Filtering Solutions for Untreated Water

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For people living in rural areas and who get their drinking and cooking water from wells, streams, lakes, etc., eliminating pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses as well as other harmful organic and chemical impurities from the water is essential. People living in cities enjoy the luxury of municipal water treatment, but none of that exists in rural areas where people must use water purification systems to sanitize their water.

Two types of water purification systems are very popular: Those that are countertop and gravity based, and those that are installed under the sink and are water pressure based. The countertop solution is the preferred solution of many, because it comes with certain advantages when compared with the under-the-sink solution:

  • Because they are gravity driven, they do not need electricity or water pressure, and therefore they are ideal for emergency situations when no electricity is available.
  • As opposed to under-the-sink systems that require special installations, the countertop systems are self contained and need no special hookups.
  • One can find countertop water purification systems that come in all kinds of sizes and therefore respond to all needs.
  • They can be placed anywhere in the kitchen and they don’t need to be placed by the sink or attached to the faucet, tying up useful space.

The best countertop water purification systems are made by Berkey, Zen Water and Katadyn. Berkey is definitely the most popular because it offers a number of features not found in Zen Water and Katadyn systems. The most important is that is that it kills bacteria as well as viruses while Zen Water and Katadyn systems kill just bacteria. In addition, the Berkey systems can be optionally equipped with fluoride filters, a feature unique to Berkey. Finally, most Berkey systems are made of stainless steel, again a unique feature as most other systems are made of plastic.

In terms of initial cost Berkey is the most expensive, and many have chosen the Zen Water system because it is much cheaper. However, one needs to keep in mind that each Berkey filter can filter up to 3000 gallons of water, and that the two filters provided when you purchase a Berkey system can filter up to 6000 gallons! At an average of 10 gallons a week of water consumption, this comes to more than eleven years of clean water without having to buy replacement filters, and it represents a cost of less than 2 cents per gallon. So, in spite of the higher initial price, the Berkey represents a good deal for the long term. Also one need not forget that only the Berkey countertop systems kill viruses and filter fluoride.

So in conclusion, if you need to purify untreated water, all three water purification systems can be effectively used as long as there is no need for fluoride filtering and the water is free of viruses. But if you need a water purification system that can effectively treat ALL types of water, that can also eliminate viruses as well as fluoride, and that will provide the biggest $ savings over time, then you should definitely consider the Berkey.

The author lives in Montreal. He worked for many years as a professional engineer for a major telecommunication company. He has written and published on various platforms many articles on technology and gadgets, healthy living and gourmet cooking.