Category Archives: Drinking Water Emergency Preparedness

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.

Please 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.

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

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.

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

Are You Prepared For A Drinking Water Emergency?


No Clean Drinking Water In West VirginiaWe’ve achieved the enviable distinction in this country of having safe drinking water whenever we turn on the tap.  While water filters will help to refine and improve taste, there are very few instances where we find our water to be undrinkable.

Until recently, of course.

Earlier this year, coverage of the MCHM chemical spill in West Virginia and E. Coli contamination of water tankers in New York has brought into shocking light just how unprepared most of us our for a drinking water emergency.  Thousands in these states are now learning just how upside down and difficult life can truly become when clean drinking water is no longer a given.

The question, then, is there anything that we can do to prepare ourselves for future drinking water emergencies?  Fortunately, yes.  Brought about in seemingly equal parts by camping fads, survival prepping movements and the need to provide clean drinking water to those in more impoverished parts of the world, there is seemingly no shortage on water filters and filtration products that can be trusted when a situation becomes a full-blown emergency.

Drinking Water Emergency Early Stages: Testing
As seen in both West Virginia and New York, the earliest stages of a drinking water emergency will be filled with instantly outdated news coverage, anger and confusion.  Perhaps the biggest unknown, seen particularly in West Virginia, will be just how far the emergency has spread.

In these instances, water test kits will be some of your strongest allies.

WaterWorks Handheld UV LightOn our site, we are happy to offer water test kits designed to test for bacteria, lead and more.  We are even happy to offer the Handheld Ultraviolet Light, shown to the left, that can instantly help detect the presence of coliform or E. Coli.

While these tests are by no means fool-proof, and should never take the place of having your water professionally tested if you feel as though there may be a significant risk to your health, these kits can help you to quickly identify some of the more major contamination issues.

As a note, if you pull your water from a private well, it is recommended that you test your drinking water once or twice per year, typically in spring and fall when organic contaminants become more common.

Drinking Water Emergency Middle Stages: A Run on Bottled Water
As confusion turns to panic, stores will see run on bottled water.  As the MCHM contamination incident in West Virginia grew worse, emergency shipments of bottled water needed to be trucked in and distributed by the National Guard.

W9330229 Doulton Undersink Filter HousingIn the case of the West Virginia situation, we do need to take time to indicate that any water filters or filtration product that we sell – even those designed for emergencies – are not certified to reduce MCHM, as so little is known about this chemical.  But there are several types of water filters and filtration systems that are certified to reduce more well known, but just as potentially dangerous, water contaminants.

Manufacturer Doulton offers ceramic water filters that are certified to reduce up to 99% of harmful bacteria, including the E. Coli bacteria that is currently plaguing New Yorkers, that fit compactly into an undersink filtration system housing like the one shown to the left.  Apart from the housing and filter, you’ll just need some O-rings and lubricant to get yourself set-up.

Another option is a filtration system from Katadyn, including a microfilter system, that has quickly become a go-to brand for campers and survival preppers.  Katadyn also offers the only water purification bottle registered by the EPA for complete anti-microbial protection.

Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier BottleFinally, there are purification systems offered by Berkey, including travel purification systems that are easy to pack and portable water purification bottles that are easy to grab and go, that are among the most advanced filtration systems on the market today.  Both types of systems have been tested to filter virtually contaminants from even the most stagnant sources of water.

Drinking Water Emergency Late Stages: Go Military
Fortunately, a long-term drinking water emergency where water is undrinkable for months is a fairly unlikely event.  Even the unprecedented chemical spill in West Virginia had cleared within a matter of weeks giving way to water once again safe to drink (though the definition of ‘safe’ is still under debate.)

In the event that we do find ourselves in a long-term drinking water emergency, the types of systems recommended above will remain some of your best friends and strongest allies.  But another ally you could call upon, provided you acquired them in advance, are water purification tablets, like the military grade tablets from Aquamira below.

Aquamira Water Purification TabletsWater purification tablets have a long shelf life, are light and small enough to fit into nearly any pack, and in the case of  Aquamira, are EPA certified to reduce bacteria, cysts and viruses.  They can even help your water to taste better, which will be a welcome creature comfort should you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Have you prepared yourself, your home or your family for a drinking water emergency?  If so, we’d love to hear more about what steps you’ve taken via a comment below.

If you are interested in buying emergency water filtration products, or building a water filtration system in your home, we would encourage you 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+ 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!