While we’re quick to purchase organic meats and produce, we often underestimate the importance of the water we drink and cook with. It’s not really until issues like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan that people stop to think, “what’s in my water?”. Drinking water sources are subject to contamination so the government has developed regulations on the steps required to make water drinkable. Below are the steps outlined by the CDC:
- Coagulation and Flocculation
Coagulation and flocculation are often the first steps in water treatment. Chemicals with a positive charge are added to the water. The positive charge of these chemicals neutralizes the negative charge of dirt and other dissolved particles in the water. When this occurs, the particles bind with the chemicals and form larger particles, called floc.
During sedimentation, floc settles to the bottom of the water supply, due to its weight. This settling process is called sedimentation.
Once the floc has settled to the bottom of the water supply, the clear water on top will pass through filters of varying compositions (sand, gravel, and charcoal) and pore sizes, in order to remove dissolved particles, such as dust, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
After the water has been filtered, a disinfectant (for example, chlorine, chloramine) may be added in order to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, and viruses, and to protect the water from germs when it is piped to homes and businesses. Once the water has gone through all these steps then it is technically considered drinkable, but still has traces of Chlorine from the disinfecting stage. At this point, it hasn’t even gone through the pipes! Older pipes are often made of iron, steel, or lead whereas modern pipes tend to be made of copper. After the general purification, the water needs to pass through these pipes before it makes it to your tap, picking up metals and sediment along the way. So where are we? Despite government regulations to purify water, we’re still being exposed to chemicals and metals in everyday drinking water. Excessive exposure to these chemicals and metals can cause serious health conditions long term as well as an overall dryness in your skin and hair. The only way to truly guarantee that the water you’re drinking, showering with, and using to prepare meals with is free of these chemicals is to consume bottled water or to install a water filtration system into your home. In 2012, Americans spent $11.8 billion dollars on bottled water. This pricing is for product purchases alone and has no representation of the damage long term bottle water usage has on our environment. Also, bottle water has no real regulation and requires preservatives to maintain overall shelf life. While often very convenient, it is recommended that as consumers we begin to swap out our plastic water bottles for stainless steel refillable containers. As consumers have become more environmentally aware, they are taking this challenge and we will hopefully see a decline in plastic water bottle purchases in the coming years. So what do you fill these stainless steel or glass portable water containers with? Filtered water! There are several options for water filtration systems and you can opt into a point of use system or whole house system. As a consumer, it is important that you do your research and ensure that you’re aware of everything that goes into your body. For more information on what water filtration system might be best for you, contact us at below.
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