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Indiana Water Quality News

Indiana Water Quality

Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. The documentary is well structured and presents an overwhelming amount of evidence which will change the way anyone thinks about bottled and municipal water.

Both the “manufacture” of the water itself, and also where the bottles come from, where they go after use and how they influence our lives while they’re with us. The willful absence of major companies such as Coke, Pepsi and Nestle is extremely telling in light of all the material presented.
One can only hope that the small voice of this film will be heard over the huge booming commercial machine that these and other companies represent in the popular media. If you haven’t seen this movie, simply watch it. It’s that good and the information is something everyone should know.


Indiana water quality is the focus of this page. Sub pages include county and city specific Indiana water quality information. See the information below for information to improve your Indiana water quality.

Indiana water quality

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What to do if you know your water is bad and how to choose the right filter.

You’re spending a small fortune on bottled water and you know it’s just a temporary solution. But where do you start when it comes to water filtration? Get the latest, up-to-date info to help guide you through the maze of choices. Learn what to look for, what to avoid, the hidden costs. There is an enormous boom today in the awareness and usage of alternatives to drinking tap water. There are hundreds of new bottled waters now on the market and just as many hundreds of choices of various filtration devices. Consumer protection is just starting to be put into action in the last few years. In this guide, we’ll bring you up-to-date on what to look for, what the ratings mean, and how to completely protect your drinking water sources. Included in this guide are:


Visit A Greener Indiana

I. Brief history and update on the water problems we face today…
 
  • what the municipalities can deliver
  • what the state and federal governments can regulate and enforce

II. Drinking water problems and their sources…

  • why point-of-use systems are the most logical and efficient
  • why it is the individual’s responsibility to guarantee their own drinking water purity
  • why over 20 million households will have one by year 2000
  • Chlorine
  • Chloramine
  • Bacteria
  • Lead
  • Asbestos
  • Chemical Pollution
  • Cysts

III. The main technologies available to the consumer…

  • pros and cons of each technology
  • granular activated carbon
  • solid carbon block
  • distillation
  • reverse osmosis
  • KDF resin
  • ultraviolet
  • ozonation
  • bottled water

IV. Consumer protection when purchasing a water filtration device…

  • What is NSF?
  • Why is NSF the industry standard nationwide as of 1992?
  • How does NSF compare to Consumer Reports?

V. The hidden costs of water filtration…

If all the earth’s water, fresh and salt, were to fit in a gallon jug, the available fresh water would only equal a little over a tablespoon. Only a small part of that tablespoon would be water to drink! In your home, only one half of 1 percent of your household water usage is for drinking water — yet on this small amount rests all your health functions!

Drinking Water Regulations

In 1972, the Federal Clean Water Act targeted what is known as “point source pollution” -contamination coming from specific industries and industrial sites. The act helped start massive cleanups of rivers, lakes and streams brought to the point of biological death in many cases. The action resulting from this legislation helped resolve point source pollution problems but non-point source pollution remains rampant nationwide. This type of pollution comes from rain drains, leaking septic tanks, leaking gasoline storage tanks and agricultural ground water pollution. The federal government mandates to the states, with EPA participation, to set minimum acceptable contaminant levels in drinking water supplied through the local municipal systems within each state. Municipal systems are regulated by state guidelines and monitored by local districts. They are allowed to deliver water with certain minimum levels of sediment, organic matter and non-pathenogenic (non-disease producing) bacteria. Often, they violate these standards, especially during periods of heavy rain. However, they don’t stop delivery (except in the most extreme cases) – they are only required to notify water users in the interim. Eventually they are required to fix the problem but sometimes, for example with asbestos, the problem is impossible to fix due to economics and/or logistics. If people are actually getting sick, i.e. with diarrhea or worse, then more drastic measures are taken. For the most part, the action taken consists of notifying people that they need to boil their water or buy bottled water until otherwise notified. In essence, the government can’t solve the situation overnight. The problems are too massive and too complex. For example, out of over 300,000 toxic waste sites, the EPA has targeted one thousand of them as priority. Five years and $1.5 billion dollars later, few sites are cleaned up and the resulting damage to the groundwater supplies will remain for decades, even centuries. Local governments, municipalities and water companies do their best but they are severely handicapped by a lack of funds, by the inability to test for a wide range of contaminants and by antiquated distribution systems, such as pipelines constructed of lead or asbestos. One example is compliance with the EPA priority list of 129 toxic chemicals found nationwide in the drinking water — most municipalities test for less than thirty of these!

Drinking Water Problems

Chlorine:

The experimental use of chlorine began in the 1890’s to combat water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. It quickly gained wide acceptance because of low cost and high efficiency in killing just about everything hazardous in the water. Chlorine allowed population centers to spring up and thrive without any epidemic outbreaks. The problem with chlorine is that it is a known poison and the safety of drinking this poison over the longterm (i.e. your lifetime) is highly uncertain. Also, chlorine reacts with water-borne decaying organic matter like leaves, bark, sediment, etc. to create a family of chemicals called trihalomethanes and other highly toxic substances. Trihalomethanes, or THM’s, include chemicals such as formaldehyde and formalin, both of which are extremely carcinogenic even in minute amounts.

Chloramine:

Chloramine is another substance used now in many larger municipalities (i.e. Los Angeles). In systems where the level of chlorine is at the highest acceptable level but need still more disinfection, the utility will then add a chlorine/ammonia compound. Chloramine is represented as totally safe but with the disclaimer to not give chloramine-treated water to your animals or use it in your fish tanks (it kills fish)!

Bacteria:

If you are on a municipal system with chlorination or chloramine, theoretically you are protected against bacteria. However, if the level of chlorination isn’t high enough from the municipal source to your tap, bacteria can re-infect the water anywhere along the distribution system. The piping system — whether it’s the mains or your house plumbing — has bacterial growth in it happening all the time. If you are on a spring or a wall, with no chlorine, then you are very vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Even the most pure sources cannot prevent occasional contamination from animals either dying or defecating in the source, or from neighboring pollution (i.e. septic tanks) traveling from an adjoining watershed to contaminate the source. Also, the pipes are again a source of bacteria. Many people do periodic testing on their well or spring source and rely on this method to assure themselves that they have good water. What they don’t realize is that there are a few problems with testing. First, the test is only good for the moment the sample was taken. Bacteria can have “blooms,” if the conditions are right, which potentially occur hours, days or weeks after the testing and therefore remain undetected. Other casual contamination can occur from animal or human sources, as mentioned above, which the test never detected because the sample was taken before the contamination occurred. Second, testing can be very expensive to do, depending on what is being tested for. Most basic tests cover bacteria (i.e. E. coli), levels of sediment and decaying organic matter, and amount of total dissolved solids (mineral levels such as calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, etc.). With any extra testing the price goes up per test. Lead, asbestos and specific chemical contaminants are more difficult and therefore much more expensive to test for.

Lead:

Lead is a cumulative toxin that stays in the tissue permanently, especially in brain tissue. It also affects a person in relation to their body weight. Therefore, an exposed adult can fend off the toxic effects for some time but in children, brain and developmental damage occur quickly and permanently. Lead pipes and lead solder in the distribution system are the main sources of lead pollution. Boston Globe estimates that 98% of all households have lead in their plumbing. Houses older than 20 years and less than five years are most at risk. Also, houses in areas of soft (low mineral levels) water tend to corrode the lead from the pipes more easily.

Asbestos:

Asbestos is another potential carcinogen that can come either from water with naturally occurring asbestos (such as in areas that have a lot of serpentine rock) or from asbestos-lined water pipes. Thousands of miles of these pipes were laid throughout the U.S. in the 1950’s and have yet to be replaced. Asbestos is so small that it is unfeasible to remove it at the water treatment plant. To build such a removal facility is prohibitively expensive and would clog up the plant within five years of being in operation.

Chemical Pollution:

Chemicals are, for the most part, odorless, colorless and tasteless, therefore undetectable. Chlorine is the most predominant chemical in our water. Some of the most dangerous chemicals are present only in trace amounts (parts per billion) but highly toxic even at these minute levels. Sources are usually industrial or commercial, like leaking underground storage tanks for gasoline or industrial solvents such as TCE (trichloroethane). These leaking toxins end up in the groundwater or in the municipal supply through breaks or cracks in the main water pipes. The biggest family of these toxics are VOC’s or volatile organic contaminants, including various plastics, gasolines and petroleum products. Next is the herbicidal group such as dioxin (2-4D) and lindane, used as a defoliant in modern logging operation and found in many wild and rural areas. Along with the herbicides comes the pesticidal group such as DDT, malathione and other toxics used in insect eradication and control. Also, the THM’s mentioned before are a big pollutant because of the amount of chlorination used nationwide. They are a separate class of chemical from chlorine itself.

Cysts:

This last group includes microscopic worms, parasites and protozoa. The biggest offenders are giardia and cryptosporidia which cause major diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal disorders and even death in people with compromised immune systems. Water experts estimate that over 63% of water problems in the Unites States today are directly caused by giardia and cryptosporidia. Giardia is seven to fourteen microns in size and cryptosporidium is from three to 5 microns in size. When the environment becomes inhospitable (like the presence of chlorine or the absence of water), both parasites can go into the cystic form (like a hard, round impermeable microscopic egg). The cyst form is chlorine resistant and very hard to kill. Municipal utilities are unable to completely remove these cysts. Cysts have been found in most major municipal water systems in the U.S. Milwaukee, Wisconsin had a huge outbreak of cryptosporidia in 1993 that killed over 100 people. San Francisco, California has repeatedly tested positive for giardia in its chlorinated water that traveled hundreds of miles from the Sierras. The human body is over 70% water. To think that contaminants in our drinking water have little or no bearing on our short term and long term health picture is to ignore reality. Federal, state and local authorities will strive to do their best to insure that we get the best water possible but they can’t undo all of the damage to our water sources over decades of ignorance and abuse. It’s up to us to take personal responsibility to safeguard the water we use to drink and prepare our food. That responsibility starts at each household’s kitchen tap. Removing all contaminants at the kitchen or bathroom taps just before consuming the water is the most logical, efficient and economical solution to drinking water purification. In this manner, only the drinking water is filtered (rather than all the household water). Also, there is no possibility for re-contamination (i.e. in a holding tank) after purifying the water.

Technologies Available…

There are only four to five generic forms of water purification technologies available:

Granulated activated carbon

Carbon is a substance that has a long history of being used to absorb impurities and is the most powerful absorbent known to man. One pound of carbon contains a surface area of 125 acres and can absorb thousands of different chemicals. For centuries, sailing vessels used it to store drinking water for long voyages. Carbon is also commonly used as an effective antidote for swallowed poisons. Activated carbon is carbon which has a slight electro-positive charge added to it, making it even more attractive to chemicals and impurities. Loose granular activated carbon (GAC) is used extensively in most of the commonly encountered water filters today. Most of these filters have ratings as simple taste and odor filters or as pre-filters designed to remove initial dirt, rocks, sediment, etc. Very few of these GAC filters are effective at true purification (i.e. removal of substances of health concern). Below are some problems:

  • Channeling: When water is forced through a substrate of GAC (which has the consistency of sand or coffee grounds) it takes the path of least resistance and makes its own channels through the GAC in the filter. What this means is that the water being filtered is notcontacting the GAC for enough time to allow complete absorption of impurities to take place. Many impurities seep through along with the “purified” water.
  • Bacterial growth: When the water passes through the GAC, some bacteria are trapped in the substrate, too. The problem is that these trapped bacteria multiply prolifically in the warm, moist oxygen-containing environment among the grains of GAC. Because the GAC is loose, there is no barrier to keep any bacteria growing inside the filter from coming out with the water pushed through each time the filter is used. There have been extensive tests showing certain filters have thousands more bacteria coming out of them than initially went into them! Some companies add silver nitrate, a known poison, to the GAC to aid in keeping the bacterial growth down, but this method has limited effectiveness. There are also serious questions about adverse health effects from the silver nitrate itself!
  • Effectiveness decreases rapidly: Because the amount of GAC is usually minimal in most GAC filters, they quickly become saturated and overwhelmed with normal household usage. The filters must be changed quite often, which also adds to the expense of filter maintenance.

Distillation

Distillation is an expensive process that heats the water to the vapor point and aids in removing some impurities from the water. The theory is that chemical pollution and other contaminants will be vaporized and separated off from the vaporized water. The treated water then passes into a holding tank and the drinking water is drawn from this tank as needed. The process itself requires electricity and adequate water, since it wastes gallons of water for every gallon produced. Distillation is used in rare situations where large amounts of trace minerals (i.e. calcium, magnesium, etc.) must be removed from the water to improve the taste. Some people periodically drink mineral-free water for specific health regimens such as the dissolving of kidney or gall stones. However, mineral-free (soft) water is detrimental to the health of the bones, teeth and tissues if drunk over a long period. Such soft water is termed “aggressive” water by the EPA because of its ability to leach out the minerals, metals or other materials of whatever it touches or passes over. Other problems with distillation are:

  • Maintenance: the units require periodic and extensive maintenance to the piping that usually can only be done by the factory.
  • Holding tank: all distillers require a holding tank to store the processed water, inviting possible recontamination and bacterial growth in the tank.
  • Incomplete purification: distillation is not effective at removing the VOC’s because many of them re-condense back into liquid just like the water does. For this reason, the distiller is usually combined with a granular carbon filter to remove additional chemicals that slip through.
  • Environmental contamination: in some cases, distillers have been shown to blow vaporized contaminants out into the surrounding air of the household.
  • Inconvenience: with most distillers, the homeowner has to wait eight hours to get a couple of gallons of drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis, or RO, is another separation process that makes use of a semi- permeable membrane. This membrane lets particles of a certain size or smaller through and keeps back larger particles. Like distillation, some contaminants can make it through the membrane just like water molecules, so a GAC filter is added at the end of the process to capture these materials. RO systems also waste three to 10 gallons of water for every gallon produced. Also, like distillation, RO water is essentially mineral-free which is not healthy to drink as a lifetime beverage. Mineral supplements are always recommended to take if drinking RO water (as well as distilled water). These supplements counterbalance the leaching effect of drinking mineral-free, aggressive water. However, unlike distillation, RO units leave the water well-oxygenated so that the water taste is much closer to that of “spring water.” The distilled water always tastes flat and “lifeless.” In cases of extreme mineralization or high nitrate levels in the water (agricultural areas), RO units are for the most part the systems of choice.

KDF Resin

KDF resin is a limited technology that is mainly used for chlorine removal. A large amount of the KDF and a long contact time with the water is needed to do the job. Therefore, this resin is best used in large commercial applications such as boiler systems although it is also used effectively in some showerhead filters. Typically, KDF filters use zinc and copper to create electrolysis that helps keep bacterial growth down inside the filter. However, the systems using KDF may have problems with the zinc and copper leaching into the water they dispense. KDF filters also tend to clog quickly (around six months in some cases) and this clogging action is dependent on specific water chemistry like pH and temperature. Companies using KDF recommend to backwash the filters (use hot water to dislodge trapped contaminants) but this method wastes many gallons of hot water, and has no way to prevent dislodged pollution from continuing out with the supposedly purified water.

Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet light systems make use of the ability of this portion of the light spectrum to kill bacteria. Such systems are only effective on bacteria and some algae and protozoa, so they are normally combined with carbon technology to give more complete purification. Other drawbacks are:

  • Incomplete purification: Particles in the water like dirt, leaves, etc. can prevent the disinfection process from hitting every bacterium, etc.; some can slip through in cases of heavy silt and sediment levels.
  • No residual disinfection down the line: The process is only good at the spot where the light is located; any contamination down the pipeline is picked up as the water continues down.
  • Limited application: UV light is good only for bacteria and viruses. It does nothing about giardia, cryptosporidia, chemicals, lead or asbestos.
  • Expensive to purchase and maintain

Ozonation

Ozone units super-oxygenate water which kills bacteria with adequate contact time. Again, this is a process that only addresses bacterial contamination and so is necessarily combined with carbon filtration to be most effective. Other drawbacks are:

  • Expensive to purchase and maintain
  • Create by-products in the treated water:
    Ozonated water can contain high amounts of toxic contaminants such as formaldehyde and different ketones. Some of the created by-products also allow for increased bacterial growth in the pipes down the line which contributes to re-infection of the water.

Bottled Water

Bottled water enjoys a booming business lately due to all of the water problems covered before. People drink it because of the improved taste, and that allows them to drink more water. What the public doesn’t realize is that the standards for that bottled water are no higher than those for the tap water in their kitchen. Bottled water companies are allowed to sell water with a minimum level of contamination (bacteria, algae, dirt, lead, etc.). When the water tastes better, the public perceives it as purer. Here is the scoop on bottled water:

  • Expensive: The California Assembly Office of Research did a study on bottled water in 1985 that showed consumers paying up to one thousand times the cost of tap water for bottled water.
  • Inconvenient: People who use bottled water regularly tend to have lots of bottles around underfoot — empty containers or new jugs waiting to be used. These people usually hoard the “clean” water for special purposes, i.e. coffee, beverages, rather than use it freely whenever needed. There is always the problem of having too many bottles on hand because they are not used fast enough, or not enough bottles because the water is being consumed more quickly.
  • No laws requiring it to be purer than tap water: In 1991, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Commission did a study on bottled water with the following findings:
    • 25% of “gourmet” waters (i.e. Evian, Perrier, et al) draw from the same sources as cities!!
    • 31% exceed tap water limits for microbiological contaminants!
    • 25% could not document their water sources!
    • Any bottled water sold strictly within state borders is not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration!

The University of Delaware found that of the 37 popular mineral waters, at least 24 were out of line with at least one of the 31 standards set for drinking water! The California Assembly Office of Research study (1985) also did random samplings of bottled waters sold in California (name brands such as Alhambra, Black Mountain, Sparkletts, etc.) and found numerous reported contamination problems, such as finding various chemicals, insects, algaes, bacteria, fingernails and even chewing gum! Because of the nature of the bottling and handling process, it is difficult to avoid casual contamination from different points in the process. Air that bubbles up into home drinking water dispensers is laden with bacteria and dust that contaminates the water each time. Bottled water companies recommend keeping the water out of direct sunlight and even supply covers for the bottles because the algae, etc. that was not filtered out completely will start to grow in the bottle with warmth and light (remember the greenish scum?)!

Solid Carbon Block Filters

This technology has combined the incredible adsorption capability of carbon discussed previously with the ability of a solid brick of material to selectively strain out particles from water forced through it. The density of the brick determines how finely the water is cleaned. The better brands of this type of filter have a three part filter and are designed to prevent any possibility of “bypass” due to high pressure failure. The following list of features are what combine to create the type of filter that will remove the widest range of possible contaminants in the drinking water:

  • Mechanical straining: the block of carbon mechanically strains out dirt, sediment, rust, algae, bacteria, microscopic worms, cryptosporidia and asbestos. This is all accomplished by water pressure so no electricity is required — such a filter even works on a simple hand pump in emergencies!
  • Chemical bonding: As explained earlier, activated carbon bonds to thousands of chemicals. In fact, carbon will bond to most chemicals known to man! When water is forced through the solid carbon block, it is forced to slow down and increase the contact time with the carbon, allowing the carbon bonding to take place to remove the chemical pollutants like toxics, pesticides, THM’s, chlorine, bad tastes, odors, etc.Health-providing trace minerals like dissolved calcium and magnesium do not bond to carbon and are allowed to pass through, thereby retaining the health quality and good taste of the water.Heavy metals like lead do not bond to the carbon, but are strained out by the pore size of the block — basically like trying to fit a basketball down a hole designed for a ping pong ball!!
  • Prevention of bacterial growth: Bacteria are strained out and remain on the outside of the carbon block. Therefore, because of the density and lack of oxygen and space inside the block, bacteria cannot breed in the medium and come out in the finished water.
  • Convenient: This type of system provides purified water on demand so there is no storage, nor running out at inconvenient times, no ordering bottles or picking bottles up from the store.
  • Inexpensive: This type of filter is a replaceable, self-clogging cartridge that lasts eight to 12 months (dependent on amount of sediment and dirt). The cartridge is designed to be replaced in minutes at home by the homeowner, just like screwing in a new light bulb. The cost of the units are relatively inexpensive — over a ten-year period, the cost of the unit plus maintenance works out to a mere sixty bucks a year!! The cost of the water itself is from four to 8 cents per gallon. The units themselves are generally very easy to install and are designed to be a 45 minute installation for the handy homeowner or plumber. They can also be connected with refrigerators that have automatic icemakers and water dispensers so that all the water that a household consumes is purified!The only drawback to solid carbon block systems is they will not remove nitrates or sulfides (byproducts of agricultural fertilization), and in these cases RO technology can take care of the problem. Nitrates and sulfides are found in relatively few areas however, so most consumers do not need to worry about them.

Consumer Protection

Today, there are over 517 different brands of filters on the market and a lot of confusion in the consumer’s mind. The industry has largely been self-regulated with bodies such as the Water Quality Association being looked to for recognition and approval. Since most of WQA’s members are in the water conditioning and softening end of the market, there have not been consumer ratings and protection for drinking water systems until just recently. In 1991, the National Sanitation Foundation, International was accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and RVC, ANSI’s European equivalent. The NSF, Intl. is an independent, not-for-profit third-party standards development and product certification organization. This organization is responsible to the consumer user sector, the regulatory (governmental) sector and to the manufacturer sector. NSF International maintains a voluntary certification program for equipment to applicable ANSI/NSF consensus Standards. This program includes any equipment used in food preparation and storage, including drinking water systems. NSF, Intl. tests products as part of its certification program to assure that chemicals are not leached at levels above those established by the standard or allowed by Federal Regulations (ie: MCL’s). Under Materials Guidelines, this includes all the product components (screws, neoprene seals, tubing, etc.). Under the Structural Guidelines, this includes ensuring that units will not explode, crack, disintegrate, etc. The Materials Guidelines and Structural Guidelines are actually minimum requirements of the standards that products must meet in order to be certified. NSF International’s drinking water Standards are recognized as American National Standards for point-of-use drinking water treatment devices, and their Certification program is recognized as the hallmark or premier certification program in North America. In fact, most states are going to NSF International ratings plus their own state testing which determine what individual manufacturers can claim for their filters sold within the state. California is one of the toughest states to sell in because many filters do not qualify to sell in the state, based on outrageous performance claims that are unverifiable. Most reputable companies invest in the expense of getting these ratings because they recognize the credibility granted them if their filter measures up. Therefore, they strive for as much documentation as possible. NSF International has six standards for drinking water filtration devices, including Standards 42, 53, 58 (Reverse Osmosis Systems) and 55 (Ultraviolet Systems). The bulk of the filters are certified under the following standards:

  • Standard 42: Aesthetic effects
    This rating covers taste, odor and chlorine removal and further divides the category by percent removal, i.e.

    • Class I: 75% or greater Chlorine removal
    • Class II: 50% – 74% Chlorine removal
    • Class III: 25% – 49% Chlorine removal
  • Standard 53: Health Effects

This category covers most every other pollutant, with many of them, like lead and asbestos, being extremely hard to remove due to size or chemical structure. The substances rated for are tested for individually with each test a separate expense:

  • Chemicals (VOC’s, THM’s)
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Cysts (GIardia, Cryptosporidia)
  • Turbidity
  • Lead
  • Asbestos
  • Radon

The method in which the filters are tested is to test for greater than 99.9% reduction of a substance (such as lead, for instance) for twice the rated filter capacity. In other words, if a cartridge is rated for 500 gallons by NSF International, that means that it removed lead for one thousand gallons at 99.9% reduction level. In this manner, consumers are generously protected for almost any water situation, by overtesting the unit and conservatively rating the expected performance. Many consumers look to Consumer Reports for trusted performance ratings on different products. In the field of water filtration, CR is not nearly as rigorous in its testing as NSF, Intl., either in its methodology or the range of contaminants tested for. In the past ten years, the CR labs have only done lead and chlorine comparisons on a relatively few filters so their findings are far from comprehensive. NSF does not rate or compare one unit over any other. It simply certifies that the product bearing the Registered NSF Mark meets the minimum requirements of the applicable ANSI/NSF Standards. NSF also certifies that the manufacturer agrees to comply with written NSF policies governing the use of the NSF Mark and other certification requirements. The State of California accepts other testing results, but NSF Intl. is a much more complete source for comparison and because of this, as of October 1992, all filters sold within the state of California, and others as well, must state the filter’s NSF, Intl. rating on the unit, the packaging and all literature related to the filter. Any violators of this regulation are prevented from selling their equipment in the state.

Hidden Cost of Filter Maintenance

There are three other factors to consider in the purchase of a drinking water system that can be almost as important as the unit performance itself:

Filter replacement costs:
What is it going to take to maintain the filter over a lifetime of use? Some filter replacement cartridges run as high as $80 to $150 per year!! If possible, it is best to buy equipment and cartridges directly from the manufacturer because that insures the lowest possible price.
System warranty:
How long is the unit guaranteed to last? Some cheaper units have only one year limited warranty, or have a three year warranty and are designed to be thrown away in three years. Most of the units are prorated, meaning that only a partial refund will be given in the case of failure. There are only a few units that give a warranty over five years long. In general, the longer the available warranty, the better because this is a direct indication of the manufacturer’s commitment to the product and to customer service.
Company longevity:
How long has the company been in business and what are their prospects for staying in business? In other words, will the company still be around in 5, 10, 25 years or longer? The importance of longevity is availability of filter replacement cartridges and replacement parts as needed. Most filter cartridges are not interchangeable and many consumers have been burned after buying a filter that three years later was out of business! The best advice is to stick with recognized industry leaders that have been in the water filtration business for at least 15 years or longer.