Water Quality in The US and Why Water Filters Are a Necessity
When it comes to the water quality in the US, the situation is tricky. On one hand, authorities claim it is among the cleanest tap waters in the world. On the other, some facts and numbers tell a different version of the story.
Each year, there are 16 million cases of acute gastroenteritis in the US alone. Water quality in the US is regarded as shady at best.
The EPA’s best efforts to regulate our water supply are failing.
It is believed that much of our tap water is tainted. Water quality violations are widespread. Estimates show that anywhere between 9 and 45 million were affected by these violations in the past three decades.
Water quality in the US – An Overview
Flint, Michigan, has become notorious in the past couple of years because of its tainted water. But this problem doesn’t affect that north-eastern town. Relatively new studies have shown violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act occur numerous times. More than your average Joe can count. Some water economists at the University of California claim that tap water is “really safe.” However, problems with drinking water seem to appear every year. In fact, in some places, they crop up yearly.
Even the CDC acknowledges the fact that contaminants do get in our drinking water from time to time. The pollutants can cause diarrhea and many other ailments. Some go as far as creating chronic conditions and neurological disorders. The fact of the matter is you can’t drink unfiltered tap water without worrying afterward. It is clear that municipalities don’t always respect regulations, so it is up to us to filter our water.
Furthermore, some communities have a disadvantage in treating their water from the start. Hot summers in southern states like Texas and Oklahoma create ideal breeding conditions for bacteria. Low-income communities also take hard hits as they cannot afford the latest treatment technology. People in these communities have no choice but to filter out their water. Otherwise, relying on their local authorities is useless.
What the numbers say
Researchers have found out that the most common violations of water regulations are microbial-based. As many as 32 million cases of waterborne diseases occur per year in our country. In 2013 and 2014 alone, out of 1006 cases, 124 hospitalizations and 13 death occurred.
From 2014 to 2019, public school’s water regulation compliance fell by a large margin. In EPA regions 2 and 6 alone, 12 million people have drunk water from a system that has violated at least one regulation.
In six western states, out of 107 water samples, 77 were contaminated with Cryptosporidium. It’s a microscopic parasite that causes a gastrointestinal illness similar to Giardia. 77 out of 107 samples is a shockingly high 71.9%. If that much water is infested, how can we drink it without alarming?
Filters are essential for ensuring high water quality in the US
Aging infrastructure, affected water sources, and lack of public funding have all played a role in decreasing water quality. But not even private wells are safe. Bacteria is more eager to grow inside those. In fact, you are more likely to get nasty infections from private wells than regular tap water. So how do we solve this? The answer is simple: filtration.
Getting a water filter may not be mandatory by law, but it’s a must. If you care about you and your family’s wellbeing, it’s your best option. But what type of water filter is good at stopping diseases? Sure, regular water filters do a great job of stopping heavy metals, dirt, and man-made pollutants. But bacteria and viruses are small enough to escape the filter’s grasp.
Most municipalities simply use chlorine, which comes with its own set of problems. And it’s not always efficient. So what can you do to solve this problem? There are several methods to achieve this, but most are only useful under certain conditions. They aren’t meant to address a constant flow of bacteria in your water. Only one of them is, but we’ll get to that later.
This method is more powerful than chlorine. However, you need ozone for this method to work. It is the one essential element required, and it can't you can't just buy it. You must generate it on-site. You need machinery that produces ozone, but it is complicated to use and maintain. Some people choose this method because of its effectiveness. Some prefer it because of novelty. But most of us are better off sticking to something simpler.
This method is probably the most straightforward and cheapest way to get rid of bacteria. Unlike chlorination, it kills most organisms. However, it’s only practical as an emergency measure. And once boiled, the cool water has to be protected from contamination. Not to mention that this entire process can take a lot of time. Depending on your heating method and container, it can take up to 5 minutes to boil the water to a bacteria-killing state. And, remember, boiling doesn’t kill all bacteria.
UV Water Treatment
The practical solution is to go one step further and add a UV water filter. Ultraviolet light deactivates microorganisms’ cells. The UV light destroys bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens’ ability to multiply and cause disease. As long as you have clear water, the UV rays can penetrate it and destroy 99.9% of these organisms.
What method has the most advantages?
Although not perfect, UV filters are by far the best overall method of killing bacteria. UV water filters are one of the only four methods approved by the FDA. We all know how hard it is to get past the Food and Drug Administration. In that sense, ultraviolet filters have passed with excellent results. Now you might have a few questions regarding this method. What’s most important to note is that it doesn’t get rid of dirt, heavy metals, or man-made pollutants. You’re going to need to pair it with a traditional filter for that. Or with a pre-filter system.
Once you’re done with that, the ultraviolet rays take care of viruses and bacteria. The filter’s UV-C rays are similar to those emitted by the sun during hot summers. They’re efficient at destroying 99.9% of microorganisms. They work by targeting and deactivating their cells. This way, bacteria and viruses no longer spread and can no longer inflict disease. And since the rays are so close to their target, their effect is instant.
UV filters are 100% safe to handle because they don’t use any chemicals. Unlike chlorination, they are environmentally friendly. They leave no byproducts or residue. No water gets wasted, and your electricity bill won't be that inflated either. You can leave the filter on 24/7 for an entire year without worrying about power consumption.
Speaking of electricity, you only need to change the filter’s light bulb and quartz sleeve once a year. You don’t need to worry about replacing dirty filters or buying other tools. They are so easy to install that you don't even need to call your plumber. Even if you are a newcomer, you'll get the hang of it in no time.
What are the downsides of using a UV filter?
Water quality in the US is not affected just by bacteria and viruses. As mentioned earlier, UV filters don’t work on inorganic material. The ultraviolet rays won't remove heavy metals, salts, chlorine, petroleum, and man-made contaminants. Those pollutants will even block the rays from penetrating the water and disabling bacteria.
UV filters might not consume much electricity, but they do require it. If the power goes out, the filter stops working. That means bacteria and viruses can roam free. This can be a considerable disadvantage in emergencies.
If you have hard water, you might want to consider pairing it with a water descaler. Calcium and magnesium crystals also block the light from doing its job. The descaler turns these crystals into ions, making the UV filter work properly. And you also get other benefits by doing this as well.
Overall, the disadvantages are insignificant when compared to the advantages a UV filter provides. Municipal water systems have suffered E. Coli infections in the past, and no one can guarantee they will be 100% safe in the future. You wouldn’t want yourself or your loved ones ending up in the emergency room just by drinking water.
Water quality in the US is better than in other countries. However, it is far from being perfect. There are too many impurities in our tap water for us to merely drink it without suffering consequences. It’s no wonder why many Americans choose to buy bottled water or install filters. A wise man once said, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
If recent history has shown us anything, it’s the fact that we can’t rely on authorities to provide clean water. It’s best to install a traditional filter for pollutants and a UV filter for bacteria and viruses. Otherwise, you will never know when you might require a visit to the hospital. And we all know how expensive healthcare is in this country. But that’s another topic that we won’t get into right now. We hope the information you’ve found here will be useful to you and your loved ones.