Is Bottled or Tap Water Better for Your Health?

Over the past few years, bottled water consumption has grown significantly because it’s considered safer and better tasting than tap water. In fact, in the United States, each person drinks approximately 30 gallons (114 liters) of bottled water per year (1Trusted Source). However, due to environmental concerns and potential health effects, many people are starting to wonder whether tap water is better. This article compares tap and bottled water to help you decide which to drink. Pros and cons of tap water Tap water, also called municipal water, comes from large wells, lakes, rivers, or reservoirs. This water typically passes through a water treatment plant before being piped into homes and businesses (2). While contaminated drinking water is an issue in some regions, tap water is generally safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly. Safety may vary based on your location According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies (3Trusted Source). U.S. public tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is responsible for identifying and setting legal limits for potential contaminants in drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (4, 5). Currently, the EPA has set legal limits on over 90 contaminants, including heavy metals like lead and microbes like E. coli (6). Nonetheless, drinking water contamination can still occur. For example, certain regions may have greater exposure to toxins, such as industrial pollutants or bacteria from agricultural runoff (7Trusted Source). Additionally, old plumbing may introduce contaminants like lead, and natural disasters like floods can temporarily pollute public water systems (7Trusted Source). Many public health organizations also claim that the EPA’s current limits on certain toxins aren’t stringent enough. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), U.S. water regulations haven’t been updated in almost 20 years. As a result, certain toxins may be harming vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women (8). While the EPA requires water utilities to provide annual quality reports, the EWG’s Tap Water Database also allows individuals to view contamination reports for their local water supply. Furthermore, home water filters may improve the safety of your tap water (3Trusted Source). Keep in mind that the EPA only oversees public water sources. If you get your water from a private well, you’re responsible for getting it tested for safety. Tastes just as good as bottled water Bottled water is often said to taste better than tap Read More

Water Distribution System Challenges And Solutions

INTRODUCTION Providing sufficient water of appropriate quality and quantity has been one of the most important issues in human history. Most ancient civilizations were initiated near water sources. As populations grew, the challenge to meet user demands also increased. People began to transport water from other locations to their communities. For example, the Romans constructed aqueducts to deliver water from distant sources to their communities. Today, a water supply system consists of infrastructure that collects, treats, stores, and distributes water between water sources and consumers. Limited new natural water sources, especially in the southwest region of the USA, and the rapidly increasing population has led to the need for innovative methods to manage a water supply system. For example, reclaimed water has become an essential water resource for potable and nonpotable uses. Structural system additions including new conveyance systems and treatment and recharge facilities and operation decisions, such as allocating flow and implementing conservation practices, are made with the present and future demands in mind. As additional components and linkages between sources and users are developed, the complexity of the water supply system and the difficulty in understanding how the system will react to changes grows. Many efforts on the development of a water supply system have been made for sustainable water supply. However, the complexity of the system limited the site-specific application in the first era. As water demands pressures raise increasingly on the existing water supply system, many studies have attempted to develop a general water supply system to assist decision-makers to design more reliable systems for a long-range operation period. These attempts also include the optimization of total system construction and operation cost. Under given situations such as pipeline maintenance, non-revenue water, advanced metering infrastructure, the ultimate goal of this paper is to ensure water distribution system challenges are overcome and supply water sources to users reliably in a more sustainable and timely manner as a long-term plan. Water Distribution Systems The purpose of the distribution system is to deliver water to consumers with appropriate quality, quantity and pressure. A distribution system is used to describe collectively the facilities used to supply water from its source to the point of usage. Requirements of Good Distribution System Water quality should not get deteriorated in the distribution pipes. It should be capable of supplying water at all the intended places with sufficient pressure head. It should be capable of Read More

Wastewater treatment: A critical component of a circular economy

The 8th World Water Forum was held in Brazil a few days ago. What’s ironic is that the more than nine thousand of us attending this Forum were discussing water-related issues in a city of three million grappling with a severe water shortage. After checking in at my hotel, the first thing I found in my room was a notice from the Government informing guests of this crisis and recommending ways to reduce water use. We recently learned of the predicament in Cape Town, South Africa, which was on the verge of running out of this essential liquid—a plight facing many cities around the world. The way in which we have been managing this resource and its services is clearly not a long-term solution. Traditional investment planning, design, and operating models are linear in nature: water is extracted from the source, treated, and used, and the wastewater is then treated and discharged in a receiving water body. We need to transition from the linear model to a circular one focused on reducing water use and consumption and promoting the reuse, recycling, restoration, and recovery of water resources.  Realizing this goal will entail rethinking the current wastewater treatment model. In a bid to foster this paradigm shift in Latin America, we are working with the CAF and several countries to implement the “Wastewater: From Waste to Resource” initiative. As part of this effort, a session was organized during the World Water Forum to facilitate discussions with governments and the private sector on the challenges and opportunities associated with promoting this fundamental change. Wastewater must no longer be seen as a problem but as a solution that can help provide sustainable infrastructure services, improve the financial viability of operators and environmental quality, and strengthen the resilience of the systems.  “Wastewater treatment plants” should be abandoned in favor of “water resource recovery facilities.” Recovery of wastewater resources is already underway in several countries, albeit in an ad hoc manner. So here’s the million-dollar question: What do we need to do to secure buy-in for this paradigm shift in our region? Below are a few suggestions arising from our work:  Appropriate legislation. Minimum effluent quality standards can be established in countries, as has already been done throughout most of the region. However, this legislation must be evaluated, taking costs associated with its implementation into consideration. Establishing strict effluent standards adopted in developed countries will have an adverse effect on the environment, as countries Read More

The Importance of Water System

Water is unquestionably vital to human life. Most of the surface of our planet is made of water — and the majority of the human body is too. But though this essential, hydrating fluid should be clear, refreshing and healthful, it isn’t always. Pollution, pesticides, other chemicals, heavy metals, and organic waste can all potentially seep into our water supplies. At best, they impart a mildly unpleasant tang or smell to our water. At worst, they compromise our short-term and long-term health. Fortunately, water filtration and purification systems provide a convenient and cost-effective way to make sure you have clean, refreshing water in your home and even on the go. According to the EPA and the Water Quality Association, 40% of Americans use some form of water filtration in their homes to enhance the quality of their water. Below, we’ll discuss the importance of purifying or filtering drinking water and show you the benefits of doing so. Why do we use water filters? Filtering your water is important for both aesthetic and health-related reasons. Filtered water helps provide these essential benefits: Filtered water generally tastes better than unfiltered water. Chlorine, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals can all contribute to water that has an unpleasant taste or aftertaste. Municipal tap water is usually safe to drink. But just because your water will not harm your health does not mean it is of high quality. Safe tap water may still contain contaminants that give your water an unpleasant taste, smell, or cloudy appearance. A water filtration system reduces these contaminants to provide you with clean, great-tasting drinking water. Chlorine, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals also contribute to bad-smelling water. Have you ever been to an old farmhouse in the country where all the water coming out of the taps smelled like pennies? Metals like zinc, iron, and copper can leach into groundwater and lead to rust stains in the bathroom and metallic-smelling water coming out of the taps. Chlorine or Chloramine – which are added to most municipally supplied water to prevent microbiological contamination – both have strong chemical odors that can make the water unpleasant to consume. Not all contaminants give off a bad smell. But some, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include formaldehyde and ethylene, can give your water a distinctively unpleasant odor. VOCs have been implicated in effects ranging from skin irritation to liver and kidney damage to carcinogenic effects, so if your water smells off, you will Read More

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER FILTRATION

0 Water is such an essential part of our daily lives that many times we don’t stop to consider where it’s being sourced or the quality of it. We assume we’re receiving the best possible output. For many, tap water is deemed undrinkable, which is where filtered water comes into play. The importance of water filtration is that it gives people access to clean water that is free of contaminants, that tastes good, and is a reliable source of hydration. Without it, there’s the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water or the alternative of drinking other beverages that may not be as good for your health as purified water. There are different types of filtered water but all offer the basics of the water purification process. This involves water that has been strained of harmful chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate the water. Although public water systems have filtration protocols in place, these vary from state to state. It depends on where your water supply is sourced from originally, the way it is treated, and the quality of water pipes. For example, older water filtration systems that use lead pipes may be harmful to the final dispersal of water because of lead leaching from the pipes into the water. The main importance of water filtration is to prevent water-related illnesses and diseases. Infants, elderly adults, and people with poor immune systems are more highly susceptible to experiencing adverse effects due to contaminated water from the tap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the top causes of outbreaks in public water systems include:  Copper Salmonella Hepatitis A E. coli Norovirus Any of these contaminants and heavy metals can lead to health problems such as kidney and respiratory issues, reproductive challenges, and cancer. A polluted water supply can also be harmful to your skin and hair. Lastly, depending on the quality of water, certain values may be outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended pH level. When this occurs, it leads to a chance of an increased measure of corrosivity that dissolves metal it comes into contact with and eventually becomes part of the water. Suffice it to say, the chance of drinking water that hasn’t been filtered of heavy metals and impurities isn’t a chance that many people want to take.  FILTERED WATER SOLUTIONS THAT REMOVE CONTAMINATION AND IMPURITIES Fortunately, there are several ways people can get filtered water. A water filter has microscopic holes that remove sediment and pollutants Read More

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER FILTRATION

Water is such an essential part of our daily lives that many times we don’t stop to consider where it’s being sourced or the quality of it. We assume we’re receiving the best possible output. For many, tap water is deemed undrinkable, which is where filtered water comes into play. The importance of water filtration is that it gives people access to clean water that is free of contaminants, that tastes good, and is a reliable source of hydration. Without it, there’s the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water or the alternative of drinking other beverages that may not be as good for your health as purified water. There are different types of filtered water but all offer the basics of the water purification process. This involves water that has been strained of harmful chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate the water. Although public water systems have filtration protocols in place, these vary from state to state. It depends on where your water supply is sourced from originally, the way it is treated, and the quality of water pipes. For example, older water filtration systems that use lead pipes may be harmful to the final dispersal of water because of lead leaching from the pipes into the water. The main importance of water filtration is to prevent water-related illnesses and diseases. Infants, elderly adults, and people with poor immune systems are more highly susceptible to experiencing adverse effects due to contaminated water from the tap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the top causes of outbreaks in public water systems include:  Copper Salmonella Hepatitis A E. coli Norovirus Any of these contaminants and heavy metals can lead to health problems such as kidney and respiratory issues, reproductive challenges, and cancer. A polluted water supply can also be harmful to your skin and hair. Lastly, depending on the quality of water, certain values may be outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended pH level. When this occurs, it leads to a chance of an increased measure of corrosivity that dissolves metal it comes into contact with and eventually becomes part of the water. Suffice it to say, the chance of drinking water that hasn’t been filtered of heavy metals and impurities isn’t a chance that many people want to take.  FILTERED WATER SOLUTIONS THAT REMOVE CONTAMINATION AND IMPURITIES Fortunately, there are several ways people can get filtered water. A water filter has microscopic holes that remove sediment and pollutants from Read More

Changing the way we think about water and design

At the recent Living Future Conference and the Colorado State University Water Symposium, I was struck by the global challenge we face in how we use, conserve, and think about water. In fact, these conferences presented big ideas related to water resourcing and inspired me to brainstorm ways we can gain momentum through meaningful, long-term change in how we manage water.  But before we get to that, consider the challenges we face in our quest to conserve and renew water resources, while ensuring equal access to clean water for all peoples across the globe. THE WATER GAP CHALLENGES We have several gaps between the need and desire to have abundant, accessible, clean water and the reality of dealing with on-going and increasing water shortage crises. These gaps occur in our awareness of the problem; in the cultural impact; the diverse quality of water; economic factors that deliver water; population density factors; regulatory impact; and the scale at which we address solutions. Each of these gaps deserves on-going, deep-dive conversations that this brief article cannot provide. But I will say that these conversations cannot be siloed into stand-alone challenges.  We must bring about holistic change through diverse forums of discovery that bridge multiple industries, policy-making authorities, and thought leaders. An example of this water gap reality hits home in the challenges that both Detroit and Flint, Michigan have faced. Both of these cities are situated at the edge of the most water-rich resource on the face of the planet – the Great Lakes comprise 21 percent of surface fresh water on the planet.  And yet, the huge number of citizens who had their water disconnected in Detroit due to an economic gap led to one of the highest rates of Hepatitis B virus in the country.  Similarly, in Flint, the quality gap in their water system made access to water a moot point. RETHINKING WATER IN FOUR DIMENSIONS Because we’ve come from a perspective of “sustainability” being measured by the amount of energy saved, we seem to have automatically slipped into the same metric for water.  Yes, it is a good thing to eliminate water waste, and to know and communicate how much water our designs are saving, but what if we looked at water from four dimensions of economics, risk, quality and the water-energy nexus. 1. Economics:  In this dimension we consider the cost of water delivered to our homes, the cost of sewer water (which is more Read More

Who We Are and What We Do

Water Systems Engineering, Inc. is an independent consulting firm offering specialized diagnostic laboratory services and interdisciplinary consulting staff. Since 1976, WSE has provided innovative and cost-effective solutions in water resource management including potable, industrial, and environmental water systems. Combining specialized laboratory methods with an experienced consulting team, WSE provides its clients careful consideration and understanding of their water problems. With this approach, WSE provides reliable and innovative solutions for biofouling, declining well yield, reduced pipeline efficiency, aggressive corrosion, and other problems related to wells, water treatment systems, and industrial heating and cooling applications. WSE’s effective and reliable technical solutions have aided municipalities and corporations alike in improving water quality, management, and system efficiency. Our expertise in well-fouling and maintenance is recognized and sought after across the United States and worldwide. As recognized professionals in the water industry, our staff works with various state and national associations in the continuing education of professionals in the water industry. Although qualified to speak on a number of related topics, we are often called upon to provide our unique insight into the fouling and remediation of potable water wells. As part of our commitment to our customers and the industry, WSE’s staff has written numerous articles concerning phenomena we’ve encountered, treatment issues, and maintenance practices and recommendations. Several recent articles are accessible through our website below, and you can contact our office for a more detailed listing and pdf copies. Services Overview Research Research into the problems impacting groundwater systems, potable water treatment, and industrial water handling continues daily at WSE. Our consulting staff actively participates in local, state, and national forums for the industry, developing new standards, innovative approaches, and testing new theories to identify problems early and develop operational procedures and system designs to reduce maintenance costs, downtime, and failure. An Investigative Lab Our in-house laboratory utilizes standard methods for the investigation of water while employing new technology for the identification and assessment of biological conditions. Whether it is identifying sediments present downhole, scale build-up on heat exchangers, or bacteria impacting water quality, WSE’s lab can provide unique insight into these fouling mechanisms. A Specialized Approach We are a unique consulting firm and investigative laboratory which specializes in ground water and surface water applications, industrial heating, cooling and water handling systems, and corrosion analysis and control. Our areas of expertise include profiling water from a biological and chemical standpoint, interpreting and evaluating Read More

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