Sample Pitcher FilterA common and lower cost method of water filtration is a pitcher style container with a reservoir and an internal “flow through” style of filter. They require proper maintenance, a proper water source and periodic disinfection in order to ensure they are working correctly. However, many people use these devices on water that it was never designated for and are then disappointed in the results or are left with a sense of water quality that is generally incorrect. 

The Unknown
To illustrate this a simple analogy can be used to identify serious water risks. A typical pitcher filter contains a carbon based cartridge to remove offensive taste and odour from water. The packaging will clearly indicate that this is to be used on micro-biologically safe bacteria free water The intended use is most commonly for chlorinated municipal water. This water is already treated and the purpose of the filter is to remove chlorine from the water. When pitcher style filters are used for country water applications, it can be a very different scenario when people are completely unaware of the risks associated with the practice. 

Lead in Water CanadaHow it Works
Carbon media has the ability to remove the unwanted tastes and odours from water and is typically used in pitcher style filtration applications. The media is porous with tiny pockets to absorb the contaminant, as well as has the ability to provide a “rest area” for bacteria, such as e.Coli or coliform, to multiply. When used on surface water or well water containing bacteria, the filter can increase the level of bacteria in a carbon filter causing it to be passed into the reservoir. Consider also that filters require regular replacement intervals to ensure proper filtration and prevent fouling due to overload. Many people do not replace them as required, extending cartridge life for months or even years before replacing them, as there is no warning light or beeper to indicate when they should be replaced.

Perspective
It is a common assumption that the pitcher filter is a “catch all drinking water system” and will remove objectionable tastes, odours and contaminants. People often believe that if the water looks clear and it odourless then it should be safe. Invisible in water is the contaminant lead, which has been identified in drinking water throughout the country as indicated by recent publications. This rise in lead contamination is due mostly to aging piping in municipal systems or homes. Most carbon medias do not remove lead, and while special cartridges are available, they are not widely used in most homes or shipped with the original packaging. It is reasonable to say that lead is passing into drinking water through the filter and being consumed without consumer knowledge. 

Best Practice RecommendationBest Practice Recommendation
Consider the type of filter you use and identify what it is capable of removing from your water. Before you use any drinking water filtration system, ensure that it is applicable for the water source. If you are unsure, certified water treatment professionals from your local area can assist with recommendations based on water sources in each region of the country. As more contaminants are identified, the quality of drinking water should be a priority for every individual based on knowledge and proper treatment techniques.

Volume 3 – Issue 7 Wahl H2O - Water Awareness
Copyright 2019 Jeff Wahl – Wahl Water | All Rights Reserved
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