In the comparison between the various types of drinking water, micro filtered waters have always divided public opinion into two opposite fronts: on the one hand, those who consider them water of high quality, safe, good to drink, and a valid, comfortable, and ecological alternative to bottled waters; on the other hand those who think that tap water, already safe and good, should not be further treated with filters that could even worsen its characteristics.
There is conflicting news on the web, which does not help consumers develop documented critical thinking. But how are things really?
POU (point of use) water dispensers
Point-of-use (POU) water dispensers offer a number of health, environmental, and wallet benefits, with simple but regular maintenance.
We, therefore, try to analyse, beyond personal beliefs and tastes, the fundamental reasons why the consumption of micro-filtered water is recommended, in the home, in the workplace, in bars and restaurants.
The last mile and changes in water quality
The section of the water network from the meter to the tap has a series of critical points that can contribute to the alteration of water quality.
Such as the tanks and tanks for the storage of drinking water, which should be inspected/cleaned at least annually, but which in reality are often “forgotten” on the roofs of buildings. If not properly maintained, the tanks can favour the formation of sediments that act as nourishment for the bacterial load, the alteration of taste, and the microbial proliferation due to exposure to high temperatures or for inadequate coverage.
But it is the obsolete pipes that can present the greatest problems; infiltrations in pipes, the release of heavy metals, incorrect maintenance, can alter the taste and colour of the water as well as undermine its healthiness. Also the accumulation of limestone deposits, due to the poor cleaning of the dispensing points, can favour microbial proliferation.
Furthermore, we remind you that in the internal section of the water network, the responsibility for the quality of the waterfalls on the owner or manager of the property (condominium administrator, headteacher for a school, health manager for a hospital, etc. technique towards problems related to water management is often very limited. A POU filtration can eliminate, or at least reduce, the effects of the criticalities present between the meter and the tap.
The organoleptic characteristics of water
Water disinfection is a necessary practice to guarantee the microbiological safety of the water supply, which is not, however, free from some contraindications. The first and most evident is the alteration of the organoleptic characteristics; the characteristic taste of chlorine that the consumer often perceives is annoying and is associated with poor water quality. The other is the formation of the so-called disinfection by-products or those undesirable substances that originate from the reaction of the disinfectant with organic matter, or other elements present in the water.
A POU filtration, in particular with activated carbon, in addition to improving the organoleptic characteristics, removes chlorine and its by-products making the water more pleasant and safe.
Unwanted substances in water intended for human consumption
In the water intended for human consumption, substances with exceptions to the concentration limits can be found, i.e. elements of natural origin (e.g. arsenic, boron, vanadium, fluorine, etc.), or anthropic (e.g. THMs, tri, and trichloroethylene, etc. ), whose presence, accepted for a transitional period, must not present any potential danger to human health.
Undesirable substances not provided for by Legislative Decree 31/2001 may also be detected. Also in these cases, the provision of a POU treatment system for preventive and/or corrective purposes can be very effective in improving the quality of the water supplied, a choice that should be promoted with adequate information to operators in the sector and citizens.
The table below provides a list of some of the undesirable substances that, ideally, should be absent in water intended for human consumption and the effective technologies and techniques for their removal.
The alternative to bottled water
As far as packaged mineral waters are concerned, the environmental problems related to greenhouse gas emissions due to transport and pollution of plastic containers when not properly disposed of having been well known for some time. The development of environmental awareness on the part of citizens and institutions has led in recent years to the spread of numerous “plastic-free” initiatives, in favour of micro-filtered water dispensers and reusable water bottles.
In addition to environmental problems, the consumption of bottled water requires the private citizen (and even more so the restaurateur) to transport heavy burdens and arrange them in cool and dry places, away from direct sunlight, which has detrimental to water conservation. Unfortunately, however, this does not always happen. Due to the limited space, some retailers are forced to store, albeit temporarily, pallets of mineral water in the sun, a procedure which is prohibited by the Pronunciation n. 39037 of 2018 with which the Supreme Court establishes that the operator who holds the water packages in the sun, regardless of the exposure time, must be sanctioned with a fine of Euro 1,500.
On the contrary, the micro filtered water is KM ZERO, not stored because it is always supplied fresh and ready for use, with organoleptic characteristics comparable to those of the best bottled water. In a nutshell, the treated water makes it possible to overcome the criticalities of mains and packaged water, while maintaining all its strengths.
However, let’s not forget that a water dispenser is a device that works thanks to the action of filter media subject to wear, consumables, and which as such need to be periodically replaced, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The maintenance and sanitation of a water dispenser, whatever it is, is the only aspect that must not be overlooked in order to maintain the proper functioning of the system, to guarantee the quality of the water supplied. It is therefore important to rely on serious companies that can take care of the maintenance of the system over time.
Micro filtered water does not hurt
Microfiltered water, therefore, does not hurt and does not pose any danger to human health, on the contrary, thanks to its high-quality characteristics, economy, practicality, and lack of environmental impact, its usual consumption as drinking water is absolutely recommended to all.
Sunil Trivedi is the Managing Director of Aqua Drink. With 15 years of experience in the water purification industry, Sunil and his team have been ensuring that his clients consume 100% potable water to lead a healthy life and keeping water-borne diseases miles away.