Public Utility and Private Well
Water Purification Systems
In the U.S., there are about 55,000 public water purification
systems. EPA mandates that these plants test for close to 80 contaminants. In 1996, 7% of
these plants, or 4,151, reported one or more violation of EPA standards for these
regulated contaminants that went without treatment. Less than 2%, or 681, did not use an
EPA-required treatment technique to eliminate certain types of pollution. This is reason
enough to use water filters in your home.
Water and Contaminant Sources
Most community water purification systems obtain their water
from surface sources, like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. These bodies, open to the
environment, are susceptible to pollution. Animal waste can contaminate surface sources
with bacteria like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Industries can discharge their wastes into
surfacewater, adding hazardous organic contaminants to the source you may drink.
Stormwater drains can empty into rivers and lakes with rainwater that's carrying gasoline,
oil, and any number of hazardous and bacterial wastes. Rainwater can also carry
fertilizers and pesticides from fields into streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Even
train derailments and truck accidents that cause tankers to spill their contents can
contaminate surface sources.
Cryptosporidium in particular is difficult for treatment
facilities to eliminate. Each Cryptosporidium microorganism is covered by an outer shell,
called a oocyst, that is impervious to disinfection chemicals like chlorine. On rare
occasions, these oocysts pass untreated through treatment plants to your home.
In 1993, the City of Milwaukee experienced a severe
Cryptosporidium outbreak. The parasite passed through the treatment and disinfection
process and caused over 400,000 people to contract cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal
disease that can be fatal to people with a compromised immune system. More than 4,000
people were hospitalized, and more than 50 people died. The original source of
contamination is uncertain.
Chlorine itself is another potentially harmful chemical.
While it is vital to disinfection, chlorine can bond with naturally occurring organic
matter to form potentially harmful substances, such as chloroform.
Other substances that can enter your drinking supply are
rust, sediment, and even lead. While flowing through distribution pipes from the treatment
plant to your home, it can pick up these pollutants after it's already been treated.
How Safe is Your Source?
The best way to find out is to call your community system and
ask for a quality analysis. You can compare the results to EPA's National Primary Drinking
Standards and National Secondary Standards to find out if it falls below levels EPA thinks
are safe for certain contaminants. As of 1999, your community system will have to send you
yearly reports with this information.
A note of caution: a test will only tell you what is in the
liquid that day. Public treatment plant failures can occur intermittently, and pollutants
can be present after these failures or after other events (e.g., after farm fertilizing
periods, heavy rains, or season changes).
Knowing what's in your source will help you select an
OMNIFilter. If it is high in rust and/or sediment, or if you wish to reduce odors and
chlorine in all your faucets, showerheads, and appliances, we recommend installing a Whole
House filter. If you are concerned about bacteria, lead, or volatile organic compounds
(VOCs), we recommend additionally installing an Undersink filter. Or if you just want
great tasting refreshment, we also recommend installing an Undersink filter.
People who use private wells are not immune from problems
Doulton Water Filters
remove 99.999% of bacteria, cysts, and any other foreign particles as small as .2 of a
If you need help choosing the right filter for your needs, or
want additional information, please call our Customer Service Department at (855) 855-1976.