Do I Need A UV Disinfection System?


E Coli Outbreak Map from CDCIf you are considering a UV disinfection system for your home or business, you undoubtedly have a whole list of questions.  As such a system oftentimes requires a larger upfront investment, you may have questions related to UV disinfection system cost.

You may also have questions related to how UV disinfection system technology works, its level of efficiency and whether a UV system is truly more effective than disinfectant chemicals such as chlorine.

While the questions above are valid ones that we’ll try to answer below, the true determination regarding whether you need such a system can better be expressed in a checklist format, rather than an FAQ.  For your reference, we’ve created just such a checklist Continue reading

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in both West Virginia and New York, the earliest stages of a drinking water emergency will be filled with instantly outdated news coverage, anger and confusion.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!

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.