Recently, we have moved into a new house. Since this move, we have had many visits from door-to-door salesmen. One of these salesmen was from a Water treatment company. His little presentation was kind of startling and the water tests were amazing.
He had us convinced that our water is down-right awful! Then he gave us the price and wanted us to make the decision right away! $3,500 is a lot of money! Is having a water treatment system necessary? If so, what company is a reliable one?
I have a family and we drink a lot of water. Am I really contaminating them, or is this a sales pitch? Can some one help me in understanding this?
Laura S. in St. Cloud, Florida
Be wary of any door to door water treatment salesmen. I used to work for a state agency that dealt with contaminated private and public wells. You should contact your local health department and state agency that deals with private wells (or public water supply, if you receive a water bill) and request info on ground water contamination in your area. If you do receive a water bill, you can also contact that company and they should be able to provide you with their latest water test results, as well as tell you how often and for what contaminants they test for.
You can also ask for copies of the state and federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) that are regulated by those agencies, from your local or state agency. Compare these with what the salesman is claiming is in your water. What type of Point-of-Entry of Point-of-Use treatment system you might need depends on what MCL is exceeded. Hope this helps and is not too confusing!
You don't have to purchase a filter, or any fancy systems. I've studied the water conditions of all of the cities in the U.S., and the fact is that if you simply boil your tap water before you drink it, you will eliminate 98% of the bacteria that can contaminate water. This is especially important to those who are pregnant, or have immune deficinancy problems.
Jennifer in Philadelphia
I have been in the plumbing industry for 15 years. One of the best filters I have seen is a whole house filter that is put out by Omni or Ametek. This filter is available at most plumbing supply and home centers. It retails for under $30, and if it is installed where your water supply enters your house, it will filter the entire house. This will save your appliances also. Change the filters about four times a year.
Yes, the water treatment company presentation is just a sales pitch. I work for a large public water utility and we are constantly dealing with these unethical sales tactics.
What the salesman is doing is demonstrating the "hardness" of your water. Hardness is just the amount of minerals in your water, mainly calcium and magnesium (both good minerals for the body). Hardness has no adverse health effects associated with it. In fact, health studies have shown that drinking hard water helps reduce heart disease.
The salesman will then show a long, long list of contaminants that could be found in your drinking water. It usually lists everything ever detected in water. There are no in-home test that can measure real contaminants of concern such as bacteria, Cryptosporidium, nitrates, or THMs.
It is true that very hard water can leave annoying white mineral deposits in your sinks, tubs, pots and pans. And, if you are accustomed to "softer" waters, it may not taste very good. Chilling the water in a closed container in your refrigerator will definitely improve the taste. However, your should be aware that softened water is much more corrosive to your plumbing and fixtures and can actually dissolve your pipes and leach harmful minerals such as lead.
Since you are new to the neighborhood, the salesman assumes you don't know anything about where your water comes from or how it is treated to make it safe. If you still have lingering doubts, call you local water supplier. The new Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 requires all public water suppliers, starting in 1999 to provide an annual Consumer Confidence Report, which contains information about all contaminants found in your drinking water and what the utility is doing to remove the contaminants. Even before this new requirement, most water companies will supply a complete water quality report free of charge to their customers, simply by asking. Be a wise consumer and get all the facts before spending those hard earned dollars.
If one is really concerned, he/she can purchase the Britta (pitcher-style) filters for drinking purposes to improve taste and appearance. I could also recommend bottled water. However, it should be use right away or stored it in a cool, dark place. Otherwise algae and bacteria will grow! Bottled water has the advantage of not having to travel through miles of water mains or your home plumbing, so it does not contain much THMs (trihalomethanes- a by-product of disinfection with chlorine) or lead.
I have seen people spend thousands of dollars for whole house water treatment systems they didn't need.
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