Lisa Boyle

Author Archives: Lisa Boyle

March 2, 2019

Best Whole House Water Filter to Remove Fluoride and Chlorine

Best Whole House Water Filter to Remove Fluoride and Chlorine

Your water is full of impurities. Some are put there on purpose. While others are there because of inefficient filtering. How do you protect your family from these additives? And what’s the best whole house water filter to remove fluoride and chlorine?

Investing in a whole house water filter system would be your best bet. But there are so many to choose from. How do you know which is right for you?

Keep reading to find out your options to remove fluoride and chlorine from your water. And get you one step closer to healthier and cleaner drinking water from your tap.

Why Remove Fluoride?

Does your city add fluoride to the drinking water? Don’t be surprised because many cities do it.

What started out as good intentions has turned into a debate mired in controversy. Why?

At first, municipalities wanted to help promote dental health and prevent tooth decay. So they fluoridated the water. The problem lies in the fact that fluoride is a toxin and may cause different health problems after long-term exposure.

You do have some options to remove fluoride from your drinking water. Even if you can’t control the water that’s pumped into your home.

Option 1 – Deionization with Ion Exchange Resin 

Using a special resin, this deionization process traps fluoride ions. During this process, other ions are released or exchanged into the water. Deionization is commonly used to soften hard water. However, making sure it has an Ion Exchange Resin may also remove fluoride from your home’s water supply.

Option 2 – Activated Alumina 

This process uses activated alumina oxide. It’s made from a natural mineral called corundum. Because it attracts fluoride, activated alumina can capture and absorb it out of your drinking water. This type is relatively popular for households that want to remove fluoride from their water for their entire home.

Option 3 – Bone Char

Bone char is what it sounds like. It’s a form of carbon derived from charring animal bones. Usually, cattle bones are used for this media. This type of carbon filter works by attracting and exchanging ions with heavy metals and fluoride.

Though it can be used for whole house filters, you may want to take precautions when using this type of media. Be careful that the bone char source is medical grade. And it is not derived from the bones of infected or sick animals.

Why Remove Chlorine?

Water chlorination began as a way to free drinking water from dangerous pathogens. When used correctly, it can prevent the transmission of diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and worms.

However, too much chlorination can lead to health problems. And it’s also widely debated that exposure to chlorinated water may lead to serious long-term illnesses, including cancer.

Whole house water filters can remove chlorine from your drinking water and help keep your family safe.

Option 1 – Carbon 

One of the most common filter types available is carbon. It removes many types of chemicals from water, including chlorine. It’s also popular because it removes bad taste and smell that may be present in tap water.

They are typically available in 2 forms: carbon block and granular activated carbon. You may also see catalytic carbon mentioned, but it’s just an enhanced form of activated carbon. Unfortunately, this filter type is not effective in removing fluoride by itself.

Option 2 – Ultraviolet

This option may seem high-tech, and in some ways it is. Using a specific wavelength range can remove chlorine from water. Many point-of-entry, or whole house, water systems incorporate UV as one of their many stages of purification.

Whole House Water Filters that Remove Both Fluoride and Chlorine

One of the most important things to look out for when choosing a whole house water system is finding one that filters out both fluoride and chlorine. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic filter that takes out all contaminants.

A more likely scenario will have you look for systems that use a combination of purification techniques that coincide with your filtration needs.

The best whole house water filter to remove fluoride and chlorine is a multi-tier, and multi-media, water system. Point-of-entry systems are a big deal, and you will have to tap into your home’s water supply line, so you may not find your solution at a big box store.

Consider consulting with a water system specialist to have your water system custom tailored for your needs. This way you can also ensure that it has the correct filters to remove both fluoride and chlorine.

If you do decide to go with a store-bought system, make sure to read the claims carefully. Some systems don’t remove both fluoride and chlorine. Having a carbon filtration stage is a good indicator that both will be removed from your water, but it depends on the type of carbon filter that is included.

Furthermore, keep in mind that a whole house water system may be pricey. So expect to pay more than you would your typical point-of-use, or under sink, unit. Especially if you decide to have your water system custom made. Both the initial system, installation, and the upkeep of filter replacements is an ongoing expense that you may need to factor into your budget.

Certifications

If you are having trouble deciding between manufacturers or models, go with the one that is certified. There are 3 different certifications to look for when checking out water filtration systems: ANSI, NSF, and EPA.

Systems that are certified by one or all of these organizations go through rigorous testing to make sure the units do what they claim.

Filters To Remove Fluoride and Chlorine 

Firstly, fluoride and chlorine can lead to a variety of diseases as a result of harmful pathogens. Secondly, water just tastes horrible when filled with fluoride and chlorine. 

Here are some of the best water filters on the market that can get rid of up to 99% of these harmful pathogens

1. Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Professional Installation Kit

2. iSpring WKB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

3. Home Master HMF2SDGC Whole House 2-Stage Water Filter

Conclusion

You have a few options if you want to remove harmful contaminants from your family’s drinking water. But the best whole house water filter to remove fluoride and chlorine may come down to personal preference.

Point-of-entry water systems are relatively expensive, so you may need to shop around for the best option and price point for your family’s needs. Take a look at custom systems as well as ones you can buy as a kit, and look at the manufacturer’s claims carefully. Not all systems are created equal.

Finally, make sure that the water filtration system you ultimately go with is certified to meet or exceed ANSI/NSF or EPA standards. 

January 24, 2019

iSpring RCS5T 500 GPD Osmosis Water Filter System Review

iSpring RCS5T 500

If you have to manage or own a small commercial concern, ensuring the quality of the drinking water can easily become a bewildering decision due to all the products on the market. For a business owner, it is important to decide on a product that leaves the customer, as well as the company, satisfied.

To help you make the best decision for your specific environment, we have reviewed the iSpring RCS5T 500 GPD Reverse Osmosis Commercial Grade Tankless Water Filter to see if it will meet the demands of a small business.

iSpring RCS5T 500 Water Filter

iSpring has been in the water purification business for more than 10 years and developed the commercial-grade RCS5T as an affordable investment for small businesses (or even large families) that need constant, high quality water-on-demand for drinking and other applications.

iSpring designed this point-of-use filtration system not only to purify water, but also to ensure that it will handle the higher-pressure requirements of a commercial concern.

Who Is This Water Filter for?

The RCS5T has been designed for commercial use in small companies such as restaurants, coffee shops, small offices, and stores. It will meet the demands of small companies for whom a high-quality supply of water is of optimal importance.

Because this unit is tankless, there are no large storage problems to deal with. However, if you require storage you can always add a tank and storage pump which is sold separately.

Thanks to its built-in booster pump it will not only remove impurities, but also ensure that no matter how high the demand is, there will be a steady high-pressured supply of water without any fuss.

What’s Included?

Everything required to install the unit is included with delivery. This consists of:

  • High-capacity 5-micron 10" polypropylene sediment filter
  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) 5-micron 10" filter
  • Carbon Block (CTO) 5-micron 10" filter
  • 500 GPD patented dual-flow .0001 micron Reverse Osmosis Membrane
  • Polishing inline post carbon filter
  • Built-in booster pump
  • Lead-free, long-reach, luxury goose neck faucet.
  • Color-coded and food-grade tubing
  • Installation manual
  • All the accessories required for installation: filter housing wrenches, feed water valve, drain saddle and inserts

Overview of Features

Whereas normal filtration systems only use filters to purify water, those using reverse osmosis use different size filters as well as membrane to catch the tiniest particles in water. The pre-filters are there to ensure that substances such chlorine and sediments that can damage the reverse osmosis membrane are removed prior to the reverse osmosis process.

To save space in confined environments, the unit can easily be installed underneath a counter or sink with dimensions of 14"w x 11"d x 17.5"h and weighing 28lbs.

The iSpring RCS5T 500 is so-named because it processes 500 gallons of water per day, with a filtration ratio of 9ppm. The water-to-waste ratio is 1:1, which means less waste water than most other reverse osmosis products on the market, and therefore a lot more savings over long-term use.

This filtration system uses four canisters and a reverse osmosis film to filter almost all bacteria and impurities from tap water. Water is sent through each canister and while passing through each filter, tinier and tinier particles are trapped and removed.

The process starts when water passes through the first polypropylene sediment filter that is designed to trap different kinds of sediment such as rust, dirt, and silt.  This canister is see-through to make it easier to see if it is blocked and needs replacement.

The next cartridge has a 5-micron GAC (Granulated Activated Carbon) filter that traps chlorine particles as well as other impurities that cause cloudiness, in addition to other pollutants such as mineral oils and phenol.

The treated water then passes through a denser carbon block filter that will remove any residual color, smell, and taste as well as chloramines.

When the water reaches the fourth stage, it is pushed through a patented dual-flow reverse osmosis membrane by high pressure. This semi-permeable membrane has tiny holes (only 0.0001 microns wide) that removes arsenic, lead and other contaminators as well as biological matter.

In the last stage the water is sent through a final polishing filter that ensures that 98% of chemicals, pesticides, and other contaminants are removed.

By the time the water reaches the faucet it is ready to be safely used and consumed. The built-in booster pump ensures that output water pressure is maintained around 10-15 psi. The faucet that comes with the filtration unit has a long-reach goose neck to facilitate easy handling and cleaning.

Unfortunately, this unit does not supply water to any other points, which means that you will not be able to connect kitchen appliances such as coffee machines and ice makers without after-market modifications.

Tutorial  

The instruction manual supplies detailed instructions on how to install the system. Installation of the unit will take time but should be manageable for someone who has even just a bit of experience in plumbing.  You can always hire a plumber too to help with the installation.

Alternatives

The iSpring RCS5T can filter 500 gallons per day, but if you would like to explore other filtration units, you might consider the Flexeon 500 GPD Titan Commercial Reverse Osmosis System.

This unit produces 500 gallons per day using big blue sediment and carbon pre-filters and two TFC HF1 membranes. It can distribute purified water to more than one location, so it can be used for different appliances in a kitchen environment or anywhere in your home or office.

The Flexeon’s high quality Fluid-O-Tech pump delivers the water to the membrane under ideal pressure. This system also has pressure gauges that can be monitored if you suspect that your water pressure has decreased and need to know if you have to replace the filters.

Conclusion 

The iSpring RCS5T is a well-designed high-quality water filtration system that needs minimal maintenance to keep it running quietly and supplying good quality drinking water for small businesses.

September 9, 2018

APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Review

APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Review

Are you looking to improve the taste of tap water in your home? Or perhaps you are concerned about ingesting impurities that can be bad for your health? Either way, the quality of your tap water could probably use some improvement.

So, what is the solution? It can be tough to choose one when there are so many products available on the market. Today, we're here to tell you about the APEC RO-CTOP, an easy to use and effective water filter that is suited for most households.

APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Review

The APEC RO-CTOP is a reverse osmosis water filter system. Reverse osmosis (RO) filters are popular because they are usually affordable, safe to use, and able to remove most pollutants from the water while improving its taste. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what this filter does.

It is a portable water filter system, which means you can carry it with you wherever you go, and it fits most standard faucets, with little installation required. The tap water goes in through a tube, passes through the filter, and comes out cleaner and fresher.

People have been using the RO-CTOP since at least 2005, and it is quite popular due to its small size and ease of use. However, the reverse osmosis filter does tend to make the water slightly acidic, although this is hardly noticeable. To address this issue, APEC released the RO-CTOP-PH, which adds calcium carbonate to the filtrated water to safely increase its pH.

Both the RO-CTOP and RO-CTOP-PH can be purchased with a handy aluminum carrying case. The versions with the included case are called RO-CTOP-C and RO-CTOP-PHC, respectively.

Who Is This Water Filter For?

Thanks to its portability (it only weighs 11 pounds), the RO-CTOP is the ideal choice if you travel a lot and like to drink clean water wherever you go.

Its small size (14x6.5x6 inches) also makes it a good option for small apartments or RV's, where it can be complicated to fit larger systems. If you are staying at a rental home, you should also buy one of these, because you may not want to install a more permanent solution.

You would think that such a small piece of equipment would not be enough for everyday use, but it can output an impressive 90 gallons of water per day (at 60 psi pressure). Just remember, the system cannot handle hot water (100º F is the limit).

However, it does not have a storage tank, so you have to store the water beforehand if you need it in short order. So if you require large amounts of clean water on demand, the RO-CTOP is probably not for you.

What’s Included?

The unboxing of the RO-CTOP is quite easy and simple. It includes all the essentials to get the system up and running, as long as you have a standard faucet on your countertop.

Thanks to the included adapters, you can connect the faucet adapter to any male or female 13/16'' or 15/16'' faucet.

Summing up, here are the contents of the package:

  • Installation instruction & owner's manual
  • RO-CTOP equipment, complete with 4 filtration stages
  • Faucet adapter with tubing
  • 13/16'' male thread valve adapter
  • 15/16'' male thread valve adapter
  • Rubber grommet

Unboxing Video

Overview of Features

So let's take a look at what the RO-CTOP is capable of. As we've seen, it is a really handy piece of equipment that you can carry with you anywhere and just leave on a countertop, since it won't take up much space. The numbers do not lie: it weighs only 11 pounds and measures 14x6.5x6 inches.

The system features 4 filtration stages, each one in charge of a different task. Stage 1 is responsible for removing dust, rust, and particles from the water. Stage 2 gets rid of any unwanted odors and colors, along with chlorine.

Stage 3 is the reverse osmosis membrane, where most of the magic happens. It can remove up to 99 percent of total dissolved solids (TDS) contained in the water, along with nasty contaminants like arsenic, chromium, fluoride, lead, radium, selenium, and even bacteria and viruses.

Finally, a stage 4 carbon filter will remove any residual tastes from the water, making it suitable for consumption.

The capacity of the RO-CTOP is impressive. It outputs 90 gallons of water per day at 60 psi or 75 gallons at 50 psi. These numbers were measured at 77º F. It can withstand input water pressures from 35 to 90 psi and temperatures ranging from 40º F to 100º F.

The only missing feature from this filter is a water storage tank, but if you think about it, this would defeat the purpose of portability.

How to Use It

Installation of the RO-CTOP is a breeze, so you probably won't need to call a specialist. There is no need to fiddle around with pipes or large tools, as the filter simply connects to the end of your kitchen faucet. Just keep in mind that it is not compatible with pull-out, sprayer, or special-size designer faucets.

If there is an aerator currently attached to your kitchen faucet, remove it first. Then, you just have to connect the faucet adapter to the kitchen faucet. If the size does not match, you can use one of the provided adapters.

When this is done, remove the red cap from the end of the output tube and you are ready to go! Check out this video if you have any doubts. The instruction manual provided by APEC Water also gives a good description.

As far as maintenance goes, you do need to swap the filter cartridges once in a while. APEC recommends changing stages 1 and 2 of the system every 6 months or 600-800 gallons of water. Stages 3 and 4 require less maintenance since they only need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years.

Alternatives

Because it is a reverse osmosis water filter system, the RO-CTOP tends to slightly acidify the water it filtrates. While the pH change may not be noticeable, it is not ideal, either.

If you also feel this way, you can opt for the RO-CTOP-PH instead. The difference between this system and its older brother is in the 4th filtration stage: the RO-CTOP-PH adds purified calcium carbonate to the water, in order to safely increase its alkalinity.

Alternatively, you may be interested in a less portable solution that provides some water storage capacity to simplify the logistics. The APEC RO-90 is a great alternative: it has a 4-gallon tank, with an additional 14 gallons as an option. This impressive system even has a WQA gold seal certification, which is a symbol of quality, safety, and reliability.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good water filtration system, especially one that you can carry with you, then the APEC RO-CTOP is definitely a product to consider. It can filter up to 90 gallons of water per day and remove some nasty pollutants from it, such as arsenic, cadmium or lead.

It uses a reverse osmosis system, which is one of the safest and most affordable methods of filtration available. You'll notice a change for the better in the taste and odor of your water.

August 26, 2018

What Is The Best Alkaline Water Filter?

You simply can’t live without water, so it is very important that you pay attention to the quality of the water you drink at your home.

In recent times we’ve seen alkaline water growing to be quite popular because it has a balanced pH and it’s said to be very efficient at doing what water does best - hydrating.

You can purchase it in bottled form, but you can also get a filter designed specifically to turn your tap water into alkaline water. Let’s get you better acquainted with alkaline water and the ways you can get it from your nearest faucet, which depends on you knowing what is the best alkaline water filter.

What Is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water is ordinary water with a slightly different pH level. It is a lot less acidic than the ordinary tap water that comes out of your faucet.

PH level shows how alkaline or acidic any substance is on a scale from 0 to 14. Any substance with a pH level of 1 is considered to be very acidic, while any other with a pH level of 13 is considered as very alkaline.

Regular tap water is considered to be more on the acidic side of things with its pH level at 7. In most cases, alkaline water is somewhere around 8 or 9 on the pH scale.

According to several reputable sources, plain water is actually better for most people, but there are still those who believe that alkaline water is even better for a person’s overall quality of health.

Without scientific research to back up such claims, it can only be left to one’s individual experience and opinion.

Those who believe in the health benefits of alkaline water usually say that it’s very helpful with cancer resistance, weight loss, proper hydration, detoxifying, improved skin health, improved immune system, colon cleansing, and slowing down the process of aging.

Drinking alkaline water is completely safe, but in some rare cases it may also be associated with certain mild side effects such as confusion, tingling sensations, muscle twitches, hand tremors, nausea, and vomiting.

alkaline water

How to Choose the Right Filter?

Water can become alkaline naturally when it passes over rocks and picks up certain types of minerals, but in that case, you need to purchase it in bottled form.

If you want alkaline water from your faucet at home, you can purchase a specially designed filter.

These devices are also sometimes referred to as water ionizer, and they are very efficient at neutralizing the acid buildup inside your body, and therefore very helpful at reducing blood pressure and acid reflux.

When choosing the one that would suit your needs the best, you need to be extra careful as there are many scams out there. Here are a few of the most important guidelines which will help you understand what is the best alkaline water filter.

Filters

These are probably the most important components in any water ionizer. There are two different types of water ionizer, those with single filter and those with dual filters. Obviously, the dual filter systems are far superior to the ones with just one filter.

When shopping around, keep in mind that dual filter units are usually more expensive. Also, when it’s time to change the filters you will need to pay more. Take a look at the manufacturer’s specifications to check the time intervals between filter changes, as that can affect your decision budget-wise as well.

Plates

This is the crux of all the controversies surrounding water ionizers. There are a large number of different units out there, with very differing number of plates featured. It is true that ionizers with more plates are also more powerful, but you should steer clear of any ionizer with more than seven plates as that’s likely to be exaggerated in more than one way.

Having five to seven plates will give you the best results, while the units with only three plates are nothing but cheapskate products.

There are also different types of plates, so you should also take this factor into consideration when making a purchase.

Slotted and mesh plates should be avoided, and you should opt for water ionizers which come equipped with flat, solid plates. This is simply due to the fact that they are the most durable and the easiest to clean and maintain.

ORP and pH Range

Any water ionizer worth your time and attention should be able to make water more acidic or alkaline.

ORP or Oxidation Reduction Potential is a way of measuring how efficient water is at reducing harmful free radicals in your body. Always go for ionizer which can give you at least 600 to 800 ORP.

As far as the pH range is concerned, you should definitely choose a device which can provide you with a healthy range from 7 to 11. Some more advanced models on the market even come with predefined pH range modes, where you can choose according to different tasks you want to use your water for, such as cleaning, drinking, cooking, and face cleansing.

Reputation and Warranty

It goes without saying that you should never go for alkaline water filters from companies you have never heard of. Also, if the device doesn’t come with a warranty, it’s probably a scam and you should steer clear of it.

If possible, always go for products from a company that is ISO 9000 certified. As these are not very complicated devices, you should make sure to always pick a model that is warrantied for a minimum of five years.

Different types of product quality certifications are quite important as they confirm that what you’re buying is actually worth your money. Check for certifications such as EPA and BPA.

Big online shopping sites will always feature ratings and customer satisfaction info, so make sure you check those, too. A product with too many negative reviews is most likely bad.

So, What Is The Best Alkaline Water Filter?

1) Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer Machine

This is currently one of the best alkaline water filters on the market. It offers a pH range between 2.0 and 12.0. It vastly reduces the oxidation levels in your body thanks to its ORP -800 range. 

Both the pre-activated carbon filter and granular activated carbon filter can eliminate a range of contaminants like harmful pesticides, chlorine, industrial solvents often found in tap water, chlorinated hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, benzene, arsenic, radon, lead, mercury, chromium, and bad odors and taste caused by  pollutants.

Only downside is the price. You're paying a premium price because of its advanced features. Expect to pay about $2,200 in certain stores and about $1500 online for the [easyazon_link identifier="B008IXRY6Y" locale="US" nw="y" tag="slehacins-20" cart="n" popups="y"]Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer Machine[/easyazon_link].

[easyazon_image align="center" cart="y" height="500" identifier="B008IXRY6Y" locale="US" nw="y" nf="n" src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/417RJQ4LIEL.jpg" tag="slehacins-20" width="446"]

2) Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe

It uses a total of 5 titanium coated plates. This ensures as much water as possible is passing through the system when it undergoes electrolysis. The antioxidant potential is between -600 and +600 ORP. You always want to check the  negative value as this value represents the level of anti-oxidation that the water possesses. The pH level ranges between 4.5 and 11.0. The [easyazon_link identifier="B01836UGZ6" locale="US" nw="y" tag="slehacins-20" cart="n" popups="y"]Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe[/easyazon_link] is also more budget friendly than the Bawell. 

[easyazon_image align="center" cart="y" height="500" identifier="B01836UGZ6" locale="US" nw="y" nf="n" src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41M%2B6aI-YqL.jpg" tag="slehacins-20" width="500"]

What Is Alkaline Water?

If you want to improve the overall quality of your health by drinking only alkaline water, you can easily do so by purchasing a water ionizer. Hopefully, we’ve helped you find out what is the best alkaline water filter for you.

July 13, 2018

iSpring RCC1UP 6-Stage Maximum Performance Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System Review

The iSpring RCC1UP water filter is great for well water

Do you think about your diet often? Do you worry about what you are eating and make sure you get the necessary amount of recommended nutrients every day? What about contaminating agents or foul substances that may be in your food if its quality is not tightly controlled?

If you worry about these issues, maybe you ought to think about the water you are drinking, too. Some studies have shown that, over the last decade, about one-fifth of the United States population was exposed to water from sources that violated certain key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

So, how do you drink tap water at your home safely? Well, one of the best ways is to install a reverse osmosis water filter system under your kitchen sink. We recommend a reverse osmosis filter because they are relatively inexpensive and quite effective in the disposal of contaminants. Today, we're taking a look at the iSpring RCC1UP.

iSpring RCC1UP 6-Stage Review

This filtration system, like most reverse osmosis filters, is meant to filtrate the water that comes out of your kitchen faucet, instead of filtrating water for the whole house. Its purpose is to make the water perfectly safe for human consumption.

Due to their size, this type of systems is too big to have on top of your counter but thankfully small enough to fit under the kitchen sink. Some have a storage tank to always keep a reserve of clean water, and that is the case of the filter we're reviewing.

Since its release, the iSpring RCC1UP 6-Stage has undergone quite a few upgrades, which shows the company cares about their customers. A new faucet, RO membrane, feed water adapter and automatic shut-off valve were introduced; the booster pump, storage tank valve, and post carbon filter were upgraded; a flow sensor switch and water flood alarm were added to the UV filter; and the user manual was updated.

Who Is This Water Filter For?

Obviously, this filter is indicated to everyone who wants to improve the quality of their tap water and make it safe for consumption. But in this case, you'll have to be willing to spend a bit more than the price of a basic reverse osmosis filter, but for good reason: the system includes useful features like a storage tank, a booster pump to increase the water pressure, and 6 stages of filtration, as opposed to the usual 5 stages.

Consequently, this filter is not for those who are tight on budget or don't require advanced features like the booster pump. This could be the case if your house has good water pressure, to begin with.

What’s Included?

The packaging of this filter seems carefully thought out, as it contains pretty much everything you would expect with this type of product, including some of the tools necessary for installation. It does not include absolutely everything you need for the installation, as there are some household tools you have to acquire, if you’re not already in your toolbox.

The package contents are:

  • User manual
  • 3 pre-filters for filtration stages 1, 2, and 3
  • 3 filters for filtration stages 4, 5, and 6
  • Brushed nickel faucet
  • 3.2-gallon water storage tank
  • Booster pump (pre-installed)
  • 1/4-inch tubing
  • Automatic shut-off valve
  • Check valve

Installation tools and parts:

  • Filter housing wrench
  • Membrane wrench
  • Drain saddle
  • Feed water valve
  • Tank ball valve
  • Additional inserts and fittings

Overview of Features

With 6 stages of filtration, the iSpring RCC1UP 6-Stage has plenty going for it. Let's start with the size: the total package is not small, at 17x14x23 inches and weighing 36 pounds. If you take out the storage tank and accessories, the filtration system itself accounts for 14.5x7x19 inches.

The storage tank can hold up to 3.2 gallons of purified water, while the system can output 100 GPD at 50 to 60 psi (measured at 77º F). Thanks to the included booster pump, however, you can have water supply pressures as low as 45 psi and still output decent amounts of water.

Remember that the RCC1UP cannot intake hot water. The temperature of the water should be between 40 and 100º F and the pH should be between 3.1 and 11.0. The system should also be connected to a 110V power source for the booster pump and UV light to work.

Now let's take a look at the filtering stages, which do a great job of relieving the water of all nasty things. First, we have a sediment filter to remove visible detritus from the water, such as rust, dust, and particles. This is followed by a granular activated carbon filter that removes chlorine from the water, along with foul odors, tastes, and smells. The third stage is a carbon block that has the same job as stage 2, for a more thorough cleaning.

At stage 4 we have the reverse osmosis membrane. It gets rid of contaminants like arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, mercury, uranium, and more than you can name. The filter has impressive rejection rates, above 90 percent for almost every substance listed in the specs.

Stage 5 consists of a post-carbon filter, that basically disposes of any tastes and odors that would still remain after 4 filtration stages. And if this wasn't enough, stage 6 finishes it off with a UV light that kills any dangerous microorganisms in the water, like bacteria and viruses.

How to Use It

Installation of the RCC1UP can be tricky, so don't try to do it yourself if you are not experienced with plumbing. In this case, it is best to hire a plumber to do the job for you. In any case, here's a video tutorial to walk you through the installation steps.

Keep in mind that this type of system requires some maintenance. The filter cartridges in stages 1-3 should be replaced every 3 to 6 months, depending on the quality of your water. Stage 5 should be replaced every year, and the UV light on stage 6 should be replaced when the light goes out, which should also be once a year.

The reverse osmosis membrane is the one that requires the least maintenance, as it only needs to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. For more information about this, you can always check the user manual.

Alternatives

One problem with most reverse osmosis water filter systems is that they tend to slightly acidify the water because they remove some beneficial minerals from it. If you are worried about this, then you should probably try the iSpring RCC1UP. It is slightly more expensive but has an additional alkaline mineralization stage that replenishes some of the lost minerals to increase the water's pH.

Conclusion

There may be some issues with the quality of household water, but at least nowadays we have viable solutions to drink tap water and not worry too much about our health. We took a look at one of these solutions, the iSpring RCC1UP. Its price tag may be a bit above other reverse osmosis systems, but it is mighty impressive when it comes to purifying water and making it safe to drink. It even includes a pump to increase water pressure and a storage tank to always have fresh water available. In our opinion, it is totally worth the investment.

June 30, 2018

How Does Groundwater Become Polluted

How Does Groundwater Become Polluted

Groundwater is water beneath the surface of the earth, that has seeped down through soil layers above, through spaces in soil and fissures in stone, collecting in aquifers below the ground. This water naturally returns to the surface of the soil through springs and wetlands, and is replenished with rainfall.

For centuries, the active filtration of these layers of soil and stone were sufficient to purify the groundwater, making the water that emerged from springs clean and fresh. However, many human activities pollute the soil. These pollutants either seep down themselves into the aquifer or contaminate rain water as it penetrates the soil and are carried down into the groundwater. This can render the spring water unsafe for humans or animals to drink.

Difference Between Contamination and “Pollution

Groundwater contamination is generally used to refer to water that is unsafe to drink due to natural causes. Fluoride, arsenic, and nitrate are harmful natural compounds that can seep into groundwater. Contamination can also be caused by animal feces that may contain pathogens that filter into the water.

Groundwater pollution is generally used to refer to water that is unsafe to drink due to human activity. Fertilizers and pesticides, industrial leaks, sewage, and similar human activities all have a harmful effect on groundwater.

How Does Groundwater Become Polluted

Causes of Groundwater Pollution

There are hundreds of potential causes and sources of groundwater pollution, large and small. Groundwater can get polluted through many of the daily activities that we may take for granted, such as:

  • Road and runway salting and de-icing
  • Car washes, auto repair shops, and paint yards
  • Manufacturing of chemicals, electronics, and petroleum products
  • Landfills, junkyards, and recycling sites

In junkyards and auto repair shops, it's common for oil to be spilled or to leak gradually into the ground. In salting and de-icing, large quantities of salt or chemicals are sprayed onto roads and runways, where they leak into the ground as ice melts. Dry cleaning, photography, furniture refinishing, and medical care often involve specific solvents, chemicals, and compounds that can cause pollution when they aren't properly disposed of.

While all these factors contribute incrementally to groundwater pollution, the biggest contributors to large-scale groundwater pollution are:

Sewage and septic leaks. In places where sewage or septic facilities are inadequate or in poor repair, pathogens from human waste can seep into and pollute groundwater. Whether modern sewage treatment or septic systems develop a leak or discharge poorly-filtered materials into surface water, or whether less developed areas use pit latrines located near wells for drinking water, groundwater can get polluted by human waste and cause a variety of health issues, including skin lesions and dermatitis as well as intestinal problems.

Fertilizers and pesticides. Modern agricultural practices often include sweeping use of fertilizers and pesticides on acres of land at a time. Only a fraction of the nitrogen in fertilizers is used by the plants, leaving high levels of nitrate in the soil, potentially seeping down into the groundwater.

Often animal manure also contains residues of pharmaceuticals used in veterinary drugs, which can then enter groundwater. While many commercial pesticides have reduced risk of entering groundwater, the insecticide monocrotophos is persistent, soluble, and does not bind with minerals in soils, meaning that it can reach groundwater and potentially drinking water.

The effects of pesticides on groundwater are not well known due to the high cost of conducting analysis.

Commercial and industrial leaks. Mining and metal processing have both been shown to pollute groundwater, including increasing concentrations of arsenic. In addition, we store gasoline, oil, and chemicals in large underground tanks.

There are an estimated 10 million of these tanks in the United States, and they risk groundwater pollution in two ways: because they are underground, a leak may be undetected for longer than if the storage tanks were aboveground and visible. And because they are underground, potential leaks are closer to the water table, reducing the natural filtration of the aquifer.

Hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting high-pressure fluid to create cracks in deep rock formations. While there is debate about the degree to which fracking pollutes groundwater, with some studies finding elevated levels of methane, ethane, and propane gasses, as well as increased concentrations of helium and other noble gasses near fracking sites, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has not found evidence of a widespread, systemic impact on the quality of groundwater due to fracking.

Of potentially greater concern are the repeated spills of enormous volumes of fracking fluids at fracking sites, with major spills causing massive species deaths and home evacuations. Fracking fluid is generally made of water, solid materials, polymers, surfectants, friction reducers, biocides, and often radioactive tracer isotopes.

Controversially, hydraulic fracking fluid was specifically excluded from the 2005 American Clean Water Act, a decision believed to be due to lobbying from special interest groups.

How Does Groundwater Become Polluted

What Can We Do About Groundwater Pollution? 

While everyone can do their part to dispose properly of their household waste and chemicals, plant native plants, and conserve water, the truth is, the causes of groundwater pollution aren't due to the efforts and activities of most private individuals. If you want to prevent groundwater pollution, you have to get involved:

  • Support the EPA and write to your political representatives, from your county to Washington DC, encouraging them to make water protection an important part of their agenda.
  • Research companies that use environmentally responsible practices and support them. Let irresponsible companies know, publicly, using social media, that they have to be environmentally responsible and transparent about their manufacturing processes and materials.
  • Get involved with advocacy groups and NGOs that are lobbying for change.

Video: Groundwater Contamination Explained 

Brondell H2O+ Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Review

Brondell H2O+

If you want the closest to 100% clean drinking water, chances are you’re not going to get there without a reverse osmosis (RO) filter. Filtering water through RO is the most efficient method approved by government institutions. The only downside with some systems is that they tend to have a high water waste rate.

This article will present you with one of the few RO units that don’t have this drawback. It is a point-of-use filtration unit that comes with a water tank and supports a decent water pressure range. Here are the details on how it works and how you can get your hands on it.

Brondell H2O+ Review

The Circle system from Brondell is a rather new product. It first hit the market in the summer of 2015. It was designed to be efficient at cleaning water with less waste water than other RO units. Since its release it has managed to maintain its popularity among customers, and for good reason.

RO filtration units are the most effective by far at eliminating heavy metals, chlorine and fluoride from water. What makes the Brondell Circle even better is that the RO membrane is also accompanied by a sediment filter and two carbon filters. This way it tackles more contaminants than most products in this category.

While it may not be the easiest to install for everyone, it can still be a DIY project if you follow the instructions carefully. The customer support team at Brondell did a great job at providing instructional videos and accompanying texts and diagrams in the manual.

What’s even cooler about this system is the water storage tank. This fills up in about one hour and allows you to have clean, ready-to-drink water at all times. Most RO filtration units tend to mess with pressure levels and limit flow rate due to the inefficient process of pushing water through the RO membrane, and the Circle is no different.

Brondell H2O+

Who is This Water Filter for?

Despite its rather bulky appearance, the Brondell H2O+ Circle is a water system filter that can fit under almost any kitchen sink. So whether you live in a small apartment or a large house, you can benefit just as much from having the Circle system installed.

The installation process can be a bit more complicated if some requirements are not met. You might need drilling and extra accessories to fully integrate the Circle in your home. Because of this, it might not be a good fit for people looking for a DIY project, even though the instructional videos are quite detailed.

The Circle has four filtering stages which can deliver exceptional quality drinking water. That being said, it is only a point-of-use system so it won’t affect the rest of the water in your house. If you have trouble with sediment concentration damaging your appliances or chlorine gas release in the shower, the Brondell Circle will not be enough.

What’s Included?

All parts needed for installation are included but you’ll have to supply your own tools or call out a professional plumber. This is what you will find included with your purchase:

  • Chrome faucet
  • Led indicator that shows when to change the filter
  • Twist and seal filters
  • RO membrane
  • Sediment filter
  • Two carbon filters
  • 1x CR2 battery
  • Manual

Overview of Features

Besides the RO membrane, there is also a sediment filter as well as two carbon filters that help deal with rust, dust, chlorine and other contaminants. These extra filters allow you to get the most out of the RO membrane.

The filters can be changed every six months and their replacements can be purchased individually or in sets. The RO membrane is the most durable as it can last up to two years.

The unique design of the Brondell Circle only wastes a little over 2 gallons of water for every gallon filtered. This is an impressive improvement upon the average which is 24 gallons for most RO systems. It achieves this lower waste rate by using a flexible reservoir that reduces back pressure on the RO membrane.

Another benefit of the design is lower pressure drop, which means higher flow rate at the outlet. According to the manufacturer, many competing designs of similar capability have to rely on a built-in pump to achieve the high flow rate and low pressure drop of the Circle.

Brondell H2O+ Installation 

The Brondell Circle may seem easy to install at first glance. Truth be told, while you don’t need technical skills to complete the installation, you do need a lot of patience and some tools lying around the house.

The Circle uses three different plumbing connectors. While the markings on the casing are self-explanatory as to which tube goes where, the water waste tube can cause you some problems. If your sink’s disposal tube is not equipped with a tiny hole that can connect it to the Circle unit, you will have to drill one.

Your sink should also be equipped with an additional 7/16 inch hole in order to install the faucet that comes with the Brondell. You don’t have to change your sink if you don’t have an opening because one can be drilled or cut. Again, this takes tools, some skill, and a lot of patience.

Luckily these are not tasks beyond the capabilities of any decent plumber so you could ask for professional help. If you’re set on tackling the DIY project then follow the step-by-step instructions in the manual. This video is also highly recommended:


There is also a first-time-use cycle you should follow. Alternate between running water, letting the tank fill up, and then empty for a while before you start drinking. You can find the correct intervals in the instructional video and it is important that you follow all the steps. Your water will not be clean enough to drink at first.

Alternatives

It’s hard to find any major drawbacks of the Brondell Circle apart from the low flow rate. Even if it is one of the best for RO systems without a built-in pump, it may not be enough for you. If that is the case, you can check out the APEC RO-90 filtration system.

This unit can handle up to 90 gallons per day at 60 psi which is almost twice as much as the Circle. It also uses multiple filtering layers to remove a wide range of contaminants. The downside of this system is its tricky installation process with even harder to fit tubes and connectors.

Conclusion

The Brondell H2O+ Circle is one of the best RO water filtration units you can get. Although it is a point-of-use design, the Circle still uses four separate filtering layers to clean water from sediments, microbes, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals. It uses patented Brondell connectors and circuit technology to ensure higher flow rate than other non-electric RO filtering systems.

June 2, 2018

Express Water RO5DX 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Review

Express Water RO5DX

Are you concerned about the environment and polluting agents that may be affecting your health? If you are, it is not without reason. New studies are published all the time claiming that something you usually eat or drink contains substances that may make you sick. Unfortunately, this is also the case with water. Many people end up buying bottled water to drink due to the pollutants that are present in tap water. Is there another solution? Yes, there is. Let us introduce you to the Express Water RO5DX, a reverse osmosis water filter system that's going to purify your water.

Express Water RO5DX Review

The RO5DX is a water filtration system that is meant to be installed under your kitchen sink. It filtrates your kitchen water using a process called reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis is very popular nowadays since it is one of the most proficient and affordable filtration methods currently known.

Express Water is a specialist in filtration systems, and it has been in this business for over 25 years. The RO5DX is their most standard and reliable system, and there are several versions of it.

The ROALK5D has an extra filtration stage of small rocks, to increase the water's pH and add minerals to it. The ROUV5D features an ultraviolet light to kill most germs, bacteria, and viruses present in the water. There’s also the ROALKUV5D, which is a combination of the previous two systems.

The RO10DPU is yet another version of the RO5DX, featuring a booster pump to add pressure to the water. Finally, the RODI5D features a deionization module to remove total dissolved solids (TDS) from the water.

Who is This Water Filter For?

If you're here, then you're probably on the lookout for a good water filter to install in your kitchen. If you're not sure which one to get, or you just want a basic solution that does a good job filtrating water with no extraordinary features, then the RO5DX is for you.

Remember that the RO5DX has considerable dimensions, especially when you take the water storage tank into account. So if you are planning to get a water filter system for your RV or small apartment, this might not be the best solution.

What’s Included?

When unboxing the RO5DX, you'll find that this system comes with everything you would expect and more. All required valves and tubes are there, and even some Teflon tape. Best of all, you get an extra 5 filters to save you the trouble of ordering the first replacement set.

All that is missing are some household tools required to perform the installation. The box contents are:

  • 5-stage reverse osmosis system
  • Drinking water storage tank
  • Designer faucet
  • Feed water valve
  • Drain saddle valve
  • Color tubing
  • Flow restrictor
  • Storage tank shut-off ball valve
  • Feed valve
  • Filter housing wrench
  • Extra locking clips
  • Leak stop valve
  • Teflon tape
  • Extra filter set

Overview of Features

So, let's take a look at the RO5DX's specifications. The system can output a maximum of 50 gallons of water per day, which is reasonable, but not spectacular. Still, the storage tank means you can have 4 gallons of water at your disposal if you need a large amount of water quickly, which is nice.

This system works with the water's existing pressure, so it should be at a minimum of 40 PSI, and a maximum of 80 PSI. It cannot handle hot water, so the feed water temperature should be between 38 and 100º F. It is not exactly lightweight, with a combined total of 28 pounds. Finally, the maximum TDS in the feed water should be 1000 parts per million (PPM).

Let's take a look at the filtering stages. The first stage is a sediment filter that removes sediments from the water such as rust, dirt, sand, and silt. It is followed by a granular activated carbon filter to get rid of chlorine and organic chemicals, along with foul tastes, odors, and colors present in the water.

The third stage is a carbon block similar to the previous one, to remove anything that stage 2 missed. The difference is that this one is a block of carbon.

Last but not least, we have the top filters, stages 4 and 5. Stage 4 is a reverse osmosis membrane filter to remove most contaminants and chemicals that weren't eliminated before. These include bacteria, viruses, TDS including cadmium, lead, and mercury. Stage 5 is a post-carbon that eliminates any remaining traces of chemicals, odors or bad tastes. For this reason, it can also be called the polishing filter.

How to Use It

Installing the RO5DX is not exactly a trivial matter unless you have some experience in plumbing. If you don't, it is advisable that you seek the assistance of an expert.

Before starting the installation, you should make sure you have all the required material. This includes everything that comes in the product box, plus some tools:

  • Box cutter
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 1/4” drill bit for the waste line connection
  • 1/2” drill bit for the faucet hole
  • Wrench or adjustable wrench

You'll find a proper express water reverse osmosis manual provided by Water Express.

The manual also includes some helpful tips on how to store the filters and perform maintenance on the system. Bear in mind that you will also have to replace the filters every now and then. Stages 1 to 3 should be replaced every 6 months and stages 4-5 should be replaced once a year.

Alternatives

While the RO5DX is a great water filter system, it may sometimes let some microorganisms slip by. If you are concerned about this, then try the ROUV5D, with an extra filter stage consisting of a UV light to get rid of viruses, bacteria, and even algae and fungi.

An aspect of the RO5DX that could be improved is its water output capacity, which is only 50 GPD. If you feel this is not enough for you, then try the RO10DPU. It works for waters with low pressure and can output a whopping 100 GPD.

Conclusion

We've looked at the Express Water RO5DX, a solid contender among water filter systems. Its 5 filtering stages are sure to make tap water in your home much safer to drink. With an affordable price and a complete package, it is quite a great buy.

May 25, 2018

10 Most Polluted Rivers in the World (With Shocking Images)

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

One of the biggest environmental concerns today is human influence that leads to river pollution. If we don’t stop to think about our next step, soon it might be too late.

Although the situation may seem alarming, no country wants to be infamous for having the dirtiest river in the world. Governments are taking steps to reduce, if not completely eliminate river pollution. Conservation efforts include installing water filters, cleaning the river banks, and removing waste from the water.

In this article you will find out which river is the most polluted river in the US and the unflattering list of the top 10 most polluted rivers in the world. But first, let’s quickly outline the causes of river pollution.

Causes of River Pollution

People have lived on, around, or near rivers for thousands of years. We have left a permanent mark on river ecosystems and in some case made them completely inhospitable.

River pollution happens when harmful substances come in contact with water. Centuries of improper waste management created and still create deposits of garbage on river beds. The industrial revolution and advancements in technology and transportation only made things worse.

Increased number of factories, poor environmental standards, and lack of proper legislation has made certain rivers in the world not only polluted but outright dangerous to be around. However, in the last few decades we can observe an increased awareness about the issue, and in some cases stricter regulations are being introduced and enforced.

Top 10 Most Polluted Rivers in the World

You may think that the most polluted rivers in the world are located in developing countries. But you will be surprised to find out that river pollution exists in Europe, North and South America, as well as Asia and Africa. The only common denominator is human influence.

Ganges River

The Ganges runs for 1,569mi through India and Bangladesh. Not only is it one of the most sacred rivers for Indians, but the Ganges also represents a lifeline for millions of those whose daily needs depend on it. The environmental impact over the years has been devastating, by all accounts enough to make the Ganges the dirtiest river in the world.

Even though the Hindus believe the Ganges will cleanse them from sins, there is nothing clean about it. Human waste levels, or fecal coliform, are 100 times higher than the legal limit. The Hindus have been performing burial rituals in the Ganges, and if you combine that with rapid industrialization it is easy to understand why the Ganges is extremely polluted.

There were some conservation efforts, but little has been achieved. The authorities devised The Ganga Action Plan back in 1986, but due to corruption and lack of proper education and equipment it is considered a failure. We can only hope that future plans will yield a safer river ecosystem for almost half a billion people who use it every day.

most polluted rivers in the world

Citarum River

Indonesia is the home of the Citarum River, and it is the longest and largest river in West Java. Java is the most populated Indonesian island, the site of Jakarta and other major cities, so around 200 million people share the areas around the Citarum River. There are also a great number of factories, which only makes the matter worse. The river has been used for everything from water supply, agriculture, industry, sewerage, and power supply.

The Citarum River landed on the list because of the fact that industries, primarily textile, contribute to major accumulation of toxic waste. The river contains lead, mercury, and arsenic. The levels of lead are 1000 times higher than the US legal limit. The combination of these factors is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths every year.

In the past decade, there were some efforts to improve the situation. The government set up a $3.5 billion plan to clean the Citarum River over the course of fifteen years. And, in 2009 an additional $500 million loan was secured by The Asian Development Bank. The revitalization began in 2011 and we can only hope that it will achieve the desired results.

most polluted rivers in the world

Yellow River

The Yellow River got its name because of yellow sediment loess that gives it the distinct yellow color. It is the second longest river in Asia with an estimated length of 3,395mi. The Yellow River was very important to early Chinese civilization, but due to changing elevation and flooding it has earned nicknames like China’s Sorrow and Scourge of the Han People.

These nicknames are still applicable today, since the Yellow River has become one of the most polluted rivers in China. It is suggested that one third of the river is not suitable for industrial or agricultural use. The factors contributing to this are the fast-growing cities and factory discharges.

The Chinese government assembled the Yellow River Conservancy Commission which conducted a detailed investigation into the environmental problems. The results concluded that more than 33% of the river is unsuitable for any use. Additional conservation efforts are needed to prevent further pollution of the Yellow River.

most polluted rivers in the world

Sarno River

Sarnus as it is known to the Romans, or the Sarno River, flows from the base of Mt. Sarno to the Bay of Naples. The Sarno River accumulates water from its two tributaries Solofrana and Cavaiola. Although its course runs for only 15mi it is arguably the most polluted river in Europe.

The good thing is that its source is not contaminated, and the water is safe for drinking. However, discharge from agriculture and industry has contributed to extreme pollution downstream. Poor sanitary standards and waste management, especially in the area around Naples, caused an increase in liver cancer cases.

Some preservation efforts have been made to protect the river and the ecosystems around it. A Padova University study outlined all of the problems, including detailed measurements at every part of what the researchers termed the “River Sarno fluvial corridor, and proposed a number of potential solutions. But, as of this writing, more things need to be done to remove the Sarno River from this list.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Buriganga River

The Buriganga River, or the Old Ganges, is located in Bangladesh and it flows near the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The course of the Buriganga River is only 11mi long, but the number of people and industries that depend on the river make it one of the most polluted in the world.

There are plenty of pollution problems along the Buriganga River. They include chemical waste, household waste, medical waste, dead animals, and many more. However, the biggest polluter of the Buriganga River may be the tanning industry. It releases a great number of toxic chemicals directly into the river, causing an array of environmental and health hazards for the people working in the industry.

Residents of Dhaka organized a human chain in order to appeal to the authorities to improve the situation. Although the High Court of Bangladesh issued a verdict back in 2009, providing a legal framework for protection, the authorities have yet to properly enforce the legislation.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Marilao River

The Marilao River is located in the Philippines, and it has seen real battles in the Philippine-American War, as well as the battles to protect it from pollution. It is home to hundreds of thousands of people and a great number of industries. Most of the drainage is untreated and the factories release waste directly into the Marilao River without the use of water filters.

A lot of contamination comes from lead recycling facilities. Similar to the Buriganga River, the tanneries located along the Marilao River release untreated hexavalent chromium directly into the river. This pollutes the Manila Bay and seriously affects the fishing industry. There are reports that do a good job of outlining all of the hidden dangers and costs of the Marilao River pollution.

There are international projects that aim to clean and preserve the Marilao River, but they have been met by indifference from some of the locals. Since the people who live near the Marilao River believe that the pollution is the price they have to pay for economic progress.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Mississippi River

The Mississippi is the second longest river in the United States, stretching for 2,320mi from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. It has been one of the most important lifelines in North America, and as such a home for millions of peoples. However, it is also the most polluted river in the US.

The Mississippi is brown because of all the wastes that are being dumped into the river. The main environmental dangers to the Mississippi River come from industries and agriculture. The aquatic life in the river has been seriously affected by nitrogen-based fertilizer which seeps into the water instead of remaining in the soil. In the past, oil spills were also one of the main pollutants of the Mississippi.

The positive thing is that in the past decades there has been an increased awareness about the pollution of the Mississippi River. There are numerous organizations and individuals who are contributing to the preservation of the Mississippi basin. And the EPA has been fairly good at enforcing the Clean Water Act.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Jordan River

The Jordan is a 156mi-long Middle Eastern river. Its source is in Mount Hermon and it flows into the Dead Sea. The Jordan River has a great cultural and religious significance to Christians and Hebrews. According to the legend, it is where the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land, and the place of Jesus’ baptism.

The water at its source is clean and can be used by humans. But, the level of toxicity increases as the water travels downstream. Poor waste management, as is the case with most of the other rivers on our list, is one of the primary causes of pollution in the Jordan River. The main issue is the increased salinity of the water which makes it unfit for human consumption.

Recently, another major contributor to the pollution is the number of refugees who found shelter along the banks of the Jordan River. The refugee crisis coupled with local population increases is worsening the pollution problems. However, steps are being taken by the international community to prevent the situation from escalating.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Matanza River

The Matanza River, or the slaughterhouse river, is located in Argentina and it marks the southern boundary of the Buenos Aires federal district. It runs for 40mi, and the course of the Matanza River is heavily canalized, particularly in the lower parts of the river. As you may have guessed, there are a great number of industries located along its banks, making it hard to protect the river.

Millions of tons of sewage are released into the Matanza River every day. Even worse is the fact that chemical factories deposit mercury and lead into the river, which has caused a spike of cancer cases in the region. The Matanza earned the nickname slaughterhouse river because of the numerous slaughterhouses and tanneries along its banks. They are also the reason for the river’s foul smell.

However, it is not all bad news. The World Bank reports that significant improvements have been made in cleaning and protecting the Matanza River. There projects to limit the discharge of sewage and industrial waste into the water and those that oxygenate the Matanza River to revitalize its ecosystem.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Yamuna River

The Yamuna River is the second largest tributary of the Ganges River. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier and flows for 855mi before it meets the Ganges. Around 57 million people depend on the Yamuna River for the highly-fertile alluvial plains along its banks.

Although the land around the river is highly fertile, agriculture is one of Yamuna River’s main sources of pollution. Another thing contributing to its pollution, besides agriculture and industry, is poor raw-sewage management. New Delhi has a handful of functional sewage plants which increases the pH level of the Yamuna water.

Many are wondering if the Yamuna River can ever be saved. There have been initiatives led by prominent Indian intellectuals to clean up the river. The awareness of the problem seems to be great, but a more integrated, government-supported effort is needed to achieve long-term results.

Most Polluted Rivers in the World

Final Thoughts

We all need to make a joined effort to protect the rivers, or we may soon find the dirtiest river in the world in our backyard.

We hope that this list of the most polluted rivers in the world makes you aware of the great magnitude of river pollution. Prompt actions need to be taken, or we might find ourselves living in a Mad Max-like world very soon.

There is still some hope left, as evidenced by the conservation and recovery efforts on the Mississippi River, the reigning most polluted river in the US. So, in all seriousness and without virtue signals let us all join forces and protect our rivers before they are damaged beyond repair.

May 23, 2018

Causes and Effects of Water Contamination

Causes and Effects of Water Contamination

The first step to understanding the causes and effects of water contamination is to define the contaminants. However, this is not that easy to do. While the scientific term may be easily defined, some regulations offer particular lists of what is and isn’t considered a contaminant.

If you’re worried about the differentiation, you shouldn’t be. This article will settle things for you once and for all. Hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of how water truly impacts every aspect of your life and why its quality is of the utmost importance.

After this article, you’ll be able to tell the difference between contamination and pollution. You’ll also be able to better comprehend why some contamination is bad and why some of it is good. But, before all of that, let’s start off with the basics and the answer to the most common question.

What is Water Contamination?

Water contamination is something that occurs when physical, chemical, biological, or radiological elements are present in water. This generally means that anything other than pure water can be considered contaminated water.

It should make no difference if the water contains harmful bacteria or beneficial nutrients. Anything extra that you can find in it, which can be determined through various tests, is a contaminant. Therefore, water contamination is the correct terminology to use even if there is no health risk associated with it.

Water Contamination vs. Water Pollution

Not many people know the difference so don’t beat yourself up over this. Because of the nature of the two words, contamination and pollution are often misused. Here’s a quick clarification that you will be able to remember.

Various types of water pollution occur as a direct result of heavy contamination. Other than pure water, all water is contaminated by something. Non-contaminated water is water that doesn’t have anything else in it besides the water molecules. Even salts and minerals are considered contaminants.

When does pollution occur? Pollution kicks in once the presence of contaminants rises to dangerous levels. Just take copper as an example. It’s common to find small quantities of copper in water and it can even be beneficial.

When the concentration of copper reaches health threatening levels it’s no longer considered a contaminant, but a pollutant. Thus, the term water pollution becomes appropriate.

Another good example is the Gulf of Mexico or BP Oil Spill. You can theoretically say that the water became contaminated with oil, but given the massive size of the spill it wouldn’t be appropriate. The BP Oil Spill resulted in the pollution of the water.

This is also a good example of a man-made and direct cause of water pollution, but more on this later as we explain the classifications.

Causes of Water Contamination

Now that you know that water contamination can lead to water pollution, it’s time to discuss some causes of water contamination. After all, some of the water pollution effects can have serious repercussions. Many water contaminants are similar, or at least they act similarly.

Water contaminants can fill up entire books of information. To make things easier for you, here’s a rundown of the most important ones and how they can be classified. Let’s start with nature’s contaminants.

Natural 

It’s a common misconception that most water contaminants are manmade. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Animal waste is one of the most common contaminants. Did you ever wonder why everyone recommends boiling water before drinking it from a river, lake, stream, or any other type of open body of water?

Heavy metals are also causes of water contamination and most of the time this happens naturally. Iron, copper, arsenic, even lead, are found in natural rock formations. Trace amounts of these heavy metals make their way into the water naturally.

Radioactive materials also occur in nature. You don’t have to drink water from under a nuclear power plant or a bomb disposal site to find that you’ve been exposed to radioactivity.

Take radon for instance. Radon gas can occur naturally, which means it can easily find its way into organic water sources.

Nitrates are also water contaminants. These are quite widespread in waters with large fish populations. This is because they are produced from aquatic wildlife waste.

One thing worth noting here is that natural contaminants very rarely lead to water pollution. Nature has a way of balancing itself out. If you take for instance the oil spills, the pollution usually happens as a result of human error or an engineering failure.

In contrast, natural oil water contamination happens all the time but it almost never reaches pollution levels.

Manmade

Let’s talk about how you can contribute to water contamination. Things and substances made by human hands which can contaminate the water upon contact are called manmade contaminants.

There’s a lot of natural water contamination that you can observe. However, when it reaches your house, there’s a very high chance that the contamination is our fault.

Hazardous waste can find its way into fresh water sources in two ways. Either by rainfall or by seeping through layers of earth and making its way into groundwater sources.

Dumping of chemical waste from oil refineries and other industrial processes is also a form of hazardous waste. What’s even worse about this is that the effects may not occur until decades after the contamination.

If you’re like most people that live in places with harsh winters, you probably hold road salts in high regard. Did you know that they are also considered water contaminants?

These can affect the soil and surface water sources as easily as melted snow and ice. It’s not hard to see how quickly they can make their way into your well water or tap water.

Of course, the causes of water contamination can be further classified as direct and indirect sources. For example, direct sources are made up of spills and leaks.

  • Oil spills - These generally occur as a direct result of human error or mechanical failure.
  • Septic system leaks - More often than not the cause of septic system can be traced to degraded pipes. It can also happen as a result of direct damage during an earthquake or other seismic events.
  • Construction site runoff - Again, this is generally a matter of human error or disregard for regulations.
  • Chemical dumping - This is also an indirect cause. Since the effects may take place far away from the source or long after the act, it may be very hard to trace back to the point of origin.
  • Others include: landfills, agricultural sites, and factory dumping
Causes and Effects of Water Contamination

Sources of Water Contamination

Let’s talk a bit about some of the sources of water contamination. There’s a slight difference between cause and source. Let’s see if you can spot it.

Groundwater

Groundwater is a source of water contamination. Because contaminating factors or triggers such as spills and runoffs seep through the soil, groundwater becomes a source of water contamination.

Why is it important, you ask? As you may or may not have known, groundwater is where the fresh drinking water of most municipalities comes from. This is true for the entire world, not just third world countries.

Rainfall

Okay, so not everyone collects rainwater for use. Does that make it less dangerous? Not really.

Rainwater pollution is very dangerous as it can affect more than just the local fresh water supply. Rainfall makes its way into forests, streets, your backyard, and so on. Thus, it becomes a source of water contamination.

How does rainfall get contaminated? Well, you should know by now how rain is formed. As the hydrologic cycle dictates, surface water evaporates and becomes rainwater.

As you’ve guessed by know, if the surface water is contaminated or polluted, the resultant rainwater will retain those chemical profiles. Incidentally, this is what leads to the so-called acid rain.

What’s even worse? The contamination in one body of surface water can affect another, miles away from it. That’s because the contamination can be carried for miles (high up in the clouds) before rainfall drops.

Surface Water

You might think that contaminated surface water isn’t that dangerous. After all, open fresh water supplies are treated. But, remember the hydrologic cycle?

Not only can contaminated surface water impact wildlife on its own, but it can become even more dangerous when it evaporates, and the contaminated vapor moves with the wind to a new location.

Effects of Water Contamination

Everybody knows the effects in general but let’s break them down and describe in more detail.

Environment

It’s true that pollution tends to have a more dramatic impact on the environment. However, there are plenty of contaminants that slowly work their way into water. After all, what’s pollution without the initial contamination?

Here are some of the common water contaminants that have an impact on our environment.

Chemicals

Chemical buildups in water sources are not as uncommon as you think. When it comes to causes and effects of water contamination, chemicals play a major role. Once fresh water sources become contaminated with dangerous chemicals, the wildlife becomes endangered.

This is a common occurrence in rivers or lakes that are located near factories. It also happens when too much wastewater makes its way into fresh water. So how does this affect the environment?

It all starts with the fish. They take in the harmful chemicals and then pass them on to birds and mammals. This starts a dangerous cycle of animals eating other animals while contaminating each other and the area around them.

Toxic Runoff

Toxic runoff can affect plants in a most unpleasant way. Apart from killing fish, insects, and birds, the runoff from factories can easily make its way into agricultural sites. Thus, your crops can suffer.

Nutrient Poisoning

Nutrient poisoning is very dangerous as it is quite hard to spot. Unlike chemical spills, fish won’t necessarily die from nutrient poisoning. However, they will become contaminated and may very well pass the toxicity along to birds, insects, plants, and everything else that might end up on your dinner plate.

Economy

It should come as no surprise that one of the effects of water contamination is its negative impact on the economy. We all rely on drinking water, and in some parts of the world the need is even greater.

When the few remaining sources of fresh water become contaminated, there are more things to consider than just a general health hazard.

Tourism

Many places rely heavily on tourism as a source of income. Just think of how many people worldwide visit lakes, natural springs, rivers, and other natural or manmade water sources.

Any type of water contamination that affects the quality of the water and the surrounding wildlife can put a halt to the area’s tourist activity. Whether it’s a lake with high levels of lead or high concentrations of bacteria and parasites, neither is attractive for tourists.

While you personally may not feel the effects of this if you live in a big city, those that live in small mountain towns or around water parks certainly will.

Real Estate

Would you move to a neighborhood known to have issues with water contamination or other types of water pollution? That’s highly doubtful.

There are a couple of things that happen when water contamination becomes highly publicized. The first instinct of most residents in that area is to move away. Very few tend to return.

New residents aren’t likely to come at least until the problem is fixed. The bad news is that not everything can be fixed.

Last but not least, there is such a thing as bad publicity. For some health-conscious people, it’s often enough to associate water contamination with a residential area. Even if everything is cleaned up and safety precautions have been taken, there’s no guarantee that new folks will take the chance of moving there.

Because of this, people that own real estate in the affected region would have a hard time getting their money back and starting over. Big companies and investment firms also take big hits under these circumstances as millions can be lost in a matter of minutes.

Health

Any discussion about the causes and effects of water contamination would not be complete without talking about the health impact, or more specifically the bacteria. Although not all bacteria in water are harmful, there are plenty of them that can cause serious damage.

Think hepatitis, E. coli, cholera, dysentery. Sound familiar? While these types of situations don’t happen often in the Western world, they’re not that far of a stretch.

Contaminated water can lead to more than just bad-tasting tap water and ruined sauces or broths. It can put you in the hospital fast or slowly. You can be the judge of which one is worse.

Parasites tend to lay eggs inside the body. This means that by drinking contaminated water you can set yourself up for a trip to the hospital, not immediately but perhaps after weeks or months. When the symptoms build up slowly like this, it can also be hard to diagnose.

Skin irritation can also occur on account of contaminated water. Heavy metals are known to cause skin rashes. If this happens to you a lot while showering, it may be time to check your water source. You should also change your pool water or your favorite swimming spot if rashes are common.

This is one video that really opened my eyes. Often the contaminants in our water have no foul odor or horrible taste so they go unnoticed, but it is slowly poisoning our bodies.

Types of Water Pollution

So we’ve explained how water contamination and water pollution are different. If you’re still following, then it shouldn’t be hard to see how the causes and effects of water contamination can lead to all types of water pollution if left unchecked.

The types of water pollution can also be classified as direct or indirect and as natural or manmade. This is very similar to the types of contamination because the two of them often go hand in hand.

Here’s a quick refresher of the types and sources of water pollution:

  • Surface water pollution - When surface water is heavily contaminated, pollution becomes an issue. As water evaporates, the pollution can be easily carried across vast regions. It can also lead to the death of wildlife in the area, such as plants, birds, animals, fish, etc
  • Nutrient pollution - Pollution as a result of nutrients is usually manmade. Although there’s plenty of natural nutrient contamination, it is generally the result of wastewater and excessive use of fertilizers that trigger nutrient pollution.This mostly affects wildlife as it stimulates the production of algae in the water. This causes oxygen depletion and can even cause filters to clog if the water source is used by humans.