Drinking water in the U.S.
Clean water is not a given even in the United States
Our public water supply cannot always guarantee 100% water quality. Key facts about the current quality of the tap water in the U.S.
- 19.5 Million People in the U.S. get sick due to pathogens coming from drinking water.
- 150,000 Different active cells are found in one small sip. This can lead to a massive germ load in buildings.
- 8.6 Billion Gallons of bottled water are consumed annually by Americans.
- 22% Bottled water brands tested contain chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.
Health hazards in drinking water
Many hazards can emerge from the tap water we come into contact with throughout our daily activities. Considering the large amount of water that we consume during our lifetime, even the smallest amounts of some substances can have a significant effect on our bodies.
Pathogens: bacteria, viruses, parasites
Public water supplies regularly exceed limits for pathogenic substances in drinking water. Fecal germs, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa: How do pathogens like these get into my water and what are the consequences?
Legionella is a tiny bacterium that occurs naturally in soil and surface water and passes into our water pipes through the cold water. Once heated in our home, Legionella multiply freely and cause severe cases of pneumonia when inhaled, for example, while showering.
Approx. 30,000 tons of pharmaceuticals are dispensed each year. 95% of that volume is excreted in the patient’s urine and cannot be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants. So far, only a very minimal amount of pharmaceuticals has been detected in the groundwater, but they can help foster the development of antibiotic resistance among bacteria which is an even greater risk.
Hormones & estrogens
Endocrine disruptors interfere with our hormone systems and environmental sources of these endocrine disruptors can endanger both human and animal health, especially with regard to fertility.
Plasticizers are found in bottled water, as well as river and groundwater. So far, little sound scientific data has been collected. In animal experiments, they were shown to affect the liver, kidney, and testicles and also to cause reductions in body weight.
Pesticides are present in almost 30% of all water supplies in Germany, according to the Federal Environmental Office. The results show that pesticides such as atrazine which have long been banned are still found in groundwater.
Too much lime in the water changes its taste and makes tile, sink, and glass surfaces unsightly.
Average water consumption
Every person consumes approximately 32 gallons of water each day
- 1 to 2 gallons/day: drinking and cooking
- 12 gallons/day: one daily shower
- 18 gallons/day: laundry, toilet flushing, dishwashing, etc.
If we take the average life expectancy of about 80 years, this means that the average person uses up to 40,000 gallons of water in the course of their lifetime.
Drinking water quality and public water utilities
Public water suppliers must ensure the quality of drinking water for all consumers. So why does our drinking water still contain harmful substances?
Water pollution is steadily increasing
Environmental laws are not strict enough
The pollution of our drinking water caused by environmental factors is increasing steadily. At the same time, we are learning more every day about how germs and other toxins in the water can cause critical illnesses and even changes in the human organism. Our environmental laws are not strict enough and our water treatment plants are adequately equipped.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribes extremely stringent limits for potential pathogens in drinking water. Yet public water companies continue to deliver water that is temporarily contaminated to consumers due to the aging or lack of appropriate treatment facilities.
Studies show that in Germany in up to 50% of our smaller drinking water supplies regularly exceed the limits for fecal bacteria.
What substances do our policymakers monitor?
- heavy metals
Bacteria and other germs nevertheless still proliferate in the water as it makes it way from the treatment plant to the pipes in your home.
Which substances are not monitored?
- substances with hormone-like effects
- drug residues
Germs multiply in the water as it makes its way into your building
Most of the time, the readings taken at the water treatment plants are still within the permitted limits. But the germs can and do proliferate as they make their way to the pipes in your home. A biofilm consisting of bacteria and other microorganisms builds up in the pipes. The organisms create a lot slime to protect themselves and to enrich their supply of nutrients. This slime provides protection to other germs and legionella against any chemical disinfectants that are used and supplies them with enough nutrients for their numbers to multiple explosively.
This leads to a massive germ load in buildings. Therefore protecting against bacteria and germs is extremely important for your health and that of your family.
What can I do for clean and healthy water?
With Suntuity Filtration you’re having clean drinking water out of every faucet in your home – at any time.
Possibilities to clean your own drinking water
You have to look after your drinking water quality by yourself – bacteria, germs and legionella multiply in the water as they make their way into your building. So these are the most common methods.
Ultrafiltration is a purely physical filtration with defined pores approx. 20 nanometers (nm) in size. They not only remove turbidity (the cloudiness you sometimes see in tap water), but also potential pathogens. Ultrafiltration as used in corresponding treatment systems can be a reliable, cost-effective, and safe substitute for the natural filtration process for removing turbidity and germs.
Reverse osmosis is a widely used technology for water purification. It was originally developed in California to desalinate seawater. It is absolutely useful in technical applications under controlled conditions, but its domestic use raises some questions. Is the technique of reverse osmosis really the right technique for me?
Chlorine and UV treatment
In addition to thermal disinfection and chemical disinfection with chlorine, ozone, or hydrogen peroxide, Germany makes particular use of UV irradiation to deactivate pathogens in its water supply. This is mostly ineffective, however, since the pathogens and germs are easily accessible for effective chlorine disinfection or UV radiation and are not protected by turbidity or other organic matter in the water.