Bethpage Water District Blog

Monday, April 29, 2019

Does it make sense to buy a water filter?


    A whole house or point of use filter is something everyone has probably thought about buying at some point. With BWD's multi-million dollar filtering facilities AND double filtering the water to ensure its safety before it goes to the distribution system, the need for any home filter system is redundant and is at the discretion of the consumer. Our water meets and exceeds all EPA and health department standards. If the purpose is for taste issues due to chlorine, the presence of which is mandated by the Nassau County Department of Health, then that is certainly any customers choice. Everyone's taste is different and opinions vary like the choices between Coke and Pepsi, coffee and tea or chocolate and vanilla. If you are doing it to make sure the water is safe then there are some things you should know.

    Many filter companies will attempt to sell people expensive filters, using scare tactics and the promise of removing a laundry list of contaminants. These filters may remove the advertised list of contaminants but the filter can only remove what is present. Natural minerals that are present in the water can also be removed, but they may not be harmful. It is also important to know that there are no home filtration systems approved for the removal of the emerging contaminants in the press lately.

    Some filter companies advertise the measurement of removal of contaminants in parts per million(ppm), some measure in parts per billion(ppb). The laboratory and monitoring systems the Bethpage Water District uses measures in parts per billion(ppb) and we are sampling as low as parts per trillion(ppt). Finding one part in a trillion is LESS than locating one blade of grass in a lawn that is covering the entire town of Bethpage.

    Reverse Osmosis water systems require an elaborate setup of pre-filters, storage tanks and post filters. The filtered water contains virtually no trace of minerals that our body requires for good health. Traditionally, we have always drank water with minerals in it. Stripping the water of all the minerals is not healthy and the long term effects of drinking reverse osmosis water is unknown. You can get minerals from food also but much of it comes from water. We know that fresh water fish have been known to die if you put them in pure reverse osmosis water.

    Although reverse osmosis water systems are recommended by some for fish tanks, water changes need to be done gradually. If reverse osmosis water is used in a fish tank, the fish can still obtain minerals from plants, rocks, gravel, corral, and trace minerals in aquarium salt. Since fish die in pure water without minerals, we need to ask ourselves what the water is doing to the cells inside our body when we drink it. Some people call reverse osmosis water ‘dead water’ as it lacks the added health benefits of minerals. It is a system that needs regular maintenance and it uses an excessive amount of water. It can waste as much as 4 gallons for every 1 gallon filtered resulting in a large waste of water, causing higher bills. Also, if you use a large amount of RO filtered water all at once and empty out the system’s holding tank, you must allow time for the RO process to refill the tank.

    Carbon filters and paper cartridge filters are types of filters that also need to be maintained properly or they could be a haven for bacteria if they are not changed often and can also restrict the flow of water. However, carbon filters are a good choice for the removal of chlorine taste.
Water softening is the removal of calcium, magnesium, and certain other metal cations in hard water. Water softeners for our supply are not necessary as our water is naturally soft.

    All filter systems need routine replacement of the filter cartridges which causes an additional expense, not to mention the cost of the filter system itself.
Purchasing a filter is the choice of any customer but everyone should be aware of what you are trying to remove, if it is even present, and at what cost you are paying for the filter. Filter companies are trying to SELL you a filter while BWD is offering you FREE information with no agenda.

    If buying a filter makes someone feel secure, then there is nothing that will put one's mind at ease except buying one. Water filters are a great thing. We use them continuously at our pump stations. Bethpage Water spares no expense in the quest for non detectable limits in our drinking water. We have added another layer of filtration to our district called Advanced Oxidation Process or AOP. We are the first supplier to utilize it for existing plume contaminants as well as emerging contaminants and it is a third layer of protection for us with lower operational costs.

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