How You Can Battle Algae Blooms In The Back Half Of Water Quality Month


Toxic Algae Bloom In Lake Erie As Captured By NASA
Toxic Algae Bloom In Lake Erie As Captured By NASA

Earlier this month, an algae bloom in Lake Erie contaminated the water of more than 500,000 Toledo, Ohio residents, leading to a drinking water ban lasting several days.

On a smaller but no less heartbreaking scale, a family living just down the road from our headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota experienced the passing away of their beloved pet dog, after it had found its way into a blue-green algae bloom in a nearby pond.

With stories like these, the issue of algae blooms continues to occupy the news cycles, with information regarding what is causing these blooms, what to do if you encounter one and, most troublingly, future risks.

As we reach the mid-way point of August, we also find ourselves mid-way through National Water Quality Month – a month set aside by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for us all to recognize the impact we have on this resource – and think about what more we can do to protect it for future generations.  Unfortunately, with drinking water shortages, pollution and distribution challenges present on such a global scale, it can sometimes be difficult to find that one perfect niche in which we can make a difference.  Fortunately, battling back against the creation and spread of algae blooms just happens to be one of those niches.

What Are Algae Blooms?

Algae can exist as anything from single-celled bacteria to large seaweeds with little to no root structure.  These types of life-forms produce their own food using energy from sunlight, a process called photosynthesis, which you just may remember from science class.

When weather conditions are just right, from warmer temperatures to stronger wind patterns, nasty looking algae will grow and spread rapidly giving a distinctly mucky look to bodies of water.  A form of algae, cyanobacteria – more commonly referred to as ‘blue-green algae’ – poses perhaps the greatest threat as this variety can be blamed for both the recent issues in Toledo and the passing of the family dog in St. Paul.

Toledo Ohio Residents Impacted By Drinking Water Ban
Toledo, Ohio residents, impacted by a recent drinking water ban caused by a toxic algae bloom, line up for clean water

Dogs, farm animals and small children, in fact, are most at risk for exposure and sickness from algae blooms by virtue of the very behaviors that make them unique.  Farm animals and pets are not the most discerning when it comes to their drinking water source.  Children are not the most discerning when it comes to the bodies of water in which they play.  And dogs double-down, by drinking anything, playing anywhere – and in the case of Labradors, especially – frantically licking their fur.

For parents and pet-owners, this resource from the California Department of Public Health is an invaluable bookmark as it provides detailed instructions regarding what you will need to do in the event that your child or pet is exposed.

Is Human Activity Solely To Blame?

Not entirely.  These types of organisms are primitive forms of life that have no trouble surviving and spreading through purely natural conditions.  That said, human activity can be held responsible for some of the rapid spread we are seeing.

Some types of activity called out by Nate Drag of Buffalo Rising include:

  • Fertilization by commercial farms and residential lawns that can result in the runoff  that helps to feed these organisms
  • Reduction in wetlands that act as a natural filter for the chemicals that contribute to these blooms, through any activities that increase our footprint (carbon or otherwise)
  • Pollution of plastic debris that can act as a vector helping algae blooms to spread

While the causes may be known, the global solutions are not quite as simple as they may seem.  Commercial industries depend on fertilization in order to sustain crops, while also depending on clean water.  This balance can be seen played out in many of the debates happening around the country over the Clean Water Act.  In regards to the protection of wetlands, reduction in greenhouse gases and end of plastic pollution, well, if these were easy issues they would have already been solved.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman - Champion of Bipartisan Algae Bloom Bill
Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio Championed A Recent Bipartisan Algae Bloom Control Bill, Signed Into Law by President Obama

What Individual Actions Are Most Effective Against Such A Global Issue?

As with anything else, one immediate action we can all take is to ensure we are as educated about this issue as possible.  If you are reading this post, you are taking a huge step in the right direction.  The more we know about what’s causing algae blooms, the more we can do to support initiatives meant to battle them back, and the more we can do in our daily lives to encourage global change.

As algae blooms have become more common in the some of our Great Lakes, many politicians on both sides of the aisle have supported legislation to help control this issue.

In July, President Obama signed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014, proposed by Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R.)  This Republican proposed bill was championed by those on the other side, including Democratic Senator Bill Nelson from Florida and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon.  This legislation authorizes $20.5 million per year to the algae bloom battle, with a specific focus on the Great Lakes.  Actively supporting this type of legislation, by contacting your elected officials or attending any local meetings where new ideas are shared, can help ensure these initiatives continue to receive support.

Support can also be provided through monetary donations to political action groups or charities that support algae bloom control, including Ocean Champions and Water Defense, an organization led by actor Mark Ruffalo and founder of OPFLEX water purification technology, Scott Smith.

There is also a great deal you can do in your personal life to help in the battle against algae blooms, few of which will have any noticeable impact on your day to day activities and many of which will seem like common sense.

Body Glove Eco-Friendly Water Bottle
Using An Eco-Friendly Filtered Water Bottle, Including This 20 Ounce Bottle From Body Glove, Can Reduce Your Dependence On Plastic

First and perhaps most easily, commit to not adding to the plastic pollution problem through littering.  You can even go one step further and replace your plastic water bottle with one of the eco-friendly water bottles available at our online store.

When you use lawn fertilizer, select a blend that does not use phosphorous.  You can even help to support a reduction in the amount of fertilizer needed by commercial farms by choosing to buy more of your fruits and vegetables from local organic farms.

Finally, if you have the opportunity and ability, riding a bike or carpooling to work can help lessen the types of conditions that nurture the growth and spread of algae blooms.  Thanks go out again to Nate Drag of Buffalo Rising, for sharing many of these ideas in his post linked above.

What Else?

This is where I would love to hear your ideas regarding your experience with algae blooms, whether that means supporting legislation or making simple changes to your daily activities.  I also encourage you to share any advice based on experiences you’ve had dealing with algae blooms, whether that means contamination issues with your drinking water or exposure issues with your pets or kids.

Finally, I always invite your comments sharing more about how you are helping to recognize and minimize the impact you have on water – whether during National Water Quality Month – or any other time of the year! All comments are always invited and always welcome below.

To stay up to date on the latest water quality information, or our latest filters sales on discounts, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+.

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10 Things You Should Do After Any Drinking Water Ban


Toledo, Ohio Mayor D. Michael Collins After Drinking Water Ban Is Lifted
Toledo, Ohio Mayor D. Michael Collins takes a big sip, as the drinking water ban in his city is lifted, in this photo from the Daily News

In January, a spill of MCHM left the drinking water of nearly 300,000 residents in West Virginia undrinkable and unusable.

This past weekend, 400,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio experienced a similar drinking water ban, this time brought about by an algae bloom in Lake Erie that carried dangerous levels of microcystin and cyanotoxin into the water supply.

On the surface, these two drinking water bans are quite different, as West Virginia residents lived through weeks of uncertainty due to a spill of a man-made chemical, while Ohio residents – fortunately – were dealing with more of a known, natural entity.  That said, the end result remained the same.

Similarly, the next recommend steps for residents of West Virginia, Ohio, or any future region that lives through such an occurrence also remain the same.  With thanks to WXYZ in Detroit, WTVG in Toledo, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, please find below a list of ten steps you should take after living through a drinking water ban.  It is recommended that you follow the steps below in order, skipping any step that is not applicable to your home or business:

1. Regenerate Your Water Softener
Fundamentally, what you will be doing after any drinking water ban is flushing your plumbing system and cleaning or replacing anything that has come into contact with contaminated water.  If a water softener is in use in your home or business, it should be manually regenerated before you begin the flushing and cleaning processes, detailed more below.  Your water softener’s manual or an equipment supplier can offer assistance, if you have never completed a manual regeneration.  If there is not a water softener in use in your home or business, go directly to the next applicable step.

Flush Indoor Taps After Drinking Water Ban Ends2. Backwash Your Sediment Filter
If a sediment filter is in use in your home, completing a manual backwash will ensure the next steps you take to flush your plumbing system will be more effective.  In fact, it is recommended that you backwash your sediment filter both before and after you flush your plumbing system. 

3. Flush Hot & Cold Water Taps
A simple and effective way to ensure that final bit of contamination flows through your pipes and down your drain, rather than into your glass, is to allow your taps to run continuously for five to fifteen minutes.

Start with the hot water taps and leave on for fifteen minutes.  This will help free your hot water heater from dangerous levels of contamination.  Next, do the same for any cold water taps for five minutes.  Note that this includes your refrigerator water dispenser.  Before flushing, you may also remove any filter in use from taps that do not depend on these being attached in order to serve water.  This can help the flushing process move a bit more efficiently and give you a head-start on step six below.

4. Flush & Clean Every Toilet
Once you’ve flushed your taps, simply give each toilet in your home a quick flush and a clean.  This step is more critical for dog owners, as a toilet represents little more than a great big bowl of clean drinking water, regardless of what contaminants may be lurking.
Flush Outdoor Taps After Any Drinking Water Ban Ends
5. Flush Any Remaining Faucets
From external faucets and hose bibs, to the sink in your laundry room, all faucets in your home should be flushed.  After you’ve opened every hot and cold water tap, and flushed every toilet, walkabout your home to ensure every tap has an opportunity to run and rid itself of contamination.

6. Change All Water Filters Currently In Use
This direction comes directly from the CDC, in regards to what residents should do after a boil water alert ends (ie a different type of drinking water ban, where water may be used if boiled first.)  Changing out water filters is an important part of the flushing process as any filter currently in use is at risk for trapping some of the contaminants that led to the ban in the first place.

To minimize risk of exposure, change your inline water filters, sediment filters, refrigerator water filters, shower filters, filters used in your water pitchers – literally – every filter serving water in your home.  If you need help finding your filters, just visit our online store, use our filter finder, or call our customer service team at 1-800-277-3458.

Cerama Bryte Dishwasher CleanerNote that in the event of any drinking water ban, boil water alert or other type of emergency, we do offer the option of next day shipping.

7. Discard of Anything Made With Water
From Kool-Aid to baby formula, and from iced tea to lemonade, if you made it with water poured during the time of the drinking water ban – dump it.  (And then make some more, because everything we mentioned above is delicious!)

8. Flush Icemaker & Discard Ice
After flushing and sanitizing your icemaker, make and discard three batches of ice, to ensure any ice you use or serve is as free as possible from any contaminants.  While this may feel like overkill, the instruction comes directly from the CDC.

Clean All Pet Bowls After A Drinking Water Ban9. Sanitize Dishwasher
This step does more than help free your appliance of any lingering contaminants – it helps improve both the lifespan and performance of your dishwasher by lifting away scale, scum and grease.  Our online store offers two powerful dishwasher cleaners that can help, including a version from Cerama Bryte (pictured above) and the enhanced Pro Products Magic Dishwasher Cleaner which helps clean and sanitize, while reducing bacteria, E. Coli and Salmonella.

10. Clean & Sanitize All Pet Bowls
For pet owners, keeping contaminated water out of reach is an absolute necessity.  Simply put, your pet (especially if your pet is a big, slobbery dog) will drink just about anything that’s put out there.  During a drinking water ban, ensure your pet drinks only bottled water or water that has been declared safe – and use a fresh bowl.  After the drinking water ban ends, ensure that any bowl that came into contact with contaminated water is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.  If you’re following these steps in order, you should have a clean and sanitary dishwasher that can help.

Complete the steps above after any drinking water ban, in order, and everyday life in your home will be back to normal before you know it.  If you’ve been through a drinking water ban, and recommend adding more steps to this list, I invite you to share via a comment below.  I also invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to see news and instruction regarding any future drinking water bans, alerts or emergencies.

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Do I Need A Chloramine Filter?


Water Treatment PlantEvery few years, something new finds its way into our drinking water, causing confusion at best and justifiable panic at worst.

Fortunately, most of what we hear about is nowhere near the levels that we saw recently in West Virginia (ie a severe MCHM contamination incident from earlier this year.)  Even the recent finding of E. Coli in New York City, while horrifying and inexcusable, represents an issue that can be treated fairly easily once discovered.

In speaking to our customers, an impurity that is coming up more frequently is chloramine.  While certainly not a new disinfectant, the use of chloramine as a disinfectant of choice over chlorine is becoming more common in larger cities, including Los Angeles.  This is due in large part to chloramine’s stability, making it more effective at disinfection when water must travel longer distances.

Without a doubt, chloramine is an interesting disinfectant.  Formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water, is both a more stable and weaker disinfectant than chlorine.  While weaker, it is up to ten times harder to reduce from water, especially with a basic carbon water filter.  Chloramine will also not effectively boil out of water or dissipate, as can be counted on with chlorine.

As is common, because the addition of chloramine in water is not always fully understood or fully communicated, it’s a cause for concern that we see driving some of our purchases.  And while we are happy to offer you a chloramine filter that will help to meet your needs, our goal is not to sell you something that you simply do not need – especially as a chloramine filter will typically cost you more out of pocket.

Safe Treated Drinking Water From TapSo before investing in a more expensive water filter than you are accustomed to, review the ten questions below to see if upgrading to reduce chloramine is something you truly need.  You may also call our customer service team at 1-800-277-3458 if you have any additional questions:

1. Why are water companies putting chloramine in water?
In referencing the story above, that shares more about the recent switch to chloramine in Los Angeles, most municipalities and water companies see chloramine as a safer alternative to chlorine as it remains more effective over long distances and ensures less risk of toxic Disinfection By-Products (DBPs.)  As such, using chloramine as a water disinfectant has been deemed a safer alternative whether your water will be consumed by humans or animals, with some exceptions discussed below.

Illinois American Water shares that despite this being a new disinfectant in many areas, cities throughout the US and Canada have used chloramine for decades.  Denver, Colorado, in fact, has used it since 1917.  Everpure, a brand we are proud to carry at our online store here, shares that 25% of the largest public water supplies in the US are using this disinfectant.

2. Is MY water company putting chloramine in MY water?
The answer to this depends upon whether your municipality or water company reached out to you to share that they’d be making the switch to chloramine as a disinfectant.  If not, it’s possible that they’ve used it for years.  If this is the case, this information will be available either on your local water company’s website or by calling them directly.

3. Were you contacted by your water company regarding overuse of chloramine?
As with any other incident impacting your water, your municipality or water company is required to inform you if you are at a health risk from your drinking water, whether due to a contaminant that can be boiled out or an impurity that risks impacting taste or odor.  If your municipality has not issued any such alert, you are likely not at a high risk of chloramine contamination in your home, and would likely not need to invest in a chloramine filter.

4. If you have been contacted by your water company regarding overuse of chloramine, is this the first time or just the latest time?
On the other hand, if your water company has contacted you several times regarding the overuse of chloramine, it may be time to invest in a water filter or filtration system that puts your mind a bit more at ease.  Whether this means you’ve been warned just one time or several times is a matter of personal opinion.

Safe Shower Water5. Have you noticed a much heavier chlorine taste and odor in your water?
As much as we always like to give local municipalities and water companies the benefit of the doubt, there have been some troubling instances where drinking water alerts were sent out late (the recent E. Coli contamination incident in Portland comes to immediate mind.)

If your drinking water smells and tastes like a swimming pool, it is definitely worth placing a quick call to your water company if you haven’t received any alert.

6. What health effects does overuse of chloramine cause?
Fundamentally, the levels at which chloramine is used to treat municipal water is safe, as is any other type of similar disinfectant.  It’s certainly safer than virtually anything you’ll find in untreated water, including any number of harmful bacteria.

Illinois American Water shares:
“Everyone can drink water that’s chloraminated because the digestive process neutralizes the chloramines before they reach the bloodstream.  It’s only when water interacts directly with the bloodstream that chloramines must be removed.

Note that it’s this direct contact with bloodstream that makes chloraminated water dangerous for fish or dialysis patients, rather than those just drinking chloraminated water.  Even treating a cut with chloraminated water would not result in virtually any chloramine finding its way into your bloodstream.

In the event that you are exposed to higher than safe levels of chloramine, the EPA reports health effects including a stinging in the eyes or nose, stomach discomfort and dry, itchy skin.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned that it may be due to exposure, call a doctor first.  Check-in with your water company, and consider a water test kit and chloramine filter next.

TK-2 Culligan Water Test Kit7. Have you tested your water?
Chloramine is fairly easy to detect in water.  You can use a $7 Culligan water test kit, found on our site and pictured, to effectively determine whether or not there are higher than safe levels of this disinfectant in your drinking water.  If needed, we can even ship this out for you overnight.

8. Is anyone living in your home a kidney dialysis patient?
As stated by Illinois American Water:

In the dialysis process, water comes in contact with the blood across a permeable membrane. Chloramines in that water would be toxic, just as chlorine is toxic, and must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines.

In other words, yes, those that live with kidney dialysis patients need to take special precaution when it comes to chloramine.  However, these patients need to take the same precaution when it comes to chlorine, making a switch in the disinfectant used by a municipality more of a lateral shift as far as their habits are concerned.

All kidney dialysis patients should consult with their physician on the most appropriate water treatment or filter options, whether due to chloramine or any other water contamination or disinfection issue.Filter Chloramines Out of Aquarium Water

9. Do you have an aquarium?
Similar to dialysis patients, any disinfectant used in water will come into contact with a fish’s bloodstream, making filtration critical for those with more expensive aquarium set-ups.

If you have or are thinking about investing in an aquarium, we recommend researching the information that your local water company makes available to see what disinfectants are used, or asking your local aquarium shop if you should invest in a whole house or chloramine filter.

10. Are you a home brewer?
In researching the topic of chloramine, and specifically whether or not you need to employ a chloramine filter, you’ll find a lot of content from the aquarium and home brewing communities.

Use Best Judgment Before Investing In Chloramine Filter For Home BrewingWith the home brewing community, the issue comes down to whether or not chloramine causes taste issues, particularly as this disinfectant is difficult to reduce using standard methods such as trusting a carbon filter or boiling.

More Beer puts it most effectively in stating:
If your water district is changing over to chloramination, or if you’re moving to a chloraminated-water area, you may be wondering how you can get chloramines out of your brew water. First, however, you should ascertain whether chloramines really are a problem. Does your beer have off-flavors? If you can’t taste anything and are not a trained taster, have it tasted by someone who is. If you aren’t getting the medicinal or plastic-like taste of chlorophenols in your beer, don’t worry about removing chloramines.

If you’ve come this far and determined that a chloramine filter is needed in your home, your options would include:CRFC-BB Pentek Chloramine Reduction Water Filter

Whether or not you need a chloramine filter will primarily come down to how sensitive you are to the smell and taste of disinfectant, rather than any health related issues.  That said, this is small comfort if you are among those most sensitive to this type of water issue.  It’s also small comfort to those of you suffering through legitimate issues with chloramine contamination.

After reading this, if you feel as though a chloramine filter is right for your home, please review the products above for the right fit.  I also invite you to call our customer service team with any questions at 1-800-277-3458.

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Why A Camping Filter Needs To Be In Your Gear Bag


Clean Looking Water
Just because it looks clean and tastes clean doesn’t mean it IS clean…

Just because you’ve found a source of fresh water is no guarantee that you are safe from dehydration.  This is both a critical piece of insight to take to heart before venturing into the great outdoors and a hard lesson learned for thousands of campers throughout the world.

At our online store, we specialize in filters and filtration products that make your water taste better, fresher and cleaner.  But when it comes to our selection of camping filters, the benefits go much deeper than better taste.

Quite simply, any source of untreated water in the wild is a potential home to a number of bacteria and viruses, including Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

The CDC offers this resource for backpackers sharing more about where these bacteria derive from and what they do to your body.  Those more curious about these down and dirty details are welcome to click on the link above.

67005 Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter SystemThose accustomed to reading between the lines need to know only this: when your body comes into contact with these contaminants, it will expel them in every way possible.  In the process, your body will also lose a ton of water, very quickly transforming that source of drinking water you found into the root cause of your dehydration.

So how does a camping filter help if the job of a water filter is primarily to improve taste?  This is where the deeper benefits come into play.

Take for example the Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter System, pictured to the left, in use below and available for purchase here. Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter System In UseThis is a basic, $10 camping filter that is, essentially, a straw.  For up to 20 gallons of use, this straw will reduce 99% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia, in addition to unpleasant taste and odor, from virtually any water source.   For anyone embarking on a short hike or backpacking trip, this is a lightweight addition to your bag that will do more to keep you safe than just about anything else you carry with you.

While this $10 filter is an ideal camping filter for shorter backpacking journeys, longer or medium length trips may need a little bit more in terms of filter life.  For those preparing for longer camping trips, we’re happy to offer everything from water pumps in the $30 range to mini-microfiltration systems from Katadyn in the $100 range.  While larger in size than a simple filter straw, these types of systems will still tuck nicely into a gear bag and be ready to provide you with anywhere from 100 to 500 gallons of drinking water, all virtually free of the contaminants that can result in dehydration. 8014931 Katadyn Vario Backcountry Series Microfilter Water Filter(Several of these Katadyn microfilters pictured, in fact, were donated by our store to members of Safari Club International as they embarked on humanitarian Blue Bag Drops in Costa Rica.  Each drop delivered portable water filtration equipment, like the Katadyn camping filter systems, to families in areas suffering from extreme water contamination issues.)

Finally, for those going on longer excursions with larger groups or families, we are also happy to offer surprisingly portable countertop ceramic filtration systems from Doulton (pictured below) and larger Expedition Systems.  Before clicking through to these products, note that these are in the price range of $200 – $1,500.  These are hard-core systems for hard-core journeys.

As our purpose in sharing this information is to educate you on the risks of untreated water and share potential solutions, rather than simply trying to sell you camping filters, it’s important to note that a great deal of the water you’ll find in the great outdoors is safe to drink – especially at higher elevations.  W9361122 Doulton Countertop Water Filter SystemREI shares this information in its article on understanding the risks you’ll face when backpacking.  That said, this same article also informs readers that even if the risk of infection from contaminated drinking water is small, it is a risk that should be avoided.  As Steven Bower of North Country Canoe Outfitters reminds us, when deep in the great outdoors, you are your own primary care physician.  And as every primary care physician has said since the beginning of time, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

‘Be Prepared’ is a simple, two-word mission statement that’s been shared with virtually every Boy Scout.  Barring any copyright issues, it’s a statement that could also find itself at home on virtually any type of camping filter, from a gravity pump to a filter straw.  If you are about ready to hit up the great outdoors for one last summer excursion, I urge you to let us help you be prepared with a camping filter both perfectly suited for your gear bag and perfectly priced for your wallet.

See our full selection of camping filters, most of which will ship FREE same day, by visiting our online store.  If you need help or have any questions, I invite you to leave a comment below or to call our customer service team at 1-800-277-3458.

I also invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to see exclusive new filter sales and discounts.

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New York City Tap Water: High Quality or E Coli?


New York City tap water quality holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many.

Described as one of the most pristine beverages on the planet – New York City’s drinking water is considered by most as more than just tasty – but also healthy and safe.  Many even consider it the primary reason that food ranging from Brooklyn Bagels to a slice of New York City pizza is so hard to replicate anywhere else.

So why is it that when drinking water was tested in twelve buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, eight buildings tested positive for coliform bacteria, and five tested positive for E. Coli – making the water unfit for human consumption?  The answer lies not in the water’s source, but in the journey that tap water must take before it pours through a faucet to become drinking water.

This week, The New York Times published the results of a troubling investigation, a video of which you can see above.  The investigation, which provided the results of drinking water tests from the aforementioned twelve buildings, shared the path that water must take before transforming into hydration for residents.

While New York City’s tap water may begin as a high quality beverage when it is gravity pumped from crystal clear waterways upstate, it still must travel through miles of pipes – some of which are the pipes in classic New York City apartment buildings.

“Lead is the most common reason that you run into a water problem in New York,” says occupational medicine specialist Marc Wilkenfeld, M.D., director of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola.  For those that live in older buildings, with plumbing to match, lead is a clear and present danger every time a water faucet is turned on.

WS-425W WaterSafe Water Test Kit
Tests tap water for lead, bacteria and more

Lead is one thing, but E. Coli is a completely different matter.  As shared in the video above, fecal matter from animals is the one and only way for E. Coli to exist.  Everything from deteriorated roofs on water tanks – the most common way for larger apartment buildings to store drinking water – to infestation by animals and even squatting by humans can all be contributors to this problem.

Here’s the frustrating part – to rid most New York City tap water from significant contamination risk would cost as little as a few hundred dollars.  This is the approximate cost of cleaning and disinfecting an apartment building’s water tank, which by regulation, should be happening at least once per year.

Instapure F8 Faucet Filter
Instapure F8 Faucet Filter – reduces lead

So what should New York City residents do?  It may seem like a small cost for the city to clean and disinfect water tanks (and it is) but demanding that the work be done is not something that will happen overnight.

Fortunately, there are several drinking water filtration options that are open to you – including faucet filters and refrigerator water filters – that we are happy to offer on our site.  And just so you don’t think we are veering into self-promotion, both types of solutions were endorsed in the article linked to above featuring Dr. Wilkenfeld’s insight.

Before you make a decision on the drinking water filtration system you need, we would recommend first investing a small amount in a Water Test Kit.  While Dr. Wilkenfeld suggests that the results of these tests can be inconclusive, the kit pictured above represents a small investment (under $25) that will provide you with, in the experience of our team and our customers, enough actionable data to guide your filter decision.

If the only element of concern in your drinking water is lead, perhaps the most common impurity in New York City tap water, either a faucet filter system – like the Instapure F8 faucet filter above – or even a consistently changed refrigerator water filter – a common Samsung replacement filter from our Tier1 line is pictured below – will meet most of your needs.

DA29-00003G Samsung Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement By Tier1
DA29-00003G Samsung Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement By Tier1 – reduces lead

On the other hand, if your drinking water comes back positive for bacteria – or just comes out of the tap yellow – a slightly bigger investment is strongly recommended.  The Doulton countertop water filter system below is proven to reduce all but the smallest trace of E. Coli, while sitting tucked away in its own small part of your counter.  If countertop space is at a premium, the right combination of undersink water filtration system and filter – including this ceramic filter cartridge and ceramic filter housing from Doulton – can also help to reduce this harmful contaminant.

When deciding on a water filtration system, remember that all systems – and even all water filters – are built differently.  Always read through all of the specs offered on a system or a filter before you purchase to ensure it helps to reduce the impurities found in your own drinking water supply.  All packaging will include details on these specs, as will product pages on DiscountFilterStore.com.  If you suspect that your water could be unsafe to drink – whether due to smell, taste or odd yellow coloring – we recommend that you have it tested before and after installing a drinking water filtration system or filter.

Of course, if you have trouble finding what you need, you are always welcome to call our customer service team at 1-800-277-3458 with any questions.

W9361122 Doulton Countertop Water Filter System
Doulton Countertop Water Filter System – reduces E. Coli

If you live in New York City, we would love to hear your thoughts on the quality of your drinking water, especially in light of the recent investigation by The New York Times.  We would also welcome hearing any solutions you may have already implemented to combat some of the more common impurities in your drinking water.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals and new products.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘VETERAN’ at checkout to take 5% off your entire order!

West Virginia Customers: We’re Sending You Free Refrigerator Water Filters From Tier1


West Virginia Drinking Water Safety MapLast week’s chemical spill in West Virginia, and its corresponding impact on the drinking water of nearly 300,000 residents, was unprecedented on a ridiculous scale.

As an online store that focuses heavily on providing the water filters that help reduce contaminants from the water your family drinks, it was extremely frustrating to sit back and watch.  Today, as bottled water distribution sites remain open and stories emerge over more chemicals that may have leaked into West Virginia’s drinking water above and beyond MCHM, it’s simply too difficult for us to sit back and do nothing.

Starting today, we are doing what we can to hasten the water recovery of our customers in West Virginia.  If you’ve ordered a refrigerator water filter from us in the last three months, we will be sending you a free refrigerator water filter from Tier1.

LT700P LG Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement By Tier1

LT700P LG Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement By Tier1

Tier1 refrigerator water filters are affordably priced and designed to fit into all major brands.  The Tier1 line of water filters provide you with the same great tasting drinking water, virtually free of stated contaminants, as the manufacturer models.  We are happy to be one of the exclusive distributors of this new line.

If you are a customer of ours, there is no catch and no action for you to take.  Your Tier1 refrigerator water filter is already on the way.

Replacing the water filters in your home, including your refrigerator water filters, is one of the last steps you will need to take to ensure the drinking water you serve is as safe as possible.  We are happy to help you finalize this last critical step and wish only that we could do more.

If you have friends and family that have been impacted by the chemical spill and water contamination incident in West Virginia who are not yet a customer of DiscountFilterStore.com, we invite you to share the coupon code ‘Facebook5.’  This code will give them 5% off on their entire order.

Thank you again for your continued loyalty, and if there is anything else we can do to help you through this event, please feel free to call our customer service department at 1-800-277-3458.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+.

West Virginia Water Contamination Situation: What You Need To Know


West Virginia Drinking Water Safety MapLate last week, a chemical spill rendered the drinking water supply of up to 300,000 residents in the Charleston, West Virginia area unusable.  This represents a massive water contamination situation that has had a steady place in news cycles for nearly a week.

With all the coverage and confusion, there is bound to be some misinformation about what is currently happening and regarding what West Virginia residents should do when the water contamination situation is given the relative all clear.

If you are a resident of the Charleston, West Virginia area, here is what you need to know. We encourage you to share this with anyone impacted:

1. Drinking Water Restrictions Will Not Be Fully Lifted For Days (As of Tuesday, Jan 14)
As of about 12:30pm EST today, drinking water has been restored to six zones in the Charleston, West Virginia area.  It could be days before all tap water is once again deemed safe.

Curtis Johnson HD covers breaking news for The Herald-Dispatch and is providing details regarding when new zones are being given the all clear via his Facebook and Twitter feed.

2. Why Is It Taking So Long For West Virginia Tap Water Restrictions to be Lifted?
The level of drinking water contamination in West Virginia is unprecedented.  West Virginia American Water is very methodically testing and turning water back on to ensure the greatest level of public safety.

Stocking Up On Safe Drinking Water In West VirginiaMore information and real-time updates can be found on the West Virginia American Water Facebook page.

3. What Will Happen If I Drink Any of the Contaminated Water?
Fortunately, while dozens have sought treatment from local hospitals for nausea and other relatively minor symptoms, no major illnesses have been reported.  Unfortunately, neither state nor West Virginia American Water officials are clear on exactly what the health implications are in regards to the contaminated water.

“Most people did not know a whole lot about this chemical [4-methylcyclohexane methanol or MCHM],” West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said Sunday. “We’ve had to do a lot of research.”

Freedom Industries, the company that stored the chemical indicated that is has a low toxicity.  However, Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water states that his agency cannot definitively say that drinking water is safe.

If you drank or were exposed to any tap water in West Virginia since Friday and are suffering from any symptoms including headaches or nausea, it is recommended that you call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 and consult with a doctor or physician as soon as possible.

4. Where Can I Get Drinking Water While I Am Waiting For Restrictions To Be Lifted?
The National Guard is manning several drinking water drop-off and distribution sites, a listing of which can be found on the WCHS website.

Note that in order to receive water, you will need to bring your own containers, plastic water bottles or pitchers, per information provided by West Virginia American Water.

Water Flushing Instructions for West Virginia5. What Do I Do When My Drinking Water Is Turned Back On?
Once your water service is restored, it is recommended that you flush your water lines as soon as possible.  The Charleston Daily Mail provides instructions for how to flush drinking water systems while the Herald-Dispatch provides details on what other appliances should be flushed, including icemakers and dishwashers.

Both West Virginia American Water and the Center For Disease Control also urge all impacted residents to change all water filters currently in use as soon as possible after this contamination situation ends – including refrigerator and icemaker water filters, faucet water filters, filters used in water pitchers or dispensers, reverse osmosis filters and shower filters.

All products linked to above are available at DiscountFilterStore.com – and all orders will ship within one day of order placement.  Through this month, we are also offering free shipping to all West Virginia residents.  Just use the code WV at checkout.

6. My Water Is Back On But It Still Has A Funny Smell and Is Discolored.  Is it safe?
Per information provided by West Virginia American Water, the rapid increase in water flow – common when water restrictions are lifted – can stir sediment within the main lines and create discolored water conditions. Odors, meanwhile – (ie a distinct ‘licorice’ smell) can be detected at levels far below the level that the CDC determines is protective of public health.

If you have any additional questions regarding the chemical spill and drinking water contamination in West Virginia, we would encourage you to visit the West Virginia American Water website for real-time updates.

We will also continue to link to relevant updates from our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.

The Great Mystery Revealed: Does Water Have a Taste?


What does water taste like? It’s a simple question, but a quick trip to Google tells me that everyone has a different idea of exactly what water tastes like. My search uncovered a wide range of responses from some of the internet’s top flavor detectives and included…

the expected:  “it tastes like water” and “it has no taste”

the more scientific: “the taste depends on what was dissolved in it”

the outright humorous: “Liquefied boring” and “Mundane in a glass”

and my personal favorite: “One Atom Hydrogen, Two Atoms Oxygen. Shaken Not Stirred”

Healthy-child-drinking-water

Obviously, there isn’t a clear consensus on what exactly water tastes like, but there is definitely a growing market for flavored water. In addition to bottles of flavored water like Aquafina’s Flavor Splash, many companies offer flavor packets that can be added to water anywhere you go to improve the taste. Kraft foods, the second largest food and Beverage Company in the world, recently launched their line of MiO flavor dispensers, hoping to break into what is now a billion dollar market for flavored water.

Floating-dollar-signDrinking water is the best way to stay hydrated and it should also be the cheapest, but when you add in the cost of adding flavor packets or buying fancy bottles with a hint of fruit flavoring it actually becomes more expensive than soda. Why are consumers paying more to add flavor to their water? The answer would seem to be that even though we aren’t really sure what water tastes like, we have decided that we don’t like the way water tastes.

This is primarily because most tap water is disinfected with chlorine, which adds an unpleasant taste and odor to the water, and often has dissolved minerals and organic material that can adversely affect the flavor of water. The unpleasant taste of tap water is one of the main reasons the bottled water industry grew so quickly and helps to explain the new fad for flavored water.

The easiest way to improve the quality of your tap water is by filtering out the chlorine and other contaminants that cause the poor taste. You would be amazed at how much better your tap water will taste with just a simple filter, like this GXULQ system from GE, installed under the kitchen sink.

Of course, variety is the spice of life and you may find you still want to add a little flavor to your water. Instead of spending a lot of hard earned cash on single-use packets why not try making your own flavored water. Adding a little mint or citrus is easy to do and is a fun way to enhance the flavor of filtered water.

Citrus-and-mint-flavored-drink

Once you have perfected your masterpiece, why not share your favorite flavor recipes with us on Facebook? We would love to hear what you do to make your water taste great!

DiscountFilterStore Real Customer Reviews : “Blown away at the customer service!”


We love to hear from our customers and this review from Brian T. of Liberty Township, OH was a particularly nice surprise! Thanks for the great feedback Brian!

5 star customer service

After receiving and installing two of the off-brand discount filters (I tried the inexpensive versions first) I was pretty disappointnted in the quality of the filtration. The water still smelled and tasted like chlorine, it was almost as bad as having no filter installed at all.

I wrote about it on a review. The store was not an issue, but the filter was less than good. To my amazement, a few days after the review was written, the store credited me for the purchase @ 100%!! I didn’t even ask for this!

I immediately went out and bought the more expensive PUR filters from them. They work great. This is the kind of great customer service that’s missing from most retailers in today’s internet world. They didn’t have to do this, but they did it because it was the right thing to do.

I’ll order my fridge filters from these folks from now on. Great store, good prices, and proactive customer focused support. What a breath of fresh air.

- Brian T.

How to find the best value on refrigerator filters


ukf8001 filter comparison

You knew it was time to replace that 10 year old refrigerator so you spent the time to look around at consumer reports and picked out the perfect fridge. Now 6 months later the light comes on telling you it’s time to replace your water filter. This is the part your refrigerator research did not prepare you for…buying a new fridge filter. Many of the top refrigerator models on the market use expensive filter cartridges for the ice and water dispenser.

The good news is that these premium quality water filters also tend to remove more impurities from your water, but that doesn’t make them any less expensive. A good example would be Maytag’s UKF8001 (formerly known as the PuriClean II) which is a great filter, but one that comes with a high price tag. If your refrigerator uses a UKF8001 filter you can save money and buy a compatible filter. A compatible off brand, like the EcoAqua EFF-6007A, is one of the best ways to save money when it’s time to replace your filter.

So if you are looking for a way to get the best value out of your water filter I recommend looking around to see if there is a compatible off brand for your fridge. At DiscountFilterStore you can find compatible filters to match a wide variety of refrigerator models. In most cases these filters will remove the same contaminants from your drinking water and last just as long. The only real difference is that you get to keep a little extra money in your pocket.