Drinking Water Treatment Alternatives (until now!)

First, we need to get technical and explain the difference between a water purifier and water filters or other water treatment devices. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines a water purifier as a device that removes from drinking water all micro-organisms that can cause disease.

SYSTEMS

CHARACTERISTICS

IS THIS APURIFIER?

Home Water Filters (think of filtration pitchers or faucet-mounts)

Most provide little germ removal. Depend on replaceable carbon filter cartridges for improving taste and odor.

NO

Special Filters

Small pores can catch big bugs like protozoa but not little ones like bacteria and viruses. Readily clog up; replacement is frequent.

NO

Ultra-violet (UV)

Germ kill rate not 100%, especially if water is cloudy, bulb burns out or dissolved stuff like iron blocks the UV. Expensive; usually requires plumbing installation.

NO

Reverse osmosis (RO)

Some micro-organisms can pass through small pores of plastic membranes due to "grow-through" phenomenon. Very slow and expensive. Requires plumbing installation.

NO

Distillation

Some germs can escape from the boiler to the treated water reservoir and reproduce in warm, treated water. Very slow and expensive. Usually requires plumbing installation.

SOMETIMES

Boiling Water

Kills all germs but does not remove other contaminants. Takes time for water to cool to drinking temperature. Tastes like boiled water...not a popular solution.

YES

Bottled Water

Expensive. A hassle to purchase, transport and store heavy containers. May be in short supply during an emergency.

YES