Water is the second most important element after oxygen, and it accounts for 80% of our body. For your mind and body to function properly, it is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of drinking water a day. But like most things in life, not all drinking water is created equal. So, if you’ve ever wondered if you should be drinking tap water, filtered water or bottled water, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a splash and see what the best way is to get clean, quality water in your system.
Is Tap Water Safe to Drink?
Although controlled and regulated, many of us, whether you are from a tropical or a temperate country, have questioned the quality of tap water; water we all used to drink every day before water filters and bottled waters became mainstream.
Tap water is processed before reaching your kitchen and should be contaminant free. Water municipal treatments only make it safe to drink but don’t necessarily remove all of the chemicals, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals. In fact, some products that are added to water during these treatments, such as chlorine, even react with the organic particles found in water to create new families of potentially harmful chemicals.
It has also been proven that, sometimes, tap water can become contaminated by pesticides and E. coli bacteria. For these reasons combined, filtered water is becoming an increasingly popular alternative.
Is Filtered Water Necessary?
Filtered water is defined as water from a public network, a well or a rainwater collector that has been passed through a sieve in order to suppress undesirable elements that may be harmful. In other words, filtered water is water that has undergone a process of purification.
Importance of Drinking Filtered Water
As mentioned earlier, tap water, although considered safe, has some downsides and possibly flaws. It often has an obvious smell and taste of chlorine, and that’s not to mention the unsanitary infrastructure used to transport the water from point A to point B.
Water filtration is highly recommended to get rid of impurities from water wells and rain collectors. Proper purification can also clear out microorganisms (bacteria, microscopic worms, etc.) that could be harmful.
Thus, drinking filtered water is the best way to ensure high-quality, clean hydration.
What are the Different Types of Water Filtration?
There are many different water filtration systems. We will mainly talk about the different types of filtration depending on the size of the filter mesh.
Conventional Water Filtration
First, there is the conventional filtration. This is a system that retains all particles that have a size which is more than 1mm. This type of filter is used to get rid of the turbidity of the water.
Then, there is microfiltration. The mesh size of the filters is between 10 – 0.1μm. In general, this type of filter is a membrane that requires pressurization of the liquid, which helps retain bacteria and viruses.
Ultrafiltration uses a membrane whose meshes do not exceed 0.1μm up to 0.001μm. It is used to retain viruses as well as organic substances and large molecules.
Nanofiltration blocks all molecules that are larger than H2O molecules ranging from 0.1 nanometer to 0.001 μm. This stage of filtration helps to get rid of heavy metals, dyes or limestones.
And lastly, there is hyperfiltration, which is also called reverse osmosis. This is the process where several filters are used at the same time to utilize the polarization of the water at the filter membranes. The result is a “ultrapure” water that can’t be beat on the molecular level but has the flaws of its advantages with virtually nothing left in it to sustain life and nourish the body with all the minerals and traces elements gone. In consequence this water can be pretty agressive on the body and should not be consumed on the long run.
The Most Used Domestic Filtration Technology for Drinking Water
The gravity multi-layer filter system is the most used filtration system since it mimics water’s natural filtration system.
Mutli layer filters are made of several, at least 04, filtration layers which are placed according to their porosity : the layer with greater porosity are placed on the top of the filtration system and those with lower porosity are on its base.
The water you want to filter is usually placed in the upper container, passes through all the filter layers, following the gravity, and pours itself in the lower container where it is purified and ready to be served.
Multi layer filtration system generally work in the following ways:
- a 0.1µm filter stops Giardia and large sewage particles that removes the water’s cloudiness
- the water then passes through a layer made of activated carbon which absorbs up to 99% of microorganisms, Volatiles Organic Composite (VOC), polyaromatic hydrocarbons, Phenol (chlorine), halogen and heavy metals. This layer is efficient when it comes to smell and taste removing.
- After the activated carbon layer comes an oxydation-reduction layer, which is usually made of copper alloy and ultra pure zinc, which neutralizes heavy metals
- The remaining steps of multilayer filtration of water are to enhance filtered water’s quality. It can undergo mineralization or/and a process that reduces water’s molecule size in order to soften and revitalize it.
Regularly, you will be asked to change your water filtration system since it can be clogged due to particles that are stuck in your filter’s mesh and which reduce the filtered water’s flow rate. Just think, without a filter purifying your drinking water, all of the gunk on the filter is what ends up in your body.
Is Bottled Water Safe Drinking Water?
Bottled water is defined as a water that has undergone different processes before being put in bottles and intended for human consumption. There are several types of bottled water that are classified according to their characteristics.
There is :
- Water table, the source doesn’t matter but is checked to see if it complies with the sanitary standards imposed
- Spring water is bottled without undergoing any chemical treatment
- Natural mineral water, often acclaimed for its therapeutic virtues and associated with spas. It should be noted, however, that the mineral rate in mineral waters does not have to be necessarily high.
Why Bottled Water is So Popular
Bottled water has several qualities that explain its success. Often times, bottled water is made with unbreakable materials, is often recommended for babies, offers purity, calcium intake, magnesium, well-being and so on. Since the first marketing of bottled water, its use has never stopped increasing. There’s no denying that bottled water is easy to use, available everywhere and safe to drink because it undergoes strict health control.
But we must not forget that if bottled water has been so popular for more than a century, it is mainly thanks to brands’ advertisements. Bottled water’s marketing costs are up to several million dollars, with each advertisement always highlighting the convenience and quality of clean drinking water. No wonder we have an image of health, well-being and harmony with nature when we talk about bottled water.
A Real Controversy with Bottled Water
The advertisements for bottled water never go into the downside of using such products. They often ignore the major issues that people have surrounding the effects water bottles have on the environment, and the health and social concerns that follow in suit.
n countries where it bottled water is highly consumed, bottled water is accused of being responsible for water scarcity. This makes sense considering several million litres of water are bottled every day, which largely impacts the water supply.
And since bottled water is often put into plastic bottles, the products have become the target of environmental associations. These bottles take 1000 years to be completely breakdown, created a serious problem in landfills and oceans. The United Nations has even urged people to stop using single-use plastic water bottles in an effort to fight against plastic waste.
The production of bottled water is also accused of contributing to climate change. Since bottled water is produced in factories, the bottling process requires a huge consumption of fossil energy and a high emission of greenhouse gases for both production and for transport.
Lack of Purity
And finally, bottled water, despite its image of purity, is not so safe as that. According to recent research, several brands of water have been tested and microparticles have been found in the bottled water which aren’t necessarily safe for consumption.
What’s The Best Type of Drinking Water?
The choice is not really hard to make since tap water seems to be the most affordable of all. You only have to pay the monthly bill of your supplier but unfortunately, its quality is questionable.
Bottled water is the least ecological solution especially if you buy it in plastic bottles. It is expensive and is not guaranteed to be free of contaminants.
Filtered water is the most ecological and the most economical. You buy your filtration device, a water filtration fountain or a water filtrating bottle or a filter directly connected to your tap, and you have a safe and pure water. You just need to replace the filters regularly.