Frequently Asked Questions:
Water Treatment help sheet:
1) What water purification system should I purchase?
If your water source is from a chlorinated water system it is recommended a system that not only removes chlorine or in some cases chloramine, but heavy metals, bad taste and odour, bacteria, and waterborne parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium. A combination of a KDF55 and GAC filter and a 0.5-micron carbon block would be a good choice.
Every well has its own character. Your well could be totally different than your neighbor across the street. It has been estimated that 20% of all wells have coliform in them, and the owner is not aware of it. Most wells have not been tested for years. Older wells can have a high lead content from the pump, are not sealed properly or have been contaminated by pesticides and nitrates. In some cases the groundwater itself can be the cause of contamination from years of poor farming practices or from old mining sites. It is recommended that wells be tested for pathogens once a year and for a full spectrum test if the taste or color changes. It is recommended a well test be done by a professional lab, not by a water treatment company. That way there is no conflict of interest. A lab report can tell and show exactly what needs to be treated so your money is spent wisely. In almost every situation well water can be made safe and drinkable.
Lake water is most often untreated water. If you are a permanent resident or an owner of a recreation property your lake water can be treated. Some concerns with lake water are parasites, which are in virtually all surface sources of water, other residences that may have older septic fields which can leach into the water, sewage discharge from house boats and fuel leakage from boats. One drop of oil can render 25 liters of water unfit for drinking. Pesticide and nitrates can also be found in the water. Depending on the conditions, the options for treating your lake water can go from filters which can take care of sediment, parasites, metals, bad taste and odour, bacteria. Ultraviolet systems for treatment of pathogens or a reverse osmosis for nitrates, environmental contaminants and so on.
2) What does the term Point of Entry (POE) or Point of Use (POU) mean?
Point of Entry refers to water purification systems that are placed where your water main comes into the house, or pump house, by the well. These can include water filters, Whole House Ultra Violet systems, a water softener if needed or more. Point of Use is a water purification system installed usually at the kitchen sink and would be your primary source for drinking and cooking water. These would include filters systems, reverse osmosis, Ultra violet water purifiers or counter top Ultra Violet, these can be connected to a water dispenser in a cooler or fridge, to an ice maker or to another water source in the house such as a second sink or bathroom.
3) What system can I use if I rent?
The portable counter top systems are perfect for renters. The units fit on almost every faucet in minutes, and can be taken with you when you move. There is no installation cost, and the filters can be changed easily. These systems can be customized for your particular water conditions, and they can easily be taken to the cottages, RV or to hotel room if you are on vacation.
4) What system can I use if I own my own house or apartment?
Most people prefer to have an under counter system and/ or a whole house system installed where it is out of the way, again depending on what your water conditions are, it is recommend to create a system made just for you, for your own requirements. The under counter systems come with a separate designated faucet mounted on your sink which dispenses pure water for cooking and drinking, watering your plants, feeding the dog, etc.
5) Why should I buy my own water purification system instead of renting one or buying bottled water?
The cost of owning your own system can give you an unlimited and convenient supply of water for just pennies per day. The initial cost of your system it's paid off with no time, there is only the cost for replacement filters. Compare the cost of renting a system, which are ongoing, plus the company renting the system to you often charges an additional charge for maintenance such as filter changes as well as the cost for the filters. The overall cost per year can be double what it would cost you to purchase your own system. The cost of bottled water has been estimated to be about a thousand times greater than tap water. The quality of bottled water according to Canadian health guidelines needs to be no greater than tap water quality. Bottled water should have a shelf life of 30 days unopened, most bottled water companies will say their water is good for 1 to 2 years. The plastic bottles used by bottled water companies tend to leach into the water in a short time, and the bottles that people use to fill water at their local supermarket are often inadequately sterilized creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. The other problem with bottled water is because of the expense, and the inconvenience, most people don't use the bottled water for cooking. When you have high levels of contaminants in your tap water, especially heavy metals like lead, arsenic, copper, those are left in fairly high concentrations in your food.
6) Why should I use a shower filter?
Most people are aware that chlorine should be filtered from their drinking water, many people are not aware that more chlorine is absorbed through our largest organ, the skin, than by drinking six to eight glasses of chlorinated water. The chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water creating highly toxic trihalomethanes (THMs) as well as many other toxic gases. There have been many studies linking elevated levels of chlorine with early miscarriage and birth defects, as well as an increase in bowel and colon cancer. Chlorine can also cause chronic fatigue, dermatitis, and autoimmune disease. The KDF55 media in the Aquasmart shower filter removes about 98% of the chlorine as well as heavy metals, and bacteria, which often is in high concentrations in your hot water tank. It is also a great product if you color your hair as it protects your hair color from the harmful effects of chlorine, it will keep your shower stall cleaner and free of algae.
7) What should I do for water in case of an emergency?
It is highly recommend of having 2 or more 20 liter food grade bottles filled with chlorinated water, 2 or more sport bottles with extra filters for extra protection from contaminants that you process the water through for drinking and cooking. The water can be stored in a cool dark place, and the water should be changed every 4 to 6 months. We carry the 20 liter bottles and the sport bottles and replaceable filters in our store or you can order them as Aquasmart Technologies Inc. ships worldwide.
8) What is a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification system?
Reverse Osmosis technology is probably one of the oldest methods of purifying water. Using water pressure only the water passes through 3 pre filters in the Aquasmart® Reverse Osmosis and then is forced through a tightly wound spiral membrane. The membrane allows only pure water to pass through it and into a pressurized storage tank while the impurities are flushed away. As the pure water is used, the system automatically replaces it. The Aquasmart® RO can produce up to 18 gallons of pure water a day. Approximately 3-4 gallons of water to produce one gallon of pure water. Your average toilet will waste more water in a few flushes than the RO system will use to produce pure water. The Reverse Osmosis system is often called the Cadillac of water purification, but like a Cadillac it requires attention to maintenance, filters must be changed on a regular basis, not only does this protect the membrane from being fouled but neglect can be expensive. There are some contaminants that only a RO system can remove. If your water source has waste water going into it the RO is recommended to remove nitrates, pharmaceuticals, high levels of sodium, arsenic, fluoride, and so on. People with compromised immune systems should also choose a Reverse Osmosis system, or Ultra Violet systems.
9) Will a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system remove all the nutrients from the water?
Most of the minerals our body needs are found in a healthy diet, only traces of minerals are found in our water source. It is highly recommended to get an RO system when removal of water contaminants are of more importance and only an RO system can remove them.
10) What is Ultraviolet water purification?
Ultraviolet or (UV) light is a natural and environmentally safe way to disinfect water. Water is sent through a chamber containing a lamp/quartz sleeve assembly, this light penetrates microorganisms and damages the DNA of bacteria and viruses so they are unable to replicate and die. Water must be free of discoloration as pathogens will hide behind sediment particles and not be effectively treated. Any contaminants in the water that could build up and coat the quartz sleeve must also be removed. All UV lamps are effective for one year and then they no longer have the strength to penetrate pathogens. For a UV system used at point of entry to purify all the water in the house the flow rate is very important as to how large a unit is needed. Under size units will not be able to handle the purification of water used at its highest capacity. Whole House UV is often used on untreated water sources as well as wells that have tested positive for coliform or e-coli. The UV makes all the water in the house safe to consume and to bathe in. Aquasmart Technologies Inc. has both a under counter 4 stage Ultraviolet water purifier or a portable counter top unit. The portable system is great for an RV if you travel in areas where the water is untreated.
11) What is the difference between chlorine and chloramine?
Many communities have changed their disinfecting agent used in water treatment from chlorine to chloramine. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. While chlorine is easy to remove from your water, ammonia is very difficult. Even a Reverse Osmosis system will not remove the ammonia from the drinking water, a special filter must be added to the system and in a filter system a different KDF media is used to remove the ammonia Centaur Catalytic absorptive carbon filter is very effective in the removal of both chloramine and hydrogen sulphide and can be purchased as a whole house 20" filter or a standard 10" point of use filter which can be placed into a standard 10" housing in a RO system or in a filter housing. The problem with chloramine is most people are either unaware that it is being used in their community or they are using a water purification system that is not effective in removing the ammonia. A call to your local waterworks should be able to tell you what treatment is being used in your area. Chloramine is also extremely toxic to fish.
12) What is hydrogen sulphide and how do I get rid of it?
Hydrogen sulphide is a naturally occurring gas that is commonly in evidence by a rotten egg smell or the smell of tidal flats. In very high concentrations it can cause black staining. It is not possible to get a reliable test result on the concentrations of hydrogen sulphide in a water test because it is a gas, smell is the best way to tell if you have it, but it won't tell you very much about the concentrations. The source for HS can be from a number of different sources. Decaying organic matter can cause the gas or a reaction of acidic water with an aquifer that has sulfur content or bacteria that has iron or manganese as part of their diet. Whatever the source, it can be removed the same way. A Whole House Centaur Catalytic absorptive filter will do the job.
If the problem is not in the source water it must be treated a different way. Sometimes the sulfites in the water react with the anode in the hot water tank will cause the gas to be formed. You can determine if this is the case by checking the odour in the cold and hot water supply. The odour will be stronger in the hot water side because the gas wants to escape faster from hot water than from cold water. An anode rod will have to be installed in the hot water tank.
13) What should I know about ground water and aquifers?
Ground water is water found under the surface of the ground, where the water reaches a zone of saturation where every space between the rock and soil particles is filled with water. Water moves down through the layers of soil and gravel or aeration zone until it reaches the saturation zone, the water table is the top of the saturation zone. The primary source of ground water is rainfall and melting snow where it reaches the saturation zone until it makes its way to a wetland, spring, pond etc to become surface water. There are many threats to the quality of water in aquifers and ground water, some of them are natural from elements like arsenic, chloride, radon, iron and manganese, excessive removal of water from an aquifer causing the water table to drop and in coastal areas seawater may be pulled into the well. However most serious contamination comes from humans. Pollutants from landfill, road salt, misuse and inappropriate disposal of industrial, agricultural and home chemicals can cause serous health issues including nervous system disorders, kidney and liver disorder and cancers. In some cases the reclamation of the ground water is not possible.
14) Fluoride: what is the controversy?
There are more and more communities questioning the wisdom of adding fluoride to municipal water systems. Originally thought to improve children's teeth evidence has shown that dental improvement was happening at the same rate in non-fluoridated areas as in areas that regularly added fluoride. Dental fluorosis or mottling or pitting of the teeth is a side effect of high levels of fluoride. There is evidence of fluoride absorption causing elevated bone fractures, bone disease and bone cancer. Fluoride works best as a topical treatment and yet as an additive to our drinking water we are subjected to systemic bodily exposure. If this is a concern for you and you would like to remove the fluoride from your drinking water. The Reverse Osmosis is the most effective and cost efficient removal method. An Activated Alumina filter will also remove fluoride but it is more costly. First, you need to know if fluoride is added to your municipal drinking water by contacting your local water authority. More and more communities are voting to remove fluoride from their water treatment.
15) What is Lead?
Lead is not often found in ground water. It is almost always caused by corrosion in the water distribution system. It is often found in old solder, brass fixtures and lead pipe and connections. More acidic water can cause higher lead levels.
16) What are Nitrates?
Nitrates are usually found in areas of heavy farming. Over exposure of land to animal waste or years of over fertilization can be the cause. This can lead to ground water contamination that can never be rectified. A Reverse Osmosis system is definitely recommended for wells with nitrate contamination.
17) What is Arsenic?
Arsenic can occur in ground water through the use of pesticides. Rodent poisons, landfills or it can occur naturally by the erosion of bedrock. Arsenic is extremely carcinogenic and even low levels of arsenic should be removed from your water source.
18) What is Giardia?
A microbiological parasite found in surface water that can infect humans and cause an infection of the lower intestinal tract. Giardia are protected by an outer shell called a cyst which makes it extremely hardy and resistant to removal by chlorine. The symptoms of infections are similar to a gastrointestinal illness, fever, diarrhea, nausea, which can show up days after exposure. Most symptoms will pass but for people with weakened immune systems they can get very ill. A 0.5-micron carbon block, UV, or Reverse Osmosis will remove waterborne parasites.
19) What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium Parvum is predominately a parasite of neonate animals, infecting the digestive tract of man and other warm-blooded animals, transmitting the disease to humans who drink contaminated water. The infection can be then transmitted from person to person, through ingestion of contaminated water, food, or contaminated environmental surfaces. When humans get infected with cryptosporidium symptoms may appear within 2-10 days and the symptoms are the same as from the Giardia.
There is no drug that can cure cryptosporidium. The best and the most simple way is to prevent infection to occur by taking all the appropriate measures, on what you drink, what you eat and contact with other people. Avoid public swimming pools and wash your hands frequently. One of the most important things to do is to drink and cook with pure water. The recommendation is to use a Reverse Osmosis, a 0.5-micron carbon block filter, Ultraviolet.
20) What is Manganese?
You will know you have manganese in your water by a black to brown color, black stains on your laundry and dish washer, the detergents raise the pH of the water high enough often around a (>8) to appear. It will also often leave an oil-like film on the top of the toilet tank. It is a naturally occurring substance and is often found along with iron and hydrogen sulfide gas order. There are two types of manganese, Manganous manganese which is invisible and cannot be mechanically filtered from the water, or manganic manganese which has precipitated or formed a solid- turned to rust) It is rare to find this type of manganese where the PH is lower than 8. Manganese is not considered a health risk unless it is found in concentrations above 0.2ppm and then it should be reduced because of health concerns.
21) What is Iron?
Iron will cause an orange stain on appliances, toilets, sinks and can be very corrosive. Iron filters or water softeners can be used to remove concentrations of iron. It is not considered a health risk, more of an aesthetic problem. Like manganese there are different forms of iron and they need to be treated in different ways. A well test is the best way to tell what kind of iron is in your water and at what concentrations. While iron is not considered a health hazard it can make the water very unpleasant.
22) What is pH?
Many studies have shown that pH directly impacts us all and affects our overall health, with poor digestion, skin disorders, weight problems, energy level, free radical oxidation (premature aging) and osteoporosis, including cancer.
23)What is an Aquasmart® Sports Bottle?
The sports bottle is able to hold 22 ounces of water that you can take from a lake or a stream or the tap, the water passes through a replaceable polymer filter, it creates a tortuous path which traps microorganism like Cryptosporidium and Giardia, as well the filter removes chlorine and bad taste and odours. The food grade plastic bottle is much safer for reuse than the disposable plastic water bottles and gives you water at a fraction of the cost. Take the bottle to the office, to the gym, biking, hiking camping and traveling.
24) What is KDF® ?
KDF® Process Media Filtration:
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion. KDF process media are patented high purity copper-zinc formulations.
KDF media eliminates or reduces contaminants from the water by utilizing electrochemical oxidation reduction.
KDF 55 and KDF 85 process media can remove up to 99% of water-soluble lead, mercury, nickel, chromium, and other dissolved metals.
All KDF process media forms are effective in controlling the buildup of bacteria, algae, fungi and scale, making them ideal for use in granular activated carbon (GAC) beds, ion exchange resins, carbon block filters and in-line filters.
Wherever you use KDF Medium, it will be more cost effective and eliminates chemical treatments. Carbon filters only is not the answer, they only reduce chlorine, bad taste and odours, and they must be replaced often.
Activated carbon filters are quickly exhausted by our standard heavily chlorinated water, and they must be carefully monitored for chlorine break-through and bacterial buildup.
KDF media will provide constant, long-term, cost effective results.
KDF comparison chart (.pdf)
25) What is Alkaline ?
Drink Alkaline water for better health !
The only filtration in the world today that will reduce acidity in the body and it will produce natural calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium ions that can be absorbed 100% in the human body.
- Prevents Reproduction of Germs and Virus
- Produces large quantities of hydrogen and oxygen
- Produces higher pH from 6.5 up to 9.88
- Reverses aging, due to reduction of acid wastes
- Provides more energy and increases the metabolic process
Aquasmart Technologies Inc. offers the best Ceramic Alkaline filter, natural minerals are slowly released into the water, raising the pH level and staying high constantly.