This article is intended to clarify the difference between my Urban Defender, a backwashing whole house water filter and cheaper whole house carbon systems that do not backwash. Upflow filters cost less but also deliver less. Backwash filters are more effective at contaminant removal and last longer. Finally, at the end of this article I’ll also address some misleading claims made by the manufacturers of upflow filters.
The backwash function on a whole house water filter cleans and redistributes the carbon media on a consistent basis at a specified flow rate for a specified length of time. The backwash also removes media fines to the drain. Proper back wash helps to provide consistent flow, increased contaminant removal and longer media life.
An upflow filter with no backwash results in inconsistent, typically inadequate flow to keep the media bed clean. An Upflow system is designed such that the water flows up through the media, theoretically eliminating the need for backwash while also providing a system that costs less. Continue reading
When people call me to ask what water filtration system I recommend I always look at their local water report before making any recommendation. There are several reasons for this.
First, what is the source of the water? If it is a river with cities upstream then there will be sewage present in the water and therefore trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. And while USEPA has not declared these to be a health issue for humans they are known to have harsh impacts on fish. Here’s one article about the impact of anti-depressents on fish. It changes their behavior dramatically: Continue reading
I am writing this to provide you with information so that you are more aware of how you may be affected by recent political actions regarding water.
Every day I speak with people who call me to learn how to remove the contaminants in either their city water or well water. Every day I look at water reports and advise people what they can do to protect themselves. The first thing we look at when reviewing a water report is where the water comes from. Does it come from the mountains? Are there cities upstream? Are there farms or mines upstream? Whatever is happening upstream of you affects the quality of the water you drink.
The new administration, in collaboration with Congress, is taking steps to remove protections from drinking water sources. Recently Congress passed legislation allowing coal mining operations to again dump waste into nearby streams.
President Trump is set to try to remove protections from some protected water bodies. Continue reading
No amount of lead in drinking water is safe. I have been saying for many years that USEPA standards for contaminants in water are a political compromise.
Just because your water meets EPA standards (MCL) does not mean the water is ‘safe’. The standards start out with an orientation toward health. In other words, EPA looks for contaminants in water that can negatively affect your health. But then when they establish that standard they must consider the cost of forcing every water system in the country to meet that standard.
Joel Beauvias, the deputy assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, said the agency has “consistently said that no level of lead is safe.” But, he explained, the agency has to set limits that can be reasonably achieved.
The final MCL, or maximum contaminant level, established by EPA ends up being a compromise between health and cost. If you want to eliminate a particular contaminant, and I certainly suggest that you do, then you must do that on your own.
Here is an interesting article which cites EPA sources agreeing with my assessment about lead in drinking water: Continue reading
Finally a good article for consumers about the pros and cons of various types of whole house carbon filters.
This article is so good I decided to share it with you right away.
There is a brief discussion of chloramine and its disinfection byproducts, which differ from those of chlorine yet are also toxic to humans.
This is useful information if you have chloramine in your water.
Next the article talks about the pro and cons of various whole house carbon filters.
Is Las Vegas water safe to drink?
Here’s an aricle by the Las Vegas Review Journal in response to the Las Vegas Valley Water District releasing its annual Water Quality Report about drinking water in Las Vegas.
Bascially the article says that Las Vegas drinking water is safe in spite of the presence of uranium. Read more here: Continue reading
I’ve been saying for quite some time now that I am not comfortable with USEPA’s maximum allowable level of nitrates in drinking water. This amount is known as the Maximum Contaminant Level or MCL in your water report.
Yet another study has come out which finds a causal relationship between nitrates in drinking water at just half of the MCL and bladder cancer in post menopausal women.
You can read a synopsis of that study here: Continue reading
Yet another study of pharmaceuticals in streams has disturbing results.
‘A team of researchers, led by hydrologist Paul Bradley, recently collected water samples from 59 small streams in the Southeast… All 59 streams tested positive for at least one of compounds and the overall average was six different compounds per stream.
“Pharmaceutical contaminants are growing aquatic-health concerns and largely attributed to wastewater treatment facility discharges,” the study says. But only 17 of the 59 streams have any reported wastewater discharges.’ You can find information on the study here:
The notion of whether or not your chlorinated tap water is ‘healthy’ for you to drink is an intriguing question. USEPA regulates the level of contaminants which can be present in tap water. As long as those contaminants fall below the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), the water is deemed to be acceptable. But what does acceptable mean? Does it mean the water is generally safe for healthy individuals? Does it mean the water is healthy to drink?
I don’t think there is a clear answer to this question. My opinion was reinforced recently when I came across this article: Chloramines in Water. The author, a former head of USEPA drinking water standards division says this in the article, Continue reading