Types of Water Treatment Technologies

If you have water quality concerns and choose to purchase a home drinking water system, it’s important that you find a system that will solve your particular problem and fit your lifestyle. Most products fall into the following categories.

Filters do a good job of removing turbidity and particulate matter. Microfiltration can remove bacteria and cysts by mechanical means.

May not remove taste and odor producers, or some types of chemical substances. Filters must be changed regularly to be effective.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) has enormous surface area and is highly porous. One pound of GAC has the surface area of more than 100 acres. The GAC surface attracts and holds tiny particles and molecules; such as those that cause poor taste and odors. Better systems can also reduce TTHMs, VOCs and and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use and maintain.

Low-priced faucet mount filters have relatively short filter life spans, requiring frequent changes. Filter cartridges must be changed as recommended, usually every 30 to 3,000 gallons, depending on the model and water quality. Coarse filter designs can lead to dumping, the sudden leakage of previously removed substances into filtered water. Select a system designed to prevent this.

These systems use pressure to force water molecules through a membrane, separating various substances from the water. They are the only economical system capable of solving brackish water problems common in coastal areas.

The typical system sends 70-90% of feed water to the drain, causing excessive waste for one gallon of water. It takes up to three hours to produce one gallon of treated water. May be more system than what is needed. Removes dissolved minerals. 

These systems exchange sodium for calcium and magnesium to “soften” water. They boost water’s cleaning ability and reduce minerals that cause appliance breakdown. They are effective for removing some metals, such as iron, manganese, and radium.

Softening systems are not effective for removing unwanted organic chemicals, tastes and odors. Added sodium may not be desired for those on a restricted sodium diet. Systems usually condition the entire home water supply, not just the 1-2% used for drinking and cooking.


(Content courtesy of Pentair Everpure)