Comparison With Water Treatment Technologies

Method Description Advantages Disadvantages
Boiling
   
Water is boiled for 20 minutes to kill potentially hazardous waterborne microorganisms. Reduces bacteria, viruses and cysts - if water is boiled for a minimum of 20 minutes. Does not reduce particulates, or many inorganic or organic compounds. Will not improve water taste, colour or odour. Is very inconvenient and time-consuming.
Bottled Water
         
Water is purchased in a variety of sizes. Can be produced from spring water, mineral water, tap water, distilled water. Perceived to be higher quality in terms of taste, odour, clarity, microbiological and chemical contamination. Uncertain quality. Most bottled waters are treated to improve taste and appearance only - and may still contain bacteria, organic and inorganic compounds. Expensive and inconvenient.
Ceramic Filters
         
Water is forced through ceramic media; the small pores in the media prevent large particles from passing through. Reduces particulates. Ceramic filter is reusable after cleaning. Reduces bacteria over short term. Requires periodic cleaning and disinfection. Does not reduce organics, and/ or inorganics contaminants or viruses.
Pitcher-Type/Pour-Through Filters
          
Granulated activated carbon and/ or resin reduces contaminants as water passes through filter. Improves taste and clarity. Resin may reduce hardness if present. Most have limited performance claims for organic/inorganic contaminants; jug filters treat limited water volumes; filter life is limited - usually one month or less - and is therefore expensive to maintain. (link to glossary)
Mineral Pots
         
Pour through units that uses gravity to trickle water over coral, sand, or similar stone to add minerals to the water. No installation needed. Adds calcium and magnesium to the water. Does not effectively reduce bacteria and viruses, organic or inorganic contaminants. Adding additional technologies is not very effective due to low efficiency of the pour through design.
Hollow Fiber
   
Porous membrane screens out small particulates and bacteria. Reduces particulates well. Reduces bacteria over short term. Not effective at reduction of organic, inorganic, or viruses. Must have chlorine present to be effective; therefore, low efficiency when used with carbon. Over time, carbon prefilter may interfere with fiber performance.
Alkaline Ion Water
        
Alkaline water is produced by electrolytic water generator. Is reported to produce water with high pH in small molecular water clusters which is supposed to penetrate into your blood cells more easily. No controlled clinical studies to prove effectiveness of alkaline water with humans. Cannot effectively reduce chlorine, organic, or inorganic contaminants from drinking water. Produces both alkaline and acidic water streams.
Distillation
        
Water is heated. Water turns to steam, some contaminants left behind, cools back to water in a separate container. Reduces chlorine and THMs. Reduces inorganic compounds. Reduces bacteria and viruses. Removes minerals. Generates heat. Slow, often noisy. Potential of higher concentration of organics with low boiling point, such as chloroform.
Reverse Osmosis
  
Water pressure pushes water through a thin membrane. Contaminants are rejected by the membrane. Reduces inorganic compounds. Can be designed to reduce organic compounds. Reduces minerals. Slow. Can be wasteful of water. Does not remove bacteria or viruses (disinfection). Over time, membrane can become fouled and performance decline.
Silver Treatment
  
Silver is mixed with carbon to maintain the advantages of carbon filtration and attempt to control bacteria with silver. Marginally effective against certain pathogenic bacteria. With allowable levels of silver, it does not effectively kill or control growth of nonpathogenic (non-harmful) bacteria. Adds silver to water. Not effective against viruses.
Granular Activated Carbon
        
Loosely packed carbon absorbs contaminants from water as water passes over granules. Reduces chlorine. Reduces organic compounds. Leaves minerals. May "channel" reducing effectiveness. Does not reduce inorganic compounds, bacteria or viruses. Reduced filter life
Pressed Carbon Block
        
Water pressure forces water through a solid block of activated carbon. Contaminants are reduced through physical screening absorption, or hydrogen bonding as water passes through the block. Reduces chlorine, THMs and most organic compounds. Leaves minerals. Efficient no "channeling." Offers depth filtration of particulates as small as 0.2 microns. Not effective for reduction of most inorganic compounds, bacteria, or viruses.
Ultraviolet Light
  
Water is guided past intense UV rays. Destroys bacteria and viruses. Not effective against carbon based organics or inorganics.
Water Softening (Cation Exchange)
        
Water is passed through bed with resin. Cations are absorbed while counter ion is released (usually sodium). Effectively reduces hardness (calcium and magnesium). Adds sodium to water. Requires regeneration with brine solution.



 
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