Water Purification and Treatment Technologies
A comprehensive look at the different methods of filtering and purifying drinking water.
The drinking water treatment technologies used in the majority of systems include one or more of the following methods or media types:
Sediment Filters - Ranging from 1 to 20 microns are normally used as a prefilter to protect and extend the life of other filters.
Activated Carbon, including Granulated Activated (GAC), Carbon Block, and Catalytic Carbon Standalone, or combined with other technologies to remove chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, MTBE, and a wide range of contaminants including lead and mercury.
Water Softeners Used to soften "hard" water using ion exchange technology that exchanges magnesium and calcium with sodium or potassium. Water softeners are not designed to purify water that is microbioligically unsafe.
BASF ATS Media Home systems, usually combined with activated carbon.
Steam Distillation Systems for home, business and commercial use.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) - Systems for home, business and commercial use.
Deionization Not recommended for drinking water.
Ozonation Nature's natural sterilizer.
KDF Media Advanced zinc-copper alloy with the widest range of contaminant removal. Usually combined with Granulated Activated Carbon.
Ceramic Alternative to germicidal UV-C for filtration of bacteria, etc.
Activated Alumina Specifically designed to remove fluoride and arsenic by adsorption.
Bone Char The best material for removing fluoride. Bone Char also removes chlorine, heavy metals and radioactive isotopes. For this reason, it is placed after a chlorine adsorption filter in all OPUS systems, to ensure maximum efficiency for adsorbing fluoride.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UV-C) - To disinfect microbioligically unsafe water.
Ultra-Filtration (UF) - Ultra Filtration uses membrane technology to reject contaminants from 0.01 to 0.2 microns. UF is effective in the removal of bacteria, pyrogens, high molecular weight dissolved solids and other water contaminants without removing healthful minerals.
Bioceramic Water Amplification (BCWA) Technically not a filter, BCWA improves the health promoting qualities of water by increasing alkalinity, oxygen, active hydrogen ions and healthful minerals, while lowering the ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential), giving water antioxidant properties. BCWA is available as an inline filter that can be added to an existing water treatment system, integrated into a drinking glass (Alkalark) to treat individual glasses of water, and as Balance Water Sticks designed to be inserted into your drinking bottle.
Filtration: A Definition
The dictionary definition of a filter is "a porous material through which a liquid or gas is passed in order to separate the fluid from suspended particulate matter, or a device containing such a material, especially one used to extract impurities from air or water."
Water treatment systems remove, block, replace or destroy contaminants or undesirable elements by absorption (pleated, sediment), adsorption (carbon, activated alumina), rejection/blocking (Ultra Filtration), oxidation (ozone), osmosis (RO), distillation, deionization, ion exchange (water softeners), electro-chemical redox (oxidation/reduction with KDF Media), and by destroying or breaking the molecular bonds and DNA of micro-oganisms (UV-C, or UVGI Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation). Below is a description of the fourteen most common water treatment methods and technologies.
Water Treatment Technologies
Sediment filters capture dirt, rust, silt, dust and other particulate matter from water. Sediment filters are usually used at the water input to protect carbon, KDF or other filters from contamination and clogging. Sediment filters may also be used at other stages to protect filters from becoming fouled or clogged from carbon or other fine dust particles that may be released from GAC or similar filters that utilize granulated media.
The longest lasting most effective sediment filters use pleated polypropylene or cellulose and polyester, while inexpensive sediment filters use a wound or spun mesh nylon. Pleated designs, due to their larger surface area and low water resistance result in a low water pressure drop, providing higher flow rates and greater filtration capacity than spun filters. Pleated designs can often be cleaned and reused.
All OPUS drinking water systems utilize an initial 10" pleated or horizontally mounted sealed inline 1 micron or 5 micron sediment filter. A .5micron carbon block MTBE/VOC filter is placed after the KDF/GAC and fluoride filters (if included) to ensure no dust or carbon particles (fines) can reach your drinking glass, or the optional .2 micron Ultra Filter.
ACTIVATED CARBON, INCLUDING GRANULATED ACTIVATED CARBON (GAC), CARBON BLOCK AND CATALYTIC ACTIVATED CARBON (TO REMOVE CHLORAMINES)
Activated carbon can be made from coal, wood, or coconut shell. Coconut shell is the most expensive and effective form. Carbon is "activated" by adding a positive charge, which enhances the adsorption and reduction of contaminants which have a negative charge. The three forms of activated carbon used in water filtration systems are granulated activated carbon (GAC), activated carbon block, and catalytic carbon.
Activated carbon removes impurities, chemicals and contaminants from water through adsorption and a process called catalytic reduction. Contaminants removed include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), herbicides, pesticides, chlorine (which is why water tastes better when filtered with activated carbon), chloramine, radon, and most man-made chemicals including MTBE (methyl-t-butyl ether) a chemical used to improve the octane in gasoline while helping to lower emissions.
Activated carbon is not effective at removing heavy metals, nitrites, nitrates, dissolved inorganic contaminants or sediment. This is why sediment filters should precede carbon filters, and why KDF media is combined with activated carbon in many quality filtration systems.
Granulated activated carbon is more effective when combined with KDF Media as there is a synergy of the two filtration medias that results in superior filtration to either media when used alone. A pound of activated carbon has a surface area of over 125 acres and can adsorb thousands of chemicals.
Carbon block filters can be manufactured to a smaller micron rating than GAC, providing enhanced contaminant and sediment removal without the risk of carbon fines clogging subsequent filters or ending up in your water. Flushing GAC filters is required prior to consuming drinking water that has been filtered with GAC filtration. New state of the art carbon block technologies used in all OPUS Healthy Water Systems filter down to .5 microns, adding redundancy to the granulated activated carbon and KDF media with additional chlorine, lead, mercury, MTBE and VOC filtration.
Catalytic carbon, a new advanced activated carbon product, is designed to adsorb chloramines, an alternative to chlorine designed to inhibit the formation of carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THMs) caused by the interaction of chlorine with organic plant materials. OPUS systems offer an inexpensive upgrade for all systems that will adsorb chloramines.
Multi-Level Carbon Block Products
Many water filtration systems are sold through multi level marketing (also called network marketing), including Multi-Pure, and similar products. Those who understand the financial structure of multi-level companies (i.e. Usana, Xocai, Shaklee, Quixtar, Amway, Miessence, Nikken, Melaleuca, etc.), know that their products are highly overpriced.
Multi-Pure is a carbon block filtration system housed in an attractive stainless steel housing. The housing, faucet and installation hardware must be worth over $300.00 because even the finest carbon block filter, the Everpure Quantum 1000, sells for about $200.00, and if you can accept a system without fluoride filtration, is better than any of the MLM products. Thousands of "independent" distributors and online companies market Multi-Pure and believe the product is worth the high cost. Multi-Pure promotes NSF Certification, which any company can have if they want to spend the money for the certification. A single stage carbon block filtration system cannot compare to a multi-stage design, and no carbon only design removes fluoride. Water stored in a stainless steel container absorbs nickel, a heavy metal that is more difficult for the body to eliminate than aluminum. It is estimated that approximately 15% of the population is allergic to nickel.
Are OPUS Water Systems NSF Certified? All filters used in OPUS systems are NSF certified. In addition, the Ό" LLDPE tubing used is phthalate and BPA free. It would be easy for OPUS to obtain the NSF certification for the complete system, but the initial and ongoing annual costs to maintain the certification would significantly raise the price of the systems.
Recommended NSF Certified Systems
For those who value NSF certification over the features and benefits of OPUS filtration systems and who can accept a system that does not remove fluoride, I recommend Everpure Quantum 1000 and 3M Aquapure systems. 3M and Everpure offer advanced .5 micron carbon block technologies producing water free of lead, heavy metals, contaminants, chlorine and most bacteria. Used by major food and restaurant chains, 3M and Everpure represent quality solutions that provide .5 micron filtration and great tasting water.
Water softeners are large units that use ion exchange resins in the form of beads to exchange hard minerals, (usually calcium and magnesium) with soft minerals including sodium or potassium. As the softener is used the sodium or potassium that coat the ion resin beads is replaced with calcium and magnesium. Eventually the resin beads become saturated with magnesium and calcium requiring a backwash to remove the minerals. A regeneration process then saturates the beads with sodium or potassium so the cycle can continue.
To regenerate the ion resin beads, sodium or potassium crystals are added to a tank that creates a brine that through a regeneration and backwash process donates sodium or potassium to the ion resin while washing the absorbed calcium and magnesium down the drain. Some softeners feature a programmable timer that regenerates the ions and remove the absorbed hard minerals at prescribed intervals, while more modern units sense when the ion resin requires regeneration, automatically backwashing and regenerating when needed.
Hard water is usually found in deep wells, and is rarely a problem with municipal water supplies. Due to the excessively high levels of calcium (lime) and magnesium, hard water causes mineral build-up in showerheads, dishwashers, pipes, and water heaters, reducing water flow. In addition, soap and detergent lathering is reduced causing less effective cleaning, leading to soap scum on glasses and dishes and lime deposits on bathroom fixtures, toilets and bathtubs. Soft water feels more slippery, creates more lather with soaps and shampoos, and makes it more difficult to wash soaps and shampoos from your hair and skin.
The majority of water softeners use sodium chloride; however, many new water softener manufacturers offer potassium chloride as an alternative. While water with potassium is safer than water with sodium, excess potassium can also be dangerous. Drinking, making coffee or juice, or cooking with softened water is not recommended.
The high sodium or potassium content of softened water can harm grass or vegetation and cause more frequent regenerations due to the depletion of the sodium or potassium crystals due to the high water volumes. More frequent regenerations also result in higher water softener operational costs, as the sodium or potassium crystals will need to be added more often. Softened water should only be used for washing and cleaning.
As the level of sodium is higher in softened water, it should not be consumed by those with hypertension (high blood pressure), congestive heart failure or kidney disease. While water softeners should only be used to treat microbioligically safe water, softened water is not recommended for drinking without removing the potassium or sodium that has been added. The only effective method of removing potassium or sodium from softened water is by distillation or reverse osmosis.
BASF ATS MEDIA
Originally developed by Englehard Corp. (purchased by BASF), ATS Media removes lead and heavy metals. As with KDF media, there is a synergistic effect when ATS is combined with activated carbon as the two materials result in an effective method of reducing contaminants, heavy metals and chlorine. The Aquasana AQ-4000 drinking water system is the only major manufacturer that uses this media. As this system does not remove healthful minerals or affect pH, it provides health advantages when compared to RO or steam distillation.
While the Aquasana system is effective and a good value, the filters must be changed every six months, the media only removes 40-60% of the fluoride, and no faucet is included for sink installation. If you want to mount this system under the sink you must purchase a kit that includes a mounting bracket and faucet. The design does not allow for the addition of alkalizing and mineral enhancing bioceramic media, additional fluoride filtration, or UV-C for the sterilization of water from microbiologically unsafe water sources. Note that the Aquasana whole house (Point of Entry) system uses KDF Media.
One of the simplest methods of purifying water, distilling is the process of boiling water into steam, and then condensing the steam back into water. As gases (including chlorine) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be recondensed back into the drinking water, most steam distillers use a carbon post filter which adsorbs gases. It is crucial that the carbon filter be replaced regularly, as the filters that are included with most distillers are small, and can easily become saturated with toxins. When a carbon filter has reached the saturation point, toxins and bacteria can be passed into the distilled water.
Distillation removes heavy metals, micro-organisms, poisons, bacteria, contaminents, sediment, minerals and viruses. Distillation can not remove substances with lower boiling points than water including oils, petroleum and alcohol. The boiling chamber collects these contaminants and requires regular cleaning.
Steam distilled water systems utilize either a plastic or stainless steel holding tank to hold the distilled water. Most systems have a spigot that is used to fill large plastic bottles for water storage. Glass bottles are preferred, but they are hard to find, very heavy, and dangerous if dropped. The boiling tank must be drained regularly, and depending on the model, cleaned every few weeks to remove scale deposits. Some models offer optional expensive auto drain kits that eliminate the need to clean the boiling tank where the impurities collect. Other options include pump kits and pressure tanks that allow steam distilled water to be connected to a kitchen mounted faucet for on demand water.
Quality steam distillers are expensive, time consuming and costly to maintain, with electrical costs ranging from $.20 to $.40 per gallon, comparable to replacement filter costs in the best OPUS Healthy Water System models. If scale is allowed to build up on the heating element, the efficiency of the unit will be affected resulting in higher operating costs.
Proponents of distilled water advertise that distilled water is the most natural, purest form of water. However, distilled water cannot be found in nature. Rain, technically created by distillation, is the result of the evaporation and recondensing of water. However, rain, as it travels through the atmosphere (or down mountain streams), quickly absorbs minerals, airborne contaminants, and other substances. Similar to reverse osmosis, steam distilled water is "dead" water, as it contains no minerals.
Distilled water is particularly corrosive. With no minerals to give the water pH balance, distilled water acts like a magnet, absorbing chemicals (phthalates and bisphenols) from plastics, nickel from stainless steel, aluminum from aluminum containers, and carbon dioxide from the air. With no minerals to buffer the water, and the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, distilled water will have an acidic (<7) pH.
Due to the high purchase price, high maintenance, high electrical operating costs and low water output, most people choose RO over steam distillers. The purchase price is lower, daily water output is higher, and less maintenance is required. RO systems produce demineralized water that is comparable to steam distillation with the inherent problems that have been identified in clinical trials, relating to the consumption of demineralized water.
While somewhat subjective, most people find that distilled water has poor taste characteristics, probably due to the absence of minerals.
Nickel Allergies and Stainless Steel
Storing distilled water in stainless steel tanks can result in water containing high levels of nickel. To make steel stainless, chromium and nickel are added. Nickel is the most common metal allergen, leaching into liquids and foods that come into contact with stainless steel. Acidic liquids and foods can absorb even higher amounts of nickel. It is estimated that 14% of women have nickel allergies, which can produce eczema like symptoms and an itchy, bumpy rash.
Aviva does not recommend storing water in stainless steel, aluminum or plastic containers. As water distillers store purified water in either plastic or stainless steel, and for the reasons outlined earlier, I do not recommend water distillers.
Bisphenol-A, Phthalates and Aluminum
In addition to absorbing nickel from stainless steel, distilled water can absorb aluminum from cookware and storage containers, and Bisphenol-A and phthalates from plastics. One of the most well known xenoestrogens found in plastic containers, plastic bottles, and in the lining of canned foods is the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases and has recently been officially labeled a dangerous substance in Canada. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, phthalates may increase the risk of birth defects and cancer.
REVERSE OSMOSIS (RO)
Reverse osmosis is an effective method of removing contaminants and minerals from water. Using a semi-permeable membrane filter (Thin Film Composite or TFC), very pure water is produced. RO systems utilize a series of inexpensive filters (sediment, granulated or block carbon), the TFC membrane, and a bulky pressurized rubber or flexible plastic lined metal storage tank. As chlorine can damage the TFC membrane, all RO systems should have effective carbon prefilters, and most use a carbon post filter to improve the taste. RO systems are not designed to filter microbiologically unsafe water, and do not remove high levels of arsenic and manganese. Manganese has recently been linked to a higher incidence of Parkinson's disease. (Note: activated alumina filtration removes fluoride and arsenic.)
In today's "green" movement, RO systems are far from being environmentally friendly. When new, approximately 1 gallon of water is wasted for every gallon produced. Over time the RO membrane loses efficiency, with gradually higher amounts of wasted water that can result in 10 gallons or more of wasted water for each gallon stored in the pressurized holding tank. If an RO system is not cleaned and sanitized regularly there is the potential for bacterial, fungal and mold growth in the holding tank, on the membrane, and on the tank lining. In addition, where bacteria is present, there is the potential for viral contamination.
The pressurized holding tanks that store water produced by RO systems are limited in size and capacity. They fill slowly and can present a problem if you want to dispense more than three or four gallons of water per day.
In a study of 600 families performed at the University of Quebec, 300 families consumed normal tap water and 300 families drank water purified by RO. There was a significantly higher incidence of gastroenteritis among families with RO systems. The level of bacteria in the RO systems increased to 100,000 per milliliter and higher. People who drank RO water averaged 10 times the incidence of illness of those drinking unfiltered tap water.3
Summary: RO & Stream Distilled Water
With the risk of bacterial, fungal and viral contamination, the negative environmental impact due to large volumes of waste water in the RO system, the acidic qualities of both RO and distillation, the electrical costs to produce steam distilled water, the potential for nickel, Bisphenol-A, phthalate or other contamination, and the proven negative impact on health that results from drinking demineralized water, I do not recommend RO or steam distillation.
Often used by laboratories, deionization utilizes a series of ion exchange resins, but to produce pure water, deionization must be combined with other purification systems, as while this method removes dissolved solids and gases, many other impurities remain. Deionization is not a practical system for drinking water or home use.
OZONE AND OZONATION
Ozone, or O3, also called "activated oxygen," is a highly reactive gas naturally produced in the atmosphere by the photochemical reaction of solar ultraviolet light radiation and oxygen (O2), or by lightning (bio-electrical reaction). At ground level, ozone is produced through the interaction of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and from ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances), including aerosol propellants, coolants, foaming agents, fire extinguishers, chemical solvents and pesticides.
The atmospheric ozone layer spans an area from six to thirty miles above the earth, helping to reduce harmful UV radiation at the earth's surface. O2, two atoms of oxygen, is part of the air we breath. By adding a third atom (O1 + O1 + O1 = O3), ozone (O3) is created.
Ozone can be made synthetically through the reaction of O2 with either an electrically charged wire (electro-chemical using corona discharge) or ultraviolet light source (photochemical), creating O3. Synthetically produced ozone can be effective as an air and water purifier, odor killer and disinfectant.
Ozone is highly reactive, and when it is close to the earth and near people it can be a health hazard, which is why Health Canada has issued a warning that air purifiers that emit higher than acceptable levels of ozone can cause lung irritation. Ozone can damage the cells that line the bronchial airways, increasing the risk of respiratory infection and inflammation, asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. While ozone is an effective air and water disinfectant, high concentrations of ozone are harmul to living tissues. Many air purifiers that produce negative ions emit ozone. While ozone can be dangerous to living tissue, when used carefully and properly, it is a powerful cleaner, disinfectant, and bleaching agent.
Ozone is the strongest oxidant available for the disinfection of air and water. Ozone is used to purify a high percentage of the world's drinking water, including bottled and municipal water. Ozone acts over 3000 times faster than chlorine, with the ability to kill 99% of all waterborne bacteria, germs, viruses and most pesticides by rupturing the cells of micro-organisms, or destroying odors and chemicals by oxidation. Ozone has a fairly short life of about 20 minutes, naturally changing back to O2.
Moderately soluble in water, ozone works by two modes of action; direct oxidation and oxidation by hydroxyl radicals. These oxidation reactions result in complete sterilization and deodorization with the only residual being dissolved oxygen.
While the use of ozone for most drinking water systems is unnecessary and impractical due to municipal chlorination, I highly recommend considering this method of sterilization for water that is microbiologically unsafe to drink, as an alternative to UV-C sterilization. There are also new inexpensive ozone producing systems designed to kill micro-organisms and remove toxins from food, which would be the preferred method of ensuring the safety of your meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.
As with many inventions, combining copper and zinc to produce an electro-chemical reaction to remove free chlorine was an accidental discovery made by Don Heskett in 1984, which lead to the creation of KDF Fluid Treatment Inc. Originally KDF was an acronym for Kinetic Degradation Fluxion. The discovery resulted in many patents and opened up a new era in water treatment. In 1992, KDF 85 and KDF 55 Process Media were certified by NSF International to its Standard 61 for drinking water. In 1997, KDF Fluid Treatment became a member of the Water Quality Association, receiving ANSI/NSF Standard 42 certification for drinking water. KDF media combined with GAC can be used in point of entry (whole house) systems and point of use (drinking water) systems.
Using a process of electro-chemical oxidation known as redox (Oxidation-Reduction), KDF media is a zinc-copper alloy that removes 99.9% of free chlorine, heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, silver, aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, iron, nickel, zinc, lead, chromium, barium, hydrogen sulfide, radon, selenium, trihalomethanes, manganese, mercury, chloroform, trichlorethane, lindane, pesticides, fungicides, bad tastes and odors. KDF media significantly extends the life of granulated activated carbon (GAC), controls and inhibits the growth of microorganisms and outperforms silver-impregnated carbon filters.
Used by major laboratories and manufacturers, KDF media is an ideal complement to activated carbon filters. The high purity zinc-copper alloy, known as KDF-55D, produces zinc oxide, which destroys bacteria, extending the life of activated carbon while limiting the growth of bacteria in the carbon bed. The zinc-copper alloy attracts heavy metals like a magnet. Testing confirms that the level of copper in water filtered by KDF media is <0.05 mg/l, which is 20 times below the acceptable EPA levels. Zinc levels are 0.46 mg/l, over ten times below the EPA safety level of 5.0 mg/l. There is no better technology for the removal of contaminants from microbiologically safe water than KDF combined with GAC.
As KDF Media does not remove fluoride, all OPUS Healthy Water System models designed for municipal water treatment include a fluoride filter. For microbiologically unsafe water (lakes, wells, etc., with high bacteria counts), I recommend Sterasyl, UV-C, Ozonation, and Ultra Filtration technologies.
Ceramic filters provide very fine filtration, and are recommended for microbiologically unsafe water. With a .5 to .9 micron rating, Ceramic filters are effective for filtering bacteria (including E.coli), cysts and sediment. The ceramic material can be cleaned many times with a plastic brush, extending the life of the filter; however, in areas with high levels of sediment the ceramic material may quickly become clogged, lowering water pressure and requiring regular cleaning. will quickly lower water pressure as the ceramic pores become clogged, requiring regular cleaning.
Many users of ceramic filters find the regular cleaning to be time consuming and often switch to other methods of sterilization including ozonation or treatment with UV-C (germicidal ultraviolet) light. Ceramic when combined with silver impregnated carbon is called sterasyl. Some models of ceramic sterasyl are called "candles" because they resemble a candle in shape.
For water sterilization, UV-C is usually a less expensive, easier to maintain option, especially when combined with quality sediment filtration and KDF/Carbon technologies. Ceramic sterasyl is an excellent solution for cottages where electricity is not available. A six candle ceramic sterasyl filter unit is available that features high water flow rates and excellent performance. Sterasyl filtration systems are also available in a table top ceramic units (Carafe design) that are ideal for filtering microbiologically unsafe water; however, sterasyl does not remove fluoride.
ACTIVATED ALUMINA FLUORIDE FILTRATION
Activated alumina (AA) is the only filter material specifically designed to remove fluoride and arsenic from water. A ceramic compound made of aluminum oxide with a very high surface-area-to-weight ratio, AA has a very high capacity for fluoride adsorption. Most municipal water supplies add 2 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. AA filters can reduce fluoride concentrations to below .1 ppm, or down to 99% of the normal fluoridated water level.
Quality water filters, especially after proper flushing, are designed to prevent filter media from escaping the filter housing. As KDF media is designed to remove aluminum and other metals from water, placing the KDF/Carbon filter after the activated alumina provides extra insurance, preventing any activated alumina particles from reaching your glass of water. This has been confirmed by the president of KDF Fluid Treatment.
ULTRAVIOLET GERMICIDAL IRRADIATION (UVGI) , USING UV-C
UVGI sterilization is an option to consider if you are filtering water that may be microbiologically unsafe to drink (i.e. lake water). UV-C sterilization consists of a UV-C lamp, housing and power supply. UV-C lamps should be replaced annually under normal use.
UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C are bands of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. The atmospheric ozone layer absorbs almost all UV-B and UV-C, so 98.7% of the UV that reaches the Earth is UV-A. While the wavelengths of the visible spectrum of light are in range of 400-700nm (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter), UV-A represents the longest wavelengths, from 315-400nm, UV-B represents the medium wavelength of 280-315nm, and UV-C, or germicidal UV, represents the shortest wavelength, from 100-280nm; however, the most effective wavelength is between 253 and 254nm, the wavelength used by manufacturers of UV-C lamps.
The most well known wavelengths of ultraviolet light are UV-A and UV-B, due to their effect on human skin; however, all ultraviolet light can damage the eyes and skin and should never be viewed with the naked eye without protection. UV-B is also the wavelength of light that reacts with cholesterol in the skin to form Vitamin D.
UVGI, Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation utilizes the UV-C wavelength (known as germicidal UV) as a sterilizer as it kills viruses, bacteria and larger pathogens including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. UV-C/UVGI is an effective method of killing micro-organisms in water.
UV-C does not remove other contaminants, heavy metals, chlorine or fluoride, so it should be used in a water treatment systems that utilizes other filtration technologies, including sediment and activated carbon filtration. For UV-C to effectively kill microorganisms it is crucial that the water be clear, as cloudy or turbid water prevents it from being effective.
Commercial UV-C lamps that are incorporated into the design of water treatments systems use a low pressure mercury vapor discharge tube that resembles a quartz lamp to produce UV-C at 253-254nm, the most effective wavelengths for the destruction of micro-organisms. UV-C lamps require small amounts of electricity (4 - 40 watts) which has spawned the development of a growing number of portable battery powered UV-C sterilization products, including Steripen, an innovative portable water sterilization device not much larger than a ballpoint pen, the Zadro UV sterilizer, used to sterilize surfaces like food cutting boards, telephone handsets, and personal items like pillows, mattresses and footwear, and the Raycop Antibacterial Vacuum, an amazing new product that sterilizes bedding, pillows, and mattresses, while killing and removing dust mites and dust mite feces.
ULTRA-FILTRATION - UF
Ultra Filtration uses membrane technology to reject contaminants from 0.01 to 0.2 microns. Compared to RO, UF filtration features a larger pore size, requiring a much lower operating pressure (10 to 100 psi) while maintaining higher flow rates (up to a maximum of 2 gallons/min). UF is effective in the removal of bacteria, pyrogens, high molecular weight dissolved solids and other water contaminants while allowing healthy minerals and ions through.
UF represents the most advanced filtration technology available. Compared to RO, UF provides bacteria and contaminant removal without the risk of bacterial contamination, the loss of healthful minerals, high levels of waste water, or a bulky storage tank.
BIOCERAMIC WATER AMPLIFICATION (BCWA) FILTER
Technically not a filter, bioceramic water amplification (BCWA) is a water amplifier. BCWA utilizes rare ceramic materials including Tourmaline, far infrared ceramic balls, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin C to add health promoting qualities to water.
Bioceramic water amplification transforms purified water into a powerful antioxidant that provides protection against reactive oxygen species, also known as free radicals. The rare ceramics and minerals in the bioceramic water amplification filter significantly increase alkalinity, and the increase is not dependent on the level of minerals in the treated water.
BCWA adds magnesium, potassium and calcium and lowers the ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential), transforming drinking water into health giving, antioxidant, mineral rich, alkaline water. BCWA treated water has smaller water clusters (51.497 Hz) which hydrate the body up to 3 times more effectively than normal water, helping to increase the absorption of nutrients and minerals.
BCWA is available in an inline filter that can be added to most quality water filtration systems. It can also be integrated into a drinking glass design (Alkalark) and into small sticks that can be added to water bottles (Balance Water Sticks). Alkalark will last up to 2 years if you drink up to 12 glasses per day of Alkalark treated water. Balance Water Sticks last for approximately six months. While both Alkalark and Balance Water Sticks improve the healthful qualities of water, they do not provide the same high level of alkalinity and other bioceramic amplification benefits as the inline filter design, as there is a much larger amount of bioceramic material in the inline filter. In addition, the inline filter design lasts for up to two years when used to amplify up to 2.5 gallons of water per day.
Until the introduction of bioceramic water amplification products, the only method of increasing alkalinity, adding active hydrogen and oxygen and reducing the cluster size of water was to treat water with expensive electric water ionizers, also known as "micro-water" machines. Electric water ionizing systems have been popular in Japan and Korea for many years, and have been increasing in popularity in North America. These systems utilize electrolysis to convert plain tap water into "electrolyzed ionized water," often called Kangen water, or ionized alkaline water. With all electric ionizing water treatment systems, alkaline water is produced from one tube, while acid water is produced from a drain tube. Some people use the acidic water to wash their face and to help heal skin problems, but most people only drink the ionized alklaline water and discard the acid water.
The effectiveness of electric water ionizing systems is limited by the level of dissolved minerals that naturally occur in the water being treated. RO or distilled water cannot be ionized because the platinum coated titanium water ionizing plates used in all ionizing systems require a high concentration of conductive minerals in water to work properly.
In most municipal water supplies, the concentration of minerals and TDS (total dissolved solids) is not sufficient to significantly raise alkalinity levels, lower the ORP (oxidation reduction potential) or reduce the cluster size to levels claimed by the manufacturers of these products.
Except for the ability to produce acid water, bioceramic water amplification provides all the benefits of electric water ionizers, with the added advantage of a measurable increase in alkalinity that is not dependent on the level of minerals present.
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