By Reem Shair – GSWA Intern
Water is amazing at dissolving things, which is both good and bad. It’s great if you need to remove a stain from your clothes, but not always so great when you need to drink it. Water is constantly circulating throughout the environment dissolving bacteria and toxins as it makes its way into your faucet. Many people look to water filtration devices to help reduce the amounts of bacteria and toxins in their water. Realistically though, most tap water is entirely safe to drink and use. Filtration devices are generally used to help with the taste and smell of the water. If you don’t know whether your water is safe to drink straight from the tap, getting your water tested is a great way to find out. Water testing will also identify what is in your water so you can determine what kind of filter you should buy.
There are many different water filter devices available and knowing which one you need can be challenging. The most common and inexpensive filters are pitcher water filters and faucet mount filters. These typically use granulated activated charcoal to remove some contaminants. Since the carbon is not solid, they do not remove all toxins, though these filters will improve the taste of the water. If you are tight on space, try a charcoal stick water filter which can be used in any pitcher or water bottle and removes contaminants in the same way as most pitcher and faucet filters. An added benefit of this filter is that it is reusable, eco-friendly, and lasts for months. Once you’re done with this filter it can be repurposed as a refrigerator deodorizer. This filter is a great option for a one-to-two-person household.
A less common and more expensive type of water filter is a reverse osmosis filtration system. It uses a membrane which removes many contaminants from water. It is usually paired with a granulated activated charcoal filter to remove chlorine. It can be mounted under the sink and has a holding tank. The semipermeable membrane separates many contaminates from the water and rejects a large amount of water in the process. This filter reduces arsenic, asbestos, heavy metals, and fluoride. A downside is that it wastes more water than it produces and removes beneficial minerals from water that gives it its taste.
Solid block carbon filters are recognized by the EPA as the best option for removing chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and volatile organic chemicals. A quality carbon block filter will also remove bacteria, fluoride, heavy metals, nitrates, and parasites. Most are gravity based and can transform any type of water into safe drinking water including rainwater, pond water, and even sea water (though these types of water will clog the filters much more quickly). They will even filter water with food coloring to create clear water. These filters also don’t remove naturally occurring minerals from the water, making it the best tasting filtered water option.
Drinking from your tap doesn’t need to be scary. Once you have your water tested and determine which filtration device will work best for you, drinking straight from the tap should not be a problem. In fact, you can save a lot of money and time by purchasing a reusable water bottle and filling it with water from your tap to take on the go. Reusable water bottles can be found almost everywhere from places like the grocery store to websites like Amazon. An added bonus is that you will reduce your carbon footprint by no longer using plastic water bottles, becoming more environmentally friendly!
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