Why You Need Filtration
Drinking Water Supply Source
Have you ever turned a tap and questioned the water quality coming out, what is the source of the water, if it is from a water authority, such as Hunter water for example, than you can be reasonably confident that the water meets safe drinking water standards. If your water supply comes from other sources such as tanks, bores, rivers for example, than contaminates could be present that could cause illness, stomach upsets or worse death.
Rainwater can be a suitable drinking water supply providing the rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell, is free from suspended material, comes from a well-maintained catchment (roof and gutters), and is stored in a clean and vermin proof tank. However, this is not a guarantee of safety as contamination is not always visible.
It is important that rainwater tanks and associated plumbing, together with appropriate water treatment and disinfection systems are correctly selected, installed and regularly maintained in order to protect drinking water quality.
Why Should I Consider Filtration
With unknown contaminates present in water from sources other than a water authority, it is recommended that the water be filtered, either by whole of house or at least drinking water supply, i.e. kitchen sink. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines specify that water ‘should contain no harmful concentrations of chemicals or pathogenic micro-organisms, and ideally it should be aesthetically pleasing in regard to appearance, taste and odour.
Water authorises use settling, coagulation, filtering and disinfecting to ensure the safety of our drinking water, using sufficient disinfectant to stop the re-growth of microorganisms as the water travels through the pipe system to your home. The downside of ensuring safe drinking water is the lingering taste and smell of disinfectant.
Sometimes your water supply will appear to be discoloured and or smell, if your clothing and plumbing fixtures such as toilets and sinks become stained. This is an indication that your water authority supply has a problem, and you should contact them, so they can assess and solve the problem. If your supply comes from a tank, bore river or similar supply you need to check for any obvious reasons for the problem.
By installing a water filtration system on your property, this alone will increase the quality of the water supplied to your home, depending on the water source, a number of different filtering systems can be installed to deal with contaminates within the water entering the building. If the contaminates within the water supply are not known than it is recommended that water testing be carried out to determine the type of contaminates to be treated.
Pesticides and herbicides can leach into waterways in rural areas. Some are potentially carcinogenic and live in the environment for a long time.
Nitrate/nitrite The main sources of these chemicals in waterways are sewerage and fertiliser run-off. Groundwater supplies in rural areas are most likely to have high nitrate concentrations.
Chlorine and chlorination by – products Chlorine or chloramine is usually added to kill bugs in the water that passes through the treatment plant.
Fluoride has been added to drinking water since the 1960’s and 1970’s as it has proven record of reducing tooth decay.
Aluminium Chemicals containing aluminium are used in a process called flocculation, which removes suspended particles from the water, making it clearer.
Contaminants and Microbial Hazards
Tap water can and may contain many impurities, both natural and artificial. Some are harmless, or only affect what the water looks, tastes or smells like. Others can give you immediate infection or slowly damage your health over a long period of time.
Rainwater collected and stored in domestic tanks will contain a range of microorganisms from one or more sources. While most will be harmless, the safety of rainwater will depend on excluding or minimising the presence of enteric pathogens. These organisms do not grow or survive indefinably in water environments and are introduced into drinking water supplies by contamination with faecal material.
A number of other contaminates may also be considered to be a risk to the quality of your water supply, for example air borne contaminates, such as dust, pollen, industrial and urban traffic emissions, chemical or fertiliser drift, which may settle on your water supply or in the case of tank water, your roof catchment and then be washed into your tank. Faecal material (droppings) deposited by birds, bats, lizards, mice, rats, possums, contaminating water supplies and storage.
Rainwater Treatment Systems
There are several methods for treating rainwater to remove any contaminations that may present a health risk and professional advice should be sought for the design and installation of an appropriate water treatment system.
Filtration to remove particulate matter and some dissolved materials from water. There are many filtration devices available and microorganism and particle removal varies with the filter type. Water filters should not be necessary to maintain microbial, chemical or physical quality of rainwater if catchments and tanks are well maintained. Some filter systems will require a power supply.