What’s the Best Way to Purify Drinking Water?
Right now we are in the midst of a clean water crisis. Although 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is water, only 2.5 per cent of that is freshwater. And with our global population expected to rise to a staggering 11 billion by 2100, it is essential we turn our attention to making sure the water we do have access to is safe to drink.
A July 2017 report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF revealed that more than 4.2 billion people currently don’t have access to safe water sanitation methods. That’s nearly 60 per cent of world’s population.
As North Americans, we are fortunate to have access to some of the cleanest, safest water on offer. However, even we cannot escape the risk of illness and disease from waterborne pathogens. It is easier than you might think for drinking water to become contaminated at the source, along the pipeline, or inside a “safe” container.
Ultimately, disinfection is key. As technology evolves, so too do the options at our disposal for improving access and availability to potable water.
Here’s a look at what is currently on the market for consumers:
Chemical disinfection uses oxidants such as chlorine-based compounds to rapidly react and kill some (but not all) harmful micro-organisms. Adding chlorine has been used as a convenient water disinfection technique for swimming pools and other household applications. While fast and effective, there are significant health and safety concerns. For example, chlorine-based components are corrosive and must be handled with extreme caution and care.
Filters trap particles in porous material structures, but still allow water to pass through. This technique is effective for removing things like sand and rust, but it cannot address materials that have dissolved into the water. Though relatively inexpensive, the pore size of most filters is too large to trap microorganisms, so they end up passing through into people’s drinking water. They also require regular replacement, making them a high maintenance approach with only moderate effectiveness.
Reverse osmosis (RO)
Membranes, such as those used in reverse osmosis (RO) systems, are also considered filters. RO systems are a more effective alternative for removing microorganisms, but tend to be difficult to install, consume a lot of energy, and have been found to waste up to 70 per cent of water post-treatment. Unfortunately, RO systems also strip water of its healthy minerals, taking the good with the bad.
Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection
One of the world’s most effective water treatment technologies, UV disinfection uses short wavelength radiation to deactivate microorganisms by disrupting their DNA. However, this technology is not without its limitations. Typically, UV lamps require replacement annually, along with monthly cleaning and maintenance requirements. Further, because UV lamps contain mercury and cannot be turned on and off (causing them to consume energy even when there is no water flow), their environmental impact has been the subject of much controversy.
Following careful observation of these and other techniques, scientists introduced a revolutionary technology known as UV-LED. With a longer lifespan (10+ years on average), low power requirements, and low maintenance requirements, the characteristics of UV-LEDs produce an optimal disinfection efficiency and is fast becoming the go-to source for water purification.
It’s no surprise we’re particularly endeared to this form of water purification. In fact, you’ll find it in all of our Acuva purification systems.
No matter whether you’re gearing up for a month-long adventure in your RV, heading out to the cabin for the long weekend, or cozying up at home, keeping yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy is always a priority. As a business based on transparency, we believe in providing honest, accurate information to help you make the best decision for you.