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Apr 22, 2002 05:43 PM

Water - Again

  • d

I read through all the posts on the original thread a couple of times. Not having any background on this I have to admit that I am somewhat confused and really have no basis on which to initiate any action; even to stop hauling jugs of distilled water home all the time. The only course of action that seems open to me is to add another glass of wine to my daily consumption and hope for the best.

Let me try to see where my understanding is:

All major cities (say at least the 5 largest) have no standard way of treating water. The same holds true for smaller cities. All spring water is different and what is marketed as spring water therefore could be good or bad. Therefore all wells that are dug are also different from location to location. Marketed distilled water(although generally the same process) may be different and you need to take a magnifying glass with you to the market to inspect the fine print. What one city or company may be doing today may not be true tomorrow and is impossible to monitor.

Are there say 5 ingredients (that have a factual base) that we should try to avoid regardless of whether or not our cities may or may not be removing them from the tap water. To me this seems to be the crux of the situation.

Filters may or may not do the job. Is this a correct assumption? So installing a home filter system may or may not be worthwhile?

Does any of this really matter? Do statistics exist that say how many people are hurt or die from this stuff ?

Curiosity question: Does sludge (toliet water in laymans terms) ever enter into the drinking water equation? I thought is was only used for farming but I heard a comment on Fox news awhile back where they were considering this. How would you react to this?

Curiosity question: Is rain water collected by various means by homeowners any better?

To avoid data overload that is all of my questions at this time. Thanks

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  1. I've included a link to the EPA. There should be loads of info in it for you. Your local Municipal water supplier also probably has a website.

    If you choose to stay with bottled water you should do a little research and pick a spring water. It's much better tasting than distilled water.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Andy T.

      If you'd like to read a very entertaining article about water, purchase Jeffrey Steingarden's book _The Man Who Ate Everything_ and read the chapter about water. Aside from being a brilliantly funny read, it provides a lot of data on water, the components of, distilled vs. tap vs. spring, brands, etc.

      Personally, I would recommend a Brita, because it is the most cost effective way of getting tasty water.

      Distilled water is for people who are paranoid about ingesting any "chemicals." And for car batteries.


      1. re: Dan

        My mom was lucky enough to get a new kidney when both of hers failed. Thank goodness she is well and has had no complications for the 2 years she has had the kidney. A wild thing these transplants, she would never have made it through that last year and now she is doing fine. I am grateful. There is a point here, though ;o)

        When she was in the hospital, we went through all of the classes and trainings about "how to live with a transplanted organ in your body" with her. The pharmacist's presentation, which was quite extensive as you can imagine, also included a chat about water. Of course, that was after about an hours worth of info on anti-rejection medications.

        He said, basically, that she should never drink tap water if she can help it. The anti-rejection drugs kind of turns off your immune system (especially at first) so you don't reject the transplanted organ. So we said that she (as we - partner and I) uses a Brita.

        Pharmacist guy said that the Brita WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It lets too many particles through, especially the bugs like cryptospiridium and other fun things - he said. He also said that we should all switch to PUR Plus if we were going to use filter pitchers. It seems it is a better filter and the one they recommend to folks with compromised immune systems.

        The PUR Plus (and not the PUR, the PUR PLUS, he said!)although it may be a bit more than Brita, it is comparable in price. We felt that the info we got from him (a pharmacist at one of the top transplant hospitals in NYC and the world) was good and that if we were going to spend money on a pitcher filter, why get the Brita when the PUR Plus is better? SO that's what we have.

        FWIW, I think the water flows through a bit faster than in a Brita and that the water tastes better with the PUR Plus.

        That's what I know...

    2. ok...1st of all

      no there is no totally standard way of treating municipal water...almost all municipalities NYC the chlorine levels are quite high, which is one reason the water doesnt taste as good as it did. Brita removes chlorine, so does running it i na blender for a minute. also removes dissolved oxygen.

      about 60% of large municipalities add fluoride..there is still some controversy as to this...NYC adds, i belive, 1 mg/ some countries, they add less....

      NY does not presently filter..eventually the portion of the water supply from the croton reservoir in westchester will be filtered (10% of the total) because nutrient levels are tooo high,...

      the other additive in NYC which also accounts for the taste decline, is orthophosphate, designed to build a coating on your pipes preventing the lead in older pipes (or other metals for that matter) from dissolvong in our slightly acidic water.

      tap water varies tremendously in many ways...,.

      a water from a deep aquifer, like southern long island, is generally totally parasite free but heavy in iron; the iron must be filtered out...surface water, like NYC, is fairly light...low total dissolved solids, but can pick up creatures or runoff, etc...hence the chlorine...water from shallow aquifers, can be somewhat easily polluted by VOCs...
      all municpal systemes in NYS are intensively monitored.

      why do you drink distilled water?? it tastes odd. normally water has some minerals in it. most americsan spring waters are processed. Poland Spring, for example, is a low mineral content water, which is then ozonated, i believe (or it may be UV treated) to kill off buggies. most european waters are not generally treated or filtered, except maybe for iron. if you are seriously immune compromised, i understand the distilled. ideally, you would drink water with some mineral content, not distilled. distilled water is not better for health, unless youre worried about oollutants in your water or buggies...always avoid lead, of course,..

      As for sludge....

      sewage water is treated at a plant. theres primary treatment, which is mainyl physical filtering and grease separation. secondary treatment uses bacteria to digest nutrients and other things in the sewage water...
      there is such a thing as tertiary treatment, which uses more sophisticated equipment to do a third stage cleanup in which the water is pretty pure afterwards- technically it is drinking quality. about 15 years ago, NYS & the nassau county dept of health added a tertiary section to a sewage plant, and in a test...built a recharge basin (aka sump) and some test injection wells to take this treated water and return it to the underground aquifer. after two years of this, they performed extensive tests,and found that the watre was cleaner than the preexisting watre in the aquifer.

      there are a load of different kinds. brita is just a carbon mainly improves taste and takes out some stuff such as some volatile organics...reverse osmosis filters will takje out just about everything (aquafina is RO water) there's a number of other filters- you can hook up a carbon and another kind in series, and it will trap most buggies as well as clean up the taste..