Just Why Do I Need A Water Filter For My House?
Water authorities in Australia have established guidelines that ensure the safety and appearance of tap water. These guidelines include passing health requirements and tests for turbidity, colour, taste, and odour. Despite this, some water treatments used for distribution across cities may introduce harmful contaminants and chemicals.
To ensure the quality and safety of your drinking water, it is advisable to have a water filter installed in your home. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider using one.
1. Removing Contaminants:
It is imperative to filter your tap water to effectively eliminate or decrease a broad array of harmful contaminants, such as heavy metals (like lead, mercury, and arsenic), pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical residues, chlorine, chloramines, and other toxic chemicals. This measure will significantly lessen the health hazards associated with these contaminants and guarantee that your drinking water is safe and healthy for long-term consumption.
Herbicides, Pesticides, and Fungicides?
Being mindful of the hazards herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides pose in rural areas is crucial, especially since they can infiltrate water sources. Some of these substances have the potential to cause cancer and remain in the environment for prolonged periods. Despite trace amounts of these chemicals being found, our drinking water is typically devoid of them during testing. However, it's worth noting that not all water authorities perform routine checks for these pollutants.
And.. as one example demonstrates, toxicity definitions can change. It took over a decade to finally demonstrate that Roundup was carcinogenic.
The use of chloramine is widespread in water treatment plants across Australia, including those managed by Sydney Water. Yes, this powerful chemical is effective in eliminating harmful bacteria and microorganisms from the water, but in some cases, ammonia is added to ensure disinfection all the way to your tap. While chloramines are not as effective as free chlorine in killing pathogens, they have been a disinfectant of choice for almost a century now. One of the major ‘benefits’ of chloramines is that they produce fewer harmful byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). The big reason they have replaced chlorine is that they offer more stability than free chlorine, giving a longer contact time for disinfection in the water distribution system.
The source of this information is Sydney Water.
High levels of nitrates in groundwater sources in rural areas are mainly caused by sewage and fertilizer run-off entering waterways. Although nitrate is not toxic, it can be converted into nitrite, which can be hazardous to infants and young children by reducing the oxygen carried by their blood. Water suppliers in regions with elevated nitrate levels generally recommend the use of bottled or rainwater for babies under three months old to minimize potential health risks.
Water treatment chemicals are used to eliminate bacteria in water during the treatment process and to prevent recontamination as the water is transported through the distribution system. Chlorine or chloramine are commonly used for this purpose. However, it is important to note that these chemicals can react with natural organic substances in the water, potentially producing harmful by-products such as trihalomethanes (THM), depending on various factors. While their concentration should be minimized, the disinfection of drinking water cannot be compromised.
The Drinking Water Guidelines have set a maximum limit for these by-products. Although the presence of by-products can be a concern, it is imperative to recognize that the risk posed by pathogenic microorganisms is much greater.
Since the 1960s and 1970s, fluoride has been added to drinking water as a means of reducing tooth decay. However, with the availability of other fluoride protection sources such as toothpastes and treatments offered by dentists, some critics argue that water fluoridation is unnecessary. They claim that excessive intake can lead to dental fluorosis (mottled teeth) and that potential health risks from long-term consumption remain unknown.
Chemicals containing aluminium are used in a process called flocculation, which removes suspended particles from the water, making it clearer. While most of the aluminium used can be filtered out of the water, small amounts may pass through. Some water authorities have phased out the use of aluminium chemicals in favour of alternatives.
Removing the Nasties:
..And then there are the other nasties.
It is imperative that you are knowledgeable about the potential microbiological hazards in your water to protect your loved ones from waterborne illnesses caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
These risks can be categorized into three groups:
1. Bacteria: Pathogenic bacteria in water mainly come from human or animal waste contamination. While chlorination is an effective way to kill bacteria, water suppliers must keep a residue of chlorine to safeguard the water during transportation from the treatment plant to your home. This means they have to add enough chlorine for it to still be effective when it arrives in your kitchen, many miles away.
Bacteria growth in water mains is a potential danger.
2. Protozoa: This group comprises cryptosporidium and giardia, which can cause severe illness. The cysts of these microorganisms are resistant to disinfection.
3. Viruses: Some viruses present in water can be harmful, and disinfection can kill most of them. However, some viruses may survive and pose a threat to human health. In Australia, it is difficult to trace the source of a viral infection, whether it is from water, food, or contact with an infected person. It is crucial to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions to avoid waterborne illnesses. Source: Choice.
3. The taste of your water?
If you find your tap water to have an unpleasant taste or odor due to chlorine, sulphur compounds, or other contaminants, don't despair. A water filter can be a great solution to this problem. It helps to eliminate these undesirable tastes and smells, providing you with cleaner and more refreshing drinking water. With improvements in taste, odor, and clarity, you'll be able to fully enjoy the water's taste and drink the right amount of water to adequately hydrate.
Investing in a high-quality water filter may require a substantial amount of money upfront, but in the long run, it can actually help you save money. By filtering your tap water, you can significantly reduce or completely eliminate the need to purchase bottled water, which is typically more expensive than tap water. Additionally, opting for a water filter can also contribute to reducing plastic waste, as plastic bottles are one of the leading contributors to environmental pollution. Therefore, not only is investing in a water filter a financially wise decision, but it also supports a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
5. Someone Sensitive In Your Family?
It is important to note that individuals with compromised immune systems, infants, pregnant women, and the elderly can be especially susceptible to the harmful impact of waterborne contaminants. To safeguard against any potential risks, it is highly recommended to consider installing a water filter that can provide an additional layer of protection. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are taking necessary precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
6. Saving the World, a Plastic Bottle at a time.
Opting for filtered tap water is a smart and eco-conscious choice. By doing so, you're contributing to the reduction of plastic waste and minimizing the carbon footprint related to the production and transportation of bottled water. This sustainable choice is a simple yet effective way to help protect our environment.
7. The Right Filter for Your Special Circumstance!
There are different types and sizes of water filters available that can be customized to suit your filtration needs. You can choose to install filters directly on your faucet, use pitcher filters, or even opt for whole-house filtration systems to ensure clean water throughout your home. It's important to remember that the effectiveness of a water filter depends on its type and quality, and the contaminants present in your water may vary depending on your location.
Give one of our specialists a call. They can tailor a system to your specifics.
What’s Wrong with Your Water?
Except for microorganisms and lead, most of these contaminants are an aesthetic rather than a health problem, as long as they don't occur in very high concentrations.
Common water issues and their potential causes:
– Stained plumbing and clothes: If you're seeing red or brown, black-green, or blue stains, it could be due to a high concentration of iron, manganese, or copper in your water.
– Slimy reddish-brown water and pipes: If you're dealing with slimy water and pipes, it's likely caused by iron bacteria that feed on the iron in your water.
– Discoloured water: Cloudy, black-red, brown, or yellow water could be the result of fine suspended particles (also known as turbidity), air bubbles, hydrogen sulphide, iron, manganese, humic and tannic acids.
– Unusual taste or odour: If your water tastes or smells like rotten eggs, metal, salt, must, earth, bleach, or petrol, it could be due to hydrogen sulphide, an acidic pH balance, iron, zinc, copper, lead, total dissolved solids (TDS), chloride, bacteria or algae, chlorine, or paint soaking into plastic piping used in newer homes.
– Corrosive water: If your plumbing is experiencing deposits or pitting, it could be due to a low pH balance, copper, or lead.
OK.. so you have made the decision to get a water filter for your family’s future health. Here at AlkaWay we’ve been advising people around Australia for the last 23 years. Give us a call Mon-Thurs 9am to 5pm on 1800-268 469 or email us here.
Sources: NSF International, Sydney Water.