatitis A can be spread with close contact with a person who’s already infected. But it can also be spread by drinking water that’s contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
This contagious virus causes diarrhea and vomiting. And you can get it from drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, and having direct contact with an infected person, or touching anything they touched.
According to the CDC, 900 people in the United States die from norovirus, with 109,000 others getting hospitalized and millions more who get checked by doctors.
Rotavirus usually infects younger kids and infants. It causes diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Plus, you can also suffer from dehydration.
Some of the Products You Should Try
Now that you know about the types of contaminants in your water, you should have an idea of the best type of water purification and treatment system that you should use to clean it. Here are our recommended products that you should definitely consider.
How do contaminants get into your well water anyway?
When you source your water from a private well, it is your responsibility to purify and treat it to ensure that there are no contaminants that can make you sick. Depending on where your well is located, several pollutants can enter the water.
- Bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other microorganisms are very commonplace and are found everywhere. It might come from sewage and animal waste, or when rainwater or snowmelt washes these microorganisms into your well water. Microorganisms can result in infections and gastrointestinal illnesses.
- Nitrites and nitrates are found in fertilizers, sewage, and waste. These substances can seep into you the ground and find their way to well water. Nitrates that enter the body are converted into nitrites, and this can be dangerous for babies. It can cause blue baby syndrome and can limit your blood’s ability to transport oxygen.
- Antimony, lead, arsenic, cadmium, copper, selenium, chromium, and other heavy metals can also find their way into your water supply and cause damage to the kidney, intestines, and liver. It can also cause cancer and anemia, as well as cause chronic and acute toxicity.
- Fluoride can benefit your teeth and prevent their decay, but too much can cause tenderness and pain of the joint and bones. It can also discolor your teeth when you ingest too much fluoride when it is forming.
- Radionuclides are the radioactive forms of radium, uranium, and other elements. These can get into well water if there are mining operations or nuclear plants nearby. These radionuclides also occur naturally in some places. When you drink water with radionuclides, you have a higher risk of cancer and kidney damage.
- Organic chemicals are those that are used in household products, businesses, and agriculture. These chemicals are in dyes, sealants, solvents, and other similar products. If you drink too much of these organic chemicals in your well water, it can lead to kidney and liver damage. It may cause damage to the nervous, reproductive, and circulatory systems.
This table can give you an idea of the potential health risk of naturally occurring contaminants:
|Potential Health Risks
|Sources of contamination
|Lower blood sugar and higher blood cholesterol
|Fire retardants, petroleum refineries, electronics, and ceramics
|Skin or circulatory system problems, higher cancer risk
|Natural deposits, runoffs from orchards, electronics, and glass manufacturing
|More at risk of developing intestinal polyps
|Asbestos used in water mains erode or decay, natural deposits
|Metal refineries and factories, discharge from aerospace, electrical, and defense companies
|Gastrointestinal distress, liver and kidney damage
|Rusting of plumbing systems, natural deposits
|Nerve damage, thyroid problems
|Wastes from metal and steel factories, fertilizer or plastic factories
|Delayed mental and physical development, attention deficit, learning disabilities in kids and infants; kidney damage and high blood pressure in adults
|Rusted plumbing, natural deposits
|Natural deposits, refineries factories, croplands, and landfills
1. TWR Drinking Water Filter
The TWR Drinking Water Filter can hold up to 3,000 gallons of water and clean it too. You only need to take out and replace the filter cartridge once a year.
This water filter can get rid of chemicals, heavy metals, and microorganisms that are 0.08 microns in size or less. It’s effortless to install, as you only put in the diverter from your faucet so that the water goes through the water filter. You can do it yourself with no tool needed.
The product filters water in three stages:
- Ultrafiltration, which forces the water through the filter to effectively remove solids, as well as those particles that have a high molecular weight
- Coconut shell carbon block, which is the least dusty and very efficient in chemical adsorption as well as being the most durable out of carbon filter materials.
- Electro-positive filter helps get rid of particles that are a nanometer in size or larger.
What’s more, this product comes with a LED flowmeter that allows you to know that the filter is flowing correctly and when it’s time to replace it. You don’t have to throw away the whole thing to get clean water continuously. You only need to change the filter.
- Superior filtering capabilities
- LED flow meter lets you know when it’s time to change the filter
- Huge capacity
- Can take up space near your faucet
- No NSF certification
2. Aquatic Life Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration
The Aquatic Life Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration can purify up to 75 gallons of water daily, exceeding the less than 50 gallons used by the average American family. This product uses a four-stage reverse osmosis system. It can de-ionize water to reduce magnesium, salt, calcium, and other metallic ions found in your water.
This system allows you to filter out sediments, as well as to have a deionization cartridge that you have to change when the canister changes colors. What’s more, it’s easy to put in new cartridges if you need to replace them.
- Works as advertised
- Portable and can be screwed to a faucet
- Great value for money, affordable for such a system
- You will need to remember when to replace the filters, which you will need to do every three to six months, one to two years, or when the cartridge changes color.
- Has some quality control issues with some customers complaining that their unit stopped working after a few months
- Installation might be a hassle
- No NSF ratings
3. Epic Smart Shield
The Epic Smart Shield is an under the sink and inline water filter that is straightforward to install. You no longer need to call in a plumber, and you don’t need to drill holes into your counter.
This filter can remove contaminants, heavy metals, herbicides, chemicals, and other particulates. It can also rid the water of unwanted odors, chlorine, cysts, and VOCs.
The manufacturer claims that it doesn’t eliminate essential minerals that your body needs, including calcium, sodium, chloride, phosphorus, and magnesium.
It uses a coconut carbon block. This product doesn’t develop molds over time.
- High flow and can get rid of 99.99 percent of contaminants in your water
- Doesn’t use BPA
- Easy to install
- NSF 53, 42, and 401 certified water filter
- Customer service is not responsive
- User complaints reveal that the plastic material used for this product is not durable
4. Epic Pure Water Filter Pitchers for Drinking Water
The Epic Pure Water Filter Pitchers for Drinking Water is about as easy as it gets when you want to clean drinking water. This water filter measures 10 by six by 10 inches and can hold 10 cups of water.
The filtered pitcher can be placed inside your refrigerator with a carbon block that can purify around 150 gallons of water before it needs to be replaced. This filter can remove:
- PFOS and PFOA
- Haloacetic acids
With this pitcher, you can drink tap water without worrying about how safe it is.
- It comes with a money-back guarantee
- Excellent customer service with hassle-free returns and express delivery
- Ergonomic design
- Certified for NSF Standards 42, 53, 401, and P478
- Some customers complained that the design allows unfiltered water to mix with the already filtered water
- There are complaints that the filter flows slowly or doesn’t filter after a few uses
5. Express Water UV Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
The Express Water UV Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System removes almost all lead, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, chlorine, nitrates, calcium, and other contaminants with its reverse osmosis system.
It has eleven stages of cleaning, starting with a sediment filter that can get rid of sand, rust, dust, and dirt. It also comes with a carbon block and granular filters to take out volatile organic chemicals, odor, and chlorine, among other pollutants.
As such, the water that passes through the reverse osmosis system is now relatively cleaner, helping you prolong the life of your filter. Plus, the water is then subjected to ultraviolet light that will kill viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that might have passed through the filter’s pores.
If you’re worried that the filter will take away beneficial substances such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, you should not fret. This system also comes with an alkaline water filter that adds these minerals back into the water you drink. You also get antioxidants and oxygen in your water.
This under sink system is very easy to install. You can do it yourself as each part is labeled correctly. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
Some of the things that you never have to worry about when you have this water purifying system includes:
- Heavy Metals
- Total dissolved solids
Imagine getting rid of all these contaminants with just one system.
- Double-sealed filters are more efficient
- The stop valve can detect leaks and prevent water from flooding your kitchen
- Package includes brass feed adapter and quick connect adapters
- Value for money
- Works as advertised
- Quick and easy filter replacements
- Excellent water flow
- Some of the fasteners used to keep hoses tight come loose
- Quality control issues as some customers complained that a component or a filter stops working after a short period of use
- Overheating is a problem with the ultraviolet lights
6. Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid
The Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid does not use any chlorine or iodine but instead infuses your water with oxygen. This solution oxidizes your water and kills germs and other microorganisms.
Unlike other water treatment solutions that use iodine or chlorine, oxygen does not create any harmful by-products. It produces chlorine dioxide that can kill crypto and giardia. This compound also improves the taste of water without discoloring it.
This two-part water treatment needs only seven drops of each solution for every liter of water. Wait for 15 to 30 minutes to enjoy potable water.
- Easy to use and great value for money
- It comes with a no-spill cap for you to mix the solutions in
- Portable and can be used when you’re camping or spending time outdoors
- Customer support can be better
- Some customers claim that the product doesn’t work
7. Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series can soften your water by removing the minerals and contaminants. You no longer have to buy two separate devices to soften and purify your water. It can hold enough water for a family of five.
This filter can filter 120 grains per gallon, and it has enough capacity for 31,000 grains, making this whole home water filter one of the most economical products out there. If you have a problem of getting too much iron in your water, the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series can easily three points per million of it so that you don’t have to contend with reddish-brown stains.
What’s more, using this filter will help you eliminate the chlorine taste and odor from your water. People who are pinching pennies will love this filter as it only starts operating when you need water, so you reduce your salt costs.
You also don’t have to fret about replacing the filters. The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series will clean its own filter when needed.
- Less water and salt compared to other products and timer-based models
- Value for money considering that it’s a whole-home system
- Easy installation with standard connectors
- Works well as a water softener
- Customer service should be improved
- Problems with shipping results in the unit arriving damaged
- The plastic body is not durable
8. Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System
The Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System uses three filters to give you clean water. It can get rid of TDS, heavy metals, and fluoride, among others. This product also doesn’t use any lead in its construction.
It’s easy to install and operate. It takes only minutes to get it to work right out of the box. This product is unique in that it uses reverse osmosis with carbon block filters and a tankless design. The water that you drink gets filtered even times.
This device can deliver 400 gallons of clean water every day. You can get a cup of water in only 12 seconds.
- NSF 58 and 372 certified
- Can keep out a wider range of contaminants
- Installation is a breeze
- It takes up a smaller space than those with a tank
- Great looking design and very easy to maintain
- Some customers complain that the water quality with this filter is not constant
- It might not be very durable
Question: What are the NSF Ratings?
You will undoubtedly encounter the term NSF ratings when you’re looking for the best water purification and treatment systems. NSF International develops these ratings to help safeguard your health.
The independent organization keeps a database that will help you know what a particular product does. Check out the database if you want to ensure that the product you wish to have carries an NSF rating.
Some of the NSF ratings you should know when choosing a water purification and treatment system include:
• NSF 42
Filters that have been certified as NSF 42 means that it can visibly reduce impurities in water. It can take out chlorine and improve the taste and odor of your water. NSF 42 products can be a point of use system, such as those water purifiers you install under the sink or via the use of water pitchers.
It can also be a point-of-entry water purification system, which can cover the entire house.
• NSF 53
If you have a carbon filter, then you should see if it is certified as NSF 53. These products can lower the levels of contaminants that can bring adverse health effects.
NSF 53, as well as NSF 42, assures that liquid, gas, or solid contaminants stick to the surface or pores of the product.
• NSF 44
NSF 44 products are water softeners that use potassium chloride or sodium to neutralize magnesium or calcium ions. The process will turn these ions into potassium or sodium ions.
• NSF 55
These products use ultraviolet light to inactivate or kill germs, microbes, viruses, bacteria, or cysts that you find in dirty water. It can also lower the number of bacteria in already disinfected drinking water.
• NSF 58
Water filters and purification systems that use reverse osmosis. These products use reverse pressure that forces water up a membrane that is semi-permeable. These membranes might also have additional filters that give your water an extra cleaning.
• NSF 62
These products boil water and then collect the water vapors when it condenses. Distillation systems can give you clean water by leaving the contaminants behind. However, in volatile organic chemicals, distillation systems are relatively ineffective because these contaminants can easily convert into gas and join the water vapor.
• NSF 177
NSF 177 products are shower filters that you attach directly to your showerhead. These products reduce chlorine levels.
Other NSF ratings include:
• NSF 244, which is reserved for products that are used for a particular public water supply.
• NSF 401, or products that can eliminate or lower the levels of emerging contaminants.
• NSF P477 are products that can fight the toxins that come from blue-green algae
• NSF P473 are products that can reduce PFOS or PFOA
• NSF P231 or microbiological water purifiers
Question: What are Consumer Confidence Reports?
Answer: Consumer Confidence Reports give you information about the quality of water that you get from public water utilities. This report is often sent to customers on July 1 of every year together with your water bill.
The CCR usually contains the following information:
T• he source of your drinking water, e.g., river, lake, or aquifer
• A summary of contamination risks
• The different types of contaminant found in your local water supply
The potential risks to your health of the detected contaminants
• How the service provider is purifying the water to get rid of these contaminants
• How to avoid drinking Cryptosporidium, nitrate, lead, or arsenic as well as other contaminants detected in your water
• Phone numbers for additional information, including the water company’s customer service hotline and the EPA’s • • • Safe Drinking Water Hotline
• State reports with relevant information
Get the Best Water Purification and Treatment System Today
You will need the best water purification and treatment system if you get your water from a personal well or even if your public water source has problems with contaminated water. Different types of purification and treatment systems have different ways of working and can filter out various contaminants.
Get the best water purification and treatment system to address your specific needs, which will be dictated by your water source and the types of contaminants that can get into your water.