Water is life. Without water, neither humans nor plants can survive. According to doctors, drinking clean water is paramount and plays a significant role in maintaining optimal health. What's more, clean water is the only sure way to guarantee healthier living.
But due to the recent growth in technology and industrialization, the quest for clean water has become an increasingly difficult task. If like most people you find yourself stuck between the available alternatives in a bid to get clean and safe water in your home, you have three major categories to choose from.
These are filtered water, bottled water, and tap water. Like any other thing out there, there are many misconceptions about what type of water is safest and healthiest for consumption. On the positive side, all these type of water supplies have minerals, either naturally occurring or via intentional addition. These minerals include, Ca, Se, Zn, Mg, and F.
Below is a breakdown of the three significant drinking water categories available in the UK.
Filtered vs Bottled vs Tap Water: Which Is The Best?
It is the most widely available water in any country. It's easily accessible in homes, schools, restaurants, public parks, bus parks, churches, and so on. You can access tap water from almost anywhere within the country.
Most of the water is supplied by the cities supplies. Unbeknown to many, tap water is highly regulated and has to be filtered at the source. Tap water in the UK has an overall quality performance of 99.96%, which is pretty good for public water supplies.
Drinking water has to pass strict standards to guarantee its safety. The standards encompass chemicals such as pesticides, metals, micro-organisms, appearance, and taste. The bodies tasked with regulating water include the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), and the Water Supply and Sanitation in the European Union.
Nonetheless, due to the area of coverage of supply routes, tap water can easily be compromised. For instance, during an emergency such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, or fires. Besides, since pipes are rarely replaced, it's possible that they can wear out or corrode with time, contaminating the water.
Bottled water is water from the springs or tap water after being purified to meet the safety standards. Even though most water brands claim their water to originate from natural sources, most of it is filtered tap water.
Numerous studies have been conducted to ascertain this claim. A good number of these research findings found that minerals in bottled water were healthier and not the water itself. Minerals such as magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, sulphate, and iron are minerals with positive health benefits. Many people think that bottled water is the perfect drinking water. Even though there is a certain degree of truth in that thought, also lies some other facts that you should consider too. It's a paradox that tap water is often tested more frequently than bottled water in some cases. On Numerous occasions, bottled water has been found to include impurities such as cancer-causing chemicals, nicotine, E. coli, fertilizers, and so on.
Negative Impacts Of Bottled Water
1. Plasticizers And EDCs
Plasticizers are compounds added to increase flexibility and handling properties of different plastics, while endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals with a proven record of interfering with the endocrine system. These chemicals get transferred from the bottles to the water, which makes it unsafe. Once the substances gain entry into the human body, they have devastating consequences.
2. Environmental Hazards
Scientifically, a plastic bottle can last up to 1000 years before decomposing. The millions of bottles discarded improperly thus cause a vast challenge. What's worse, if the wastewater bottles are burned, they produce toxic fumes to the environment.
Some may argue that recycling plastic water bottles is a solution, which is not the case. The production of these bottles releases a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. Plastic water bottles are also becoming a leading polluter in waterways.
Filtered water is local tap water that has been filtered, thereby removing any micro-organisms, sediments, chemicals, or unwanted minerals. There isn't a massive difference between bottled water and filtered water. Filtered water is bottled water, where the filtration process is done in your home, plus you don't have to pack the water in bottles.
There are a range of techniques used in water filtration. They range from simple mechanisms to complex ones. Since each filtration method is uniquely designed, they all work differently. You, therefore, have to deploy a combination of filtration techniques to get the safest water for drinking. Depending on your preferences, you can choose among the following major types of filters;
1. Carbon Filters
Carbon filters are designed to remove organic compounds such as chlorine. It is, therefore, does not remove organic compounds such as lead, fluoride, and mercury. Carbon filters improve both the taste and the appearance of water.
2. Reverse Osmosis
These filters use pressure to filter out contaminants from the water. The system contains a semi-permeable membrane where water molecules pass through while larger molecules (impurities) are left behind. This method effectively removes more contaminants but is less effective against smaller contaminants such as chlorine.
3. Activated Alumina Filter
This system comprises ceramic filters, which effectively eliminate fluoride and arsenic compounds from local tap water supplies. It's widespread in water pitchers and reasonably cheap.
4. Water Distillation
Although it's probably the oldest water filtration technique, it's still one of the most effective water filtration methods. This process involves boiling tap water and allowing the steam to cool down into a container. This process kills the bacteria and ejects all contaminants available in the water. It is, however, less efficient because it takes a lot of time to distil a substantive amount of water, especially for an average family.
5. Ion Exchange
Technically, this is not a filtration technique but a water softening method. It replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions via ion exchange. This process removes the hard water-causing minerals.
You can therefore choose to install a water filtration system that will handle all the filtration work for you. The majority of the systems combine several mechanisms to increase efficiency. The most common ones include the Faucet filter, Water filter pitcher, under sink water filter, countertop water filter, and whole house water filter system.
From the springs or tap water after being purified
Tap water that has been filtered done in your homes
Highly regualted by diff regualtory bodies
Needs to meet safety standards
Needs to meet safety standards
Can easily be compromised
Found to include impurities such as cancer-causing chemicals, nicotine, E. coli, and fertilizer
Cost in installation
Filtered vs Bottled vs Tap Water: Summing Up
When you look at the three types of drinking water, you might wonder which option is better than the other. Inherently, almost everyone has access to tap water. It is considered safe, though it's riddled with potential contaminants along the way. Rationally, most people use tap water for household chores and seek a safer alternative for drinking water used for making a cup of tea, in your coffee machine, washing vegetables etc
As you've seen, the only difference between bottled water and filtered water is that the former is available in the store while the latter is available at home. Why would anyone pay more to have the same quality as the one available at home (via a water filtration system) – even better tasting while burdening the ecosystem?
Lastly, tap water and bottled water face enormous challenges with contamination due to ageing infrastructure and the massive scale of the supplies. So long as filters inside filtration systems are frequently changed, filtered water is safer, convenient, inexpensive, and zero implications for the environment.