Ultimately, whatever the source of your water, it is going to have some downsides. After the government regulates the first group of contaminants, which is less than 100, there are another 40,000+ known compounds. And quite a few of these are in your water.
So now the question becomes how many of these compounds would you like eliminated?
Water treatment equipment is tested and independently validated by the NSF – consider them the UL for our industry. Here are a list of water treatment equipment and what you need to know about each:
Basic/Standard Level Filtration
- Includes Brita, Pur, or a refrigerator
- It’s not a health standard; they’re considered aesthetic benefits only (NSF/ANSI 42)
- Most of these filters are loose charcoal gravel like what you’d use in a fish tank
- They don’t really remove anything, but they do polish the taste and odor of the water
Note: I would never use a Brita on a well. That porous, damp carbon is basically an agar for water-borne bacteria.
Medium Level Filtration
- A pretty big jump from Brita, Pur, or your refrigerator
- This is still physical filtration and is NSF/ANSI 53
- Removes some of the “bad stuff”
- These filters address lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether). They would also need to address cryptosporidium and giardia to reach this standard.
High Level Filtration
- For those serious about water quality
- Stepping away from physical filters and into membrane technologies (most notable being reverse osmosis drinking systems)
- At this standard, companies can optionally submit their systems for certification in reducing parasitic cysts, chromium, arsenic, nitrates/nitrates, cadmium and lead.
Note: There is a difference in reverse osmosis machines. We evaluate their quality based on their ability to reject stuff in the water. You can get some pretty low-end stuff at CostCo. It’ll reject about 70% of what is in the water and the membrane itself is pretty short-lived. There are some other systems that reject 85-90%. For those, the lower-end ones usually are pretty expensive to operate in that they require regular membrane replacement. Some of the better-built of this lower quality type of machine will have a membrane that at least lasts a few years, but is simply limited in how well it ever cleans the water.
I’m admittedly biased. I drink out of the Consumer Reports Best Buy, the Kinetico K5 Drinking Station at home, work and on the road. That system removes about 90% of what every other drinking system leave.
Learn more about this system, here: http://h2odoctors.com/media/K5_drinkingsystem_datasheet.pdf