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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Though humanity remained ignorant of the exact source of bacterial and parasitic infections for most of its history, the desire to filter drinking water is nothing new. These early attempts at filtering water were vastly less sophisticated and less successful than the methods used today, considering how undeveloped science and technology were at the time. Nevertheless, they are still interesting, showing how the quest for clean, fresh water is as old as civilization.

Filtration in Ancient Egypt
  
Some of the earliest depictions of water filters are, predictably, from ancient Egypt. As a civilization that lasted several thousand years and was based around life-giving water in a desert, gained from the tropical and highly polluted waters of the Nile, it is only natural that the land of the Pharaohs should have made use of filtration. Tomb paintings show stacked wooden shelves of jars connected by some sort of slim tubing.
  
Other paintings show similar devices being used along with siphons being used by two shaven-headed Egyptians to draw water through the jars and into a large basin. Though the details are not specified in the depiction, it seems likely that the jars are filled with sand or some other early filtration medium to remove debris and contaminants for purer drinking water.

Other Early Attempts
  
Hippocrates, the famous Greek doctor who lived in, probably, the 5th century B.C., recommended boiling water and then filtering it through fine cloth to remove particulate matter and the foul tastes and smells it causes. Though cloth had undoubtedly been used for filtration before, Hippocrates owns the distinction of being the first recorded person in history to deliberately use a particulate matter filtration medium to improve the aesthetic qualities of drinking water!
  
Sand water filters came into use during the European Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, and their use gradually spread over the following centuries. Military filtration was often at the cutting edge of filter technology due to large numbers of men being concentrated in a tiny area when an army was encamped.

Modern Water Filtration Begins
  
Municipal water treatment – using large, sophisticated versions of the earlier sand water filters – began around 1800 in Scotland, and shortly thereafter in England. Successively more sophisticated ceramic water filters were also invented during the 19th century, often encouraged by research money from the British Crown, which was seeking to protect both its densely packed citizenry and the far-flung armies that defended its empire.
  
It is a fascinating and slightly depressing byline to the history of water filtration that it was not believed by most people that water could be made fully safe by filtration until the mid-19th century. Since it was thought that microbes would spontaneously generate in any water, it was deemed useless to attempt purification. The history of water filtration might have been very different if this idea had not become so entrenched in the human mind for millenniums, yet it did, and it is only in the 20th century that complete and sophisticated water filtration systems came into their own.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Outdoor water sources are often viewed as being much more pure than water that comes from a tap or other source in a heavily populated area, unless the outdoor water involved happens to be a mud puddle or something equally unappetizing. While it's true that water free from the sewage effluent of major cities is generally safer, people need to be judicious in deciding whether or not to drink it unfiltered, since not all sources of “wild” water are particularly safe.

Animal and Swamp Contamination

There is a good reason why the parasitic infection giardiasis is known as “beaver fever” – beaver and muskrats carry this protozoan naturally and can infest the water with it downstream from their lodges. Many rivers drain out of swamps, also, where high concentrations of animals and stagnant pools create not only a rich, diverse ecosystem but also a possible source of microbial contamination.

Unseen Human Sources of Pollution
   
Just because an area happens to be rural or wild does not mean that the water has had no contact with humanity before it reaches your lips. The drainage basins of even small rivers are typically far-flung. Checking a map to see if metropolitan or agricultural regions lie upriver is a quick and effective way to determine if sewage or pesticides may lurk in seemingly pristine water.
   
The absence of a city or area of farmland upriver does not necessarily imply that no human feces are present in it, either. Campgrounds can result in water pollution even in national parks and other remote areas. Again, look at an area map to determine if there are any spots where people frequently gather and their waste products might find their way into the watercourse.

Mineral Risks
   
Even water that is far from human habitation and does not lie downstream from distant cities, factories, or farmland can be risky to drink in some cases due to natural mineral leaching from the underlying geology of the area. Alkaline water is common in the American Southwest, for example, while arsenic can also occur in natural springs and watercourses.
   
It is therefore best to do your research carefully before deciding to quaff unfiltered water from any source, other than to stave off dehydration in an emergency. If you do your homework on the area you live in or are visiting, then you will know clearly whether or not filtering is necessary. As a final rule to follow, when in doubt, filter; it is better to be certain that you have good, clean water available than to risk vomiting, diarrhea, and a generally unpleasant time.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
One of the most urgent needs for high quality water filters arises after a flood, when access to clean water may be curtailed or cut off completely. Flooding happens frequently in some areas of the country, including those exposed to hurricanes (the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the American Southeast). However, the massive early summer flooding of 2012 in Duluth, Minnesota, and the colossal impact of Hurricane Sandy on New England in autumn the same year shows that flooding is likely to be much more common everywhere as climate change grows more intense.
   
When heavy flooding occurs, no water source can be fully trusted until some time has passed and official testing has revealed that it is once again safe. Flooding washes human waste out of sewers and sewage treatment plants, garbage out of trash bins and dumps, and chemicals out of storage tanks or lagoons at factories and waste disposal facilities.
   
This loathsome “soup” flows into reservoirs, wells, and water pipes, meaning that the water coming out of your tap (assuming that you still have running water after the flood) is very likely contaminated with fecal matter, bacteria, parasites, and a hazardous mix of industrial chemicals, even if it appears normal. You are likely to lose water pressure entirely, forcing you to fall back on drinking collected water to prevent dehydration.
   
In these circumstances, you can keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe mainly by filtering all the water you drink with a good quality filter. The best filters for these circumstances are passive gravity feed filters, such as the famous Aquacera or Berkey line. There are several reasons why passive filters are best for providing clean water after flooding, such as:

  • The lack of water pressure means that many filters simply won't work. Undersink filters, including reverse osmosis systems which could clean practically any flooding contamination from the water, do not work in the absence of full water pressure, for example.  If your electricity is out, you will get no water from the tap.
  • The same is true of diverter valve countertop filters which attach directly to the faucet, and many other types as well. A passive, gravity feed filter works regardless of whether there is water pressure or electricity – add water to the chamber, and the planet's pull will do the rest. 
  • Water passes through gravity feed filter cartridges at a far more leisurely pace than when it is forced through under pressure. The filtering is correspondingly more intensive, since the water remains in contact with filtration media for more than a split second. This enables full or nearly full removal of all potential contaminants, making the water much safer for you to drink even if it is heavily laden with chemicals and filth prior to filtration. 
  • Passive filter cartridges typically feature a very high filtration capacity, meaning that they will continue to filter throughout the duration of the emergency, even if it is a week or more before you have access to safe water straight from the tap. Keeping a spare cartridge on hand is always a prudent idea, of course.



by: Chris Tracey

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