Use Reverse Osmosis to Purify Drinking Water

Reverse Osmosis Water System in KitchenWe often assume that the water pouring out of our faucets and shower heads is clean, disinfected and generally safe to drink.  According to the New York Times, a report released May 2, 2017 by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a watchdog in the water safety field, nearly 77 million Americans in 2015 lived in areas where the water systems had violated some safety regulation. 

While most of us can confidently drink unfiltered tap water in our homes, here’s food--or drink--for thought: The National Resources Defense Council states, “Pregnant women, young children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and those with weakened immune systems can be especially vulnerable to the risks posed by contaminated water.”

What Constitutes Contamination?

So what is considered “unsafe” to drink?  Generally, the term "unsafe" refers to water than contains lead, arsenic, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), bacteria or other contaminants at a concentration above state-approved levels.  Amazingly, many water supplies—both municipal and well water—fall into this range.  Some contaminants, like lead, are considered unsafe at any level, especially for babies and young people since lead causes neurological problems.

The Flint Effect

By now, virtually everyone has heard of the water problems facing residents of Flint, Michigan.  In an effort to access an affordable backup water source, Flint City managers arranged to tap into the Flint River in 2007, against the wishes and protests of concerned citizens who feared contamination from industrial waste and sewage spills into that river.

In 2013, the State Treasurer of Michigan approved the backup water source.  A year later, the city of Flint issued several advisories to residents, urging them to boil their drinking water to combat the presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria in the water.  

Map of Flint, MIComplicating matters, the city switched from using chlorine as a disinfectant to the lower-priced chloramine, a chemical compound of chlorine and ammonia, which is a powerful oxidizer and allegedly keeps chlorine in the water for a longer period of time.  The effect, however, is that the heavy metals used to line aging cast iron pipes leached lead into the water supply.  Over time, mysterious illnesses arose in young children and the elderly. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that dangerous levels of lead were detected in the water supply, and many residents were urged to have their own levels tested from tap water samples.  Many Flint residents were shocked to learn that their drinking water contained lead at levels seven to ten times greater than the maximum allowed by the EPA. In short, the Flint water crisis rose from a mild “concern” to a state of emergency declared by the governor, who brought in the National Guard. The EPA awarded Flint $100 million to upgrade the city’s pipes.

In short, drinking water from the tap or a branded bottle may be disinfected or filtered, but not necessarily purified. In most cases, however, you can drink straight from the tap without any undue health concerns. The residents of Flint may have been drinking lead-contaminated water for five or more years before any signs of illness appeared.

What Are the Alternatives?

One alternative is bottled water, but it generates a huge amount of plastic waste and is not cost-effective.  Furthermore, recent studies have shown approximately 22% of bottled water samples from major brands contain chemicals at levels that would be considered too high for public consumption through a utility.  These chemicals include BPA and its replacement, BHFP, according to a paper published in Nature Communications.  There are few controls over the manufacturing of bottled water, so just because it claims to be mountain water doesn’t mean it is.

A Reliable Solution for Your Home

Woman Drinking Filtered Water from SinkReverse osmosis (RO) is an advanced filtering process that removes virtually all contaminants in the water, leaving behind pure H2O. RO water systems are ideally suited for those who want clean, pure water without having to resort to ordering cases of bottled water for the home or relying on expensive water coolers. A reverse osmosis system usually occupies very little space and is generally installed under the kitchen sink for convenience. There are four big reasons a reverse osmosis system can help you and your loved ones drink healthier, worry-free water:

Better Taste

A reverse osmosis system dramatically improves the taste of tap water, clarifies its appearance, and removes any off-putting odors. This makes the water in your home much more appealing to drink. Your coffee tastes better, tea is clear, and cooking with RO water improves the taste of food as well. The result: greater likelihood that you and your loved ones will stay hydrated.

Safe Water

RO systems do much more than clarify water and improve its taste: they also remove virtually all contaminants. This includes lead, fluoride, bacteria, sulfates, pesticides, arsenic, and dozens of other harmful contaminants. Flint water would be 100% safe to drink if a reverse osmosis water system were in place in every home.

Minimal Maintenance

One key benefit of an RO water system is its simple design—with almost no moving parts and few components to clean or replace—which lends itself to minimal maintenance required to deliver serious long-term value.

Cost Savings

A bottle of water costs, on average, 1,000 times more than the equivalent volume of water from the tap.  But tap water that has been filtered by a reverse osmosis system costs pennies on the dollar when compared to costly bottled water service.  Cancel your bottled-water delivery service, save the environment from eco-waste, and opt for an RO unit instead.

Water quality is a major concern for all of us. If you want to provide you and your family with the absolute best-tasting, safest water possible, consider a reverse osmosis unit for your home or office. For more information about the benefits of removing lead from water, contact the clean water experts at De Anza Water Conditioning!