Big Berkey Water Filters

  • Rainwater & Stormwater Harvesting for Climate Resilience

    Past weather records and future climate projections show that freshwater resources are extremely vulnerable to climate change. As global temperatures are expected to rise further still, together with a shift in rainfall patterns, both water availability and water quality are likely to be adversely affected.

    A Note on Berkey: When if comes to harvesting and filtering rain water, we caution that that the Berkey may not be tested for all the ground and/or roofing materials the water may be coming in contact with.  As a result, we recommend the end-user make an effort determine this potential water contact and compare this to what the Berkey has been tested to remove.

    Changes in rainfall patterns will significantly alter stream flow rates. Lower rainfall will cause runoff events to occur less frequently, and the amount of water that runs off surfaces into streams on these occasions will be much less. In addition, some areas may experience more frequent or extended periods of drought, resulting in drier soils and a reduced annual stream flow in those catchments. Sporadic flooding events may increase peak flow rates, while changes in wet season may alter the timing of peak flow. All the above factors will adversely impact the availability and quality of water, as well as the reliability of the water supply for meeting the water demands of various sectors that depend on that supply for their livelihood or survival. Clearly we need to make a plan if we hope to survive in the future ahead. So what are our options?

    Collecting raw water froma   stream. Harvesting ground water.

    Essentially there are two main sources of runoff that can be harvested for reuse: runoff from roofs (roof water), and runoff from ground surfaces (storm water). There are subtle differences in both the quality and microbial composition of these sources, as well as they way in which they are harvested. Rainwater harvested from roof tops is typically decentralized, where individual homeowners take responsibility for managing the collection, storage and treatment of rainwater collected off the roofs of the structures on their property. By comparison, the collection, storage and treatment of storm water in large surface or underground reservoirs for reuse takes a centralized approach.

    Harvesting rainwater can reduce a household's water consumption by as much as a third, particularly if this water is used inside the home rather than purely for outdoor use — that's a substantial water saving that also equates to significant financial savings when the household water bill arrives. If every home were to harvest rainwater, overall consumption would be significantly reduced, alleviating pressure on stressed water resources.

    Untreated rainwater poses a very low health risk when used for non-potable purposes. While health studies suggest the health risks of ingesting untreated rainwater are low, harmful pathogens or chemicals can potentially be washed- or leached off roof surfaces to contaminate the water. It is therefore advisable to filter or treat harvested rainwater appropriately before using it for drinking.

    A major constraint in centralized storm water harvesting is the availability of suitably large spaces to store large volumes of water collected from sporadic rainfall events. This is particularly problematic in densely populated urban areas where vacant real estate is scarce and consequently in high demand, and where large spaces typically have large price tags.

    An alternative is to utilize existing underground aquifers to store storm water that has been appropriately treated. Or to put it another way, to recharge existing groundwater supplies with treated storm water — a practice referred to as 'managed aquifer recharge' (MAR). Essentially, it involves channeling treated storm water or wastewater into natural underground aquifers, which speeds up the rate at which groundwater supplies are recharged. This groundwater is then available for reuse as and when needed.

    As storm water harvesting is a relatively new concept, there are very few scientifically based guidelines on storm water reuse and good practice to protect public health. Considering that all manner of pollutants can wash off roads and pavements to enter the stormwater system, some form of treatment is necessary to ensure public health and safety. The World Heath Organization (WHO) currently has guidelines available for the safe reuse of treated wastewater, but this does not yet include storm water harvesting and reuse. It is imperative that safety guidelines for storm water harvesting are developed and made available so that this relatively untapped and under-utilized resource can be more fully exploited to supplement urban water supplies.

  • Can Berkey Remove Microplastics From Water?

    Microplastics have been found in surface waters across the world, but scientists have only recently begun to examine the extent of these tiny plastic contaminants in groundwater sources. So, does a Berkey remove microplastics? A recent study has just found microplastic fibers in fractured limestone aquifers — groundwater systems that serve as a source of 25% of the world's drinking water.

    Quick Answer: The Black Berkey elements have been tested to remove viruses to the nanometer range which suggests that contaminants much larger in size, such as plastic fibers should also be removed. However, since actual testing of plastic fibers has not yet been conducted, we cannot officially make that claim.

    Does Berkey Remove Microplastics Does Berkey Remove Microplastics? A zoomed in picture of a microplastic found in drinking water.

    The study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Groundwater, found microplastic fibers, as well as an array of medicinal and other common household pollutants, in two Illinoisan aquifer systems.

    "Plastic in the environment breaks down into microscopic particles that can end up in the guts and gills of marine life, exposing the animals to chemicals in the plastic," explained John Scott, a research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and co-author of the study. "As the plastics break down, they act like sponges that soak up contaminants and microbes and can ultimately work their way into our food supply."

    Water seeps through fissures and cracks in limestone, and may also carry sewage and runoff containing contaminants from roadways, agricultural land and landfills into underground aquifers, Scott explained.

    For the study, the scientists analyzed 17 groundwater samples collected from springs and wells supplied by highly fractured limestone aquifers — 11 of which were located in close proximity to the St. Louis metropole, while 6 were located in outlying rural areas of northwestern Illinois.

    Sixteen of the seventeen samples analyzed were contaminated with microplastic fibers. According to the study, the sample with the highest concentration — containing 15.2 microplastic fibers per liter — came from a spring situated near St. Louis. However, according to Scott, because no risk assessment studies have been undertaken and microplastic levels in drinking water are not regulated, determining the health implications of those concentrations presents somewhat of a challenge.

    On comparing the concentrations of microplastics in groundwater samples with that of surface waters nearby, the researchers found that the concentrations were similar to levels found in streams and rivers in and around Chicago.

    Does Berkey Water Filter Remove Microplastics? A Diagram of how Microplastics are created. Does Berkey Water Filter Remove Microplastics? A Diagram of how Microplastics are created.

    Upon examining the samples the scientists identified various personal health and other common household contaminants as well as microplastic fibers, suggesting that microplastics may originate from household onsite wastewater treatment systems.

    Polyester fibers are shed when clothing is washed, and make their way into the septic system with laundry water. From there they can potentially leach through soils with wastewater effluent, ultimately ending up in the groundwater, particularly in aquifers such as these where surface water tends to interact more readily with groundwater

    This study is the first of its kind and is only the tip of the iceberg, says Scott, who anticipates that microplastic contamination of both surface and groundwater systems will continue to be an issue for many years ahead.

    "Even if we quit plastics cold turkey today, we will still deal with this issue for years because plastic never really goes away," Scott said. "It is estimated that 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste have been produced since the 1940s, and 79 percent of that is now in landfills or the natural environment. To me, it is such a weird concept that these materials are intended for single use, yet they are designed to last forever."

    The problem is that these tiny microscopic plastic contaminants don't just last forever in the environment, they get into our food and water supplies, and ultimately into our bodies where they can potentially pose a health risk.

    So Does Berkey Remove Microplastics?

    Since the Black Berkey elements can reduce viruses down to the nanometer scale, in the tested range of 24-26 nanometers.

    24-26 nanometers is .024 to .026 microns…in other words, much smaller than the plastic particles being found in water.

    The Berkey elements have been tested to remove viruses to the nanometer range which suggests that contaminants much larger in size, such as plastic fibers should also be removed. However, since actual testing of plastic fibers has not yet been conducted, we cannot officially make that claim.

    Journal Reference

    Samuel V Panno, et al. Microplastic Contamination in Karst Groundwater Systems. Groundwater. January 2019. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12862

  • How Bad is Lead, and How do I Know if my Drinking Water is Contaminated?

    Lead is one of the most common drinking water contaminants. It is also one of the most harmful. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can get into drinking water from the environment, for example by leaching through contaminated soil into underground aquifers, rivers and other water bodies that serve as a drinking water supply, or by leaching from lead water pipes and fittings used to distribute the water to our homes.

    Lead is toxic to everyone, even at low levels, but pregnant women, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable. Yet, according to Healthy Babies Bright Futures, one out of every six households' drinking water contains more lead than what is deemed safe to feed bottle-fed babies with, and it was found in the drinking water of 80% of homes tested.

    Side Note: All Berkey filter systems equipped with the black berkey filters will remove lead from your drinking water 99.9%+ .

    1280px-Sources_of_Lead_in_Drinking_Water_-_EPA_2017 How do I Know if my Drinking Water is Contaminated with Lead?

    Adverse Symptoms After Exposure to Lead

    Ingesting high doses of lead can result in lead poisoning, with symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weight loss. Although lead poisoning is relatively uncommon in the US, the long-term health risks from exposure to lower doses, where damage is less visible and therefore goes undetected, is unfortunately far more common. Health effects associated with long-term exposure to lead include damage to the developing brain, which makes it particularly harmful for developing fetuses and young children, who may suffer lifelong health impacts, including lower intelligence as well as learning and behavioral problems.

    How Do I Know if My Drinking Water Contains Lead?

    Unlike sediment or foul tasting chemicals, lead is not readily detected in drinking water as it does not discolor water or give it an unpleasant taste or odor. The only way to find out whether your water contains lead is to have it tested.

    Healthy Babies Bright Futures are currently offering a limited supply of affordable water testing kits at a reduced price to enable families to test their drinking water for lead. The test kits, which normally sell for $65 (including postage and water testing at Virginia Tech's Environmental Engineering laboratory) can be purchased online for as little as $12 via their website for a limited time only. Purchasers are urged to pay what they can afford, and to consider making a donation to sponsor a test kit so that they can continue to subsidize the test kits for less fortunate families for an extended period.

    What Should you do if your Drinking Water Contains Lead

    If your water supply contains lead you can take measures to reduce it. One simple method often that is touted to help reduce lead in drinking water is to run the tap for 30 seconds or more in order to flush out the water standing in the pipes that may contain leached lead. However, a recent study has shown that unless you run the tap for 6 minutes, which equates to wasting a LOT of precious water, this is unlikely to be very effective at reducing your exposure to lead. The only effective way to remove lead is to use a drinking water filter that is certified capable of removing lead.

  • Water Safety Guidelines for PFAS Vary Depending on Where you Live

    In an effort to address the widespread public health issue related to contamination of drinking water sources with per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals, known as PFAS, a recent study has found that individual states are recommending their own guidelines for two of the key PFAS contaminants, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and these differ from those proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are more likely to protect public health.

    Side Note: The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce Perfluorinated Chemicals by over 99.9% (PFOA, PFOS, PFAA contaminants).  Berkey water filter Perfluorinated Chemical test results can be found here.

    The study's findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, highlight the urgent need to more stringent limitations on these harmful chemicals in drinking water together with enforceable drinking water standards to safeguard public health of millions of consumers across the country whose drinking water supply has been contaminated with these pollutants.

    Water Safety Guidelines for PFAS Vary Depending on Where you Live Water Safety Guidelines for PFAS Vary Depending on Where you Live

    PFAS chemicals used in firefighting foams, non-stick cookware, stain repellents, as well as other industrial applications since the mid 1900s can leach through soils into groundwater or through runoff into freshwater systems, ultimately making their way into- and contaminating drinking water supplies. The original source of the this contamination is often military/air-force fire-fighting training bases, airports and industrial sites. Although these chemicals have since been phased out in the US due to the associated health concerns, they are still used in products manufactured outside of the US, and they persist in the environment where they continue to pose a health risk.

    More than twenty-five communities across the country have been exposed to these harmful industrial chemical contaminants via their drinking water. Furthermore, the US military has identified around 400 military sites that are contaminated with PFAS largely due to extensive use of firefighting foam at these locations.

    PFAS chemicals have been associated with several health risks, including an increased risk of cancer, thyroid disease, as well as developmental problems. Yet, shockingly, there are still no federal drinking water standards for this harmful contaminant.

    "In the absence of federal standards, states are developing their own guidelines, using different approaches to determine what a safe level in drinking water should be," explains Dr. Laurel Schaider, an environmental chemist at the Silent Spring Institute and co-author of the study.

    In order to gain a clearer understanding of the differences in how federal and state regulators viewed the problem, the researchers identified states that have introduced guidelines pertaining to PFAS levels in drinking water, together with recommended remedial steps needed should these contaminants be present at unsafe levels. They then compared these state guidelines to health advisories issued by the EPA for the same contaminants.

    The study reveals seven states that have introduced their own guidelines for PFOA and PFOS chemicals in drinking water, three of which (Minnesota, New Jersey and Vermont) have set the levels for these contaminants lower than those recommended by the EPA (a further three states — California, New Hampshire and New York — have proposed lower levels since this paper was published, bringing the total to six). The recommended guidelines for PFAS chemicals also vary greatly from state to state. While the EPA recommends that the maximum combined level of PFOA and PFOS should not be higher than 70 nanograms per liter, levels recommended by different states range from a slow as 13 nanograms per liter in New Jersey to 1,000 nanograms per liter in North Carolina.

    States that recommend more prudent levels of PFAS in drinking water typically took additional health risks, which were not considered by the EPA, into account.

    "Assessments by multiple states and academic scientists suggest that EPA's health advisory for drinking water is not sufficiently protective," explains lead author, Alissa Cordner. "Previous studies in children exposed to PFOS have shown effects on immune function at lower exposures than EPA's drinking water advisory levels. The most sensitive toxicological endpoints--altered mammary gland development and suppressed immune function--were not the basis for EPA's health advisories but were used by a small number of states."

    "There are currently no federal drinking-water standards for PFOA and PFOS, despite widespread drinking water contamination, ubiquitous population-level exposure, and toxicological and epidemiological evidence linking it to various diseases," says Cordner. "Because of this, public water entities are not required by law to routinely test whether contaminant levels in water exceed EPA's health advisory and state agencies are not empowered to enforce cleanup."

    Journal Reference

    Cordner, A., V.Y. De La Rosa, L.A Schaider, R.A. Rudel, L. Richter, P. Brown. 2019. Guideline Levels for PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water: The Role of Scientific Uncertainty, Risk Assessment Decisions, and Social Factors. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1038/s41370-018-0099-9

  • Does Running Your Faucet Reduce Lead Concentrations in Drinking Water?

    A study led by researchers from the Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Public Health, supported by colleagues from Tulane University, Virginia Tech and Corona Environmental Consulting, has found that the currently recommended method of flushing lead from pipes by letting water run before consuming it DOES NOT provide a consistently effective method of protecting children from exposure to lead via drinking water.

    The results of the study, which was recently published in the  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that rather than reducing exposure, the opposite may in fact be the case, as it MAY INCREASE exposure to lead.

    Does Running Your Faucet Reduce Lead Concentrations in Drinking Water? Does Running Your Faucet Reduce Lead Concentrations in Drinking Water?

    According to lead author, Adrienne Katner, an Assistant Research Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at LSU, flushing water lines according to the current guidelines (half a minute to two minutes) may reduce lead levels in water in some homes, however, more than half of the homes tested had peak levels of lead in their water after flushing for that length of time. Consequently, flushing taps for the recommended time may inadvertently increase the likelihood of being exposed to lead in drinking water. Dr Katner recommends that more effective lead prevention interventions, such as certified high-end water filters like the Berkey (99.9% removal rate), would be more effective in reducing exposure to lead, particularly for families who do not have the finances to replace lead pipes and plumbing.

    The researchers interviewed homeowners and sampled water from 376 homes located on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, New Orleans, from February 2015 - November 2016. The homes in the study were selected due to their potential to have lead present in their drinking water. Water samples were tested by scientists from Virginia Tech. These included samples from the first cold water draw off; first hot water draw off; and water drawn after letting taps run for 30-45 seconds, 2.5-3 minutes or 5.5-6 minutes.

    Lead levels in New Orleans drinking water were generally low compared to the EPA safety standard of 15 parts per billion (ppb) set for lead. The test results from the water samples analyzed showed lead levels in drinking water were 5 ppb in 88% of the homes tested. More than 50% of the samples had detectable levels of lead (at levels of 1 ppb or higher). Lead levels in the water samples ranged from less than 1 ppb (undetectable) to 58 ppb in samples collected after flushing the pipes for 30-45 seconds. Lead levels in water did not differ significantly in the samples flushed for longer periods until the six-minute mark was reached, whereafter lead levels declined.

    Yet, while the percentage of water samples where lead levels exceeded 1 ppb did decrease when flushed for an extended period of 5.5-6 minutes,  Dr Katner points out that the lead reductions observed were not always significant enough to reduce lead exposure in children. If the goal is to prevent lead exposure in children completely, or even to reduce lead levels to the minimum detectable level of 1 ppb recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians, then New Orleans may need to consider a more proactive measures rather than flushing if they wish to achieve this.

    "We could not verify that a one-time flush is sufficient to maintain low water lead levels," notes Dr Katner. "Some studies evaluating flushing at school taps suggest frequent flushes may be needed throughout the day, as waterborne lead can return to pre-flush levels within hours. Prolonged and repeated flushing may also not be practical, cost-effective, or sustainable over the long term, especially in cities with declining water resources and/or rising water rates."

    The researchers conclude that public health notifications and recommendations should be updated to ensure consumers flush their water pipes appropriately, and these should also acknowledge the short-comings and limitations of using this method for reducing lead exposure in drinking water.  A water filter system is highly recommended as a fail safe to protect homes who believe they are being exposed to lead.

    Journal Reference

    Katner, A.; Pieper, K.; Brown, K.; Lin, H.-Y.; Parks, J.; Wang, X.; Hu, C.-Y.; Masters, S.; Mielke, H.; Edwards, M. Effectiveness of Prevailing Flush Guidelines to Prevent Exposure to Lead in Tap WaterInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1537. DOI:10.3390/ijerph15071537

  • What are Trihalomethanes & Does the Berkey Remove THM's?

    Short Answer: Yes, the berkey water filter systems equipped with the standard black berkey filters WILL remove THM (Trihalomethanes) from the water to below lab detectable limits!

    Trihalomethanes, or THMs as they commonly referred to, are four chemicals that together with other types of disinfection byproducts form as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs between chlorine (or similar disinfectants that are added to drinking water to kill harmful microbes) and organic and inorganic material that may be present in the water.

    The four THMs — bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, tribromomethane (bromoform) and trichloromethane (chloroform) — are regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule, with a maximum allowable yearly average of all four THM chemicals combined (i.e. total trihalomethane levels) set at 80 parts per billion (ppb).

    What are Trihalomethanes (THMs) & Does the Berkey Remove Them?  Water disinfection process shown. What are Trihalomethanes (THMs) & Does the Berkey Remove Them? Water disinfection process shown.

    Health Risks Associated with Exposure to THMs

    All four THM chemicals are by products of the chlorination process, which is employed in an effort to rid drinking water from pathogens and make it safe for us to drink. However, THMs are carcinogenic and laboratory experiments have shown that they cause cancer in animals. Of the four THM chemicals, dibromochloromethane poses the greatest cancer risk (0.6 ppb increases the cancer risk by 10-6 ), followed by Bromoform (at 4 ppb), and Chloroform, the most common THM found in drinking water (at 6 ppb).

    Other health concerns associated with THM exposure include damage to liver, kidneys, bladder and central nervous system. Studies also show a link between THM exposure and disorders of the reproductive system, including disruption of the menstrual cycle, infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects.

    But the risk is not limited to drinking tap water alone. A study which was published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives confirms that bathing and showering are both significant sources of THM exposure, and even inhaling steam from a family member's shower or conducting activities such as dish washing by hand can expose a person to THMs.

    What are Trihalomethanes (THMs) & Does the Berkey Remove Them? Municipal water facility shown. What are Trihalomethanes (THMs) & Does the Berkey Remove Them? Municipal water facility shown.

    How to Remove THMs in Water with a Berkey Water Filter

    According to the Water Research Center, THM concentrations tend to rise with temperature, pH, and time, and are also influenced by the level of organic precursors that react with chlorine to form THMs that are present in the water. Consequently, in order to reduce THM levels, it would be prudent for water treatment facilities to reduce or eliminate chlorinating the water before it passes through the filters, and to filter out the precursors that react with chlorine before chlorine is added to the water to disinfect it.

    Consumers can also take their own measures to reduce their exposure to THMs. Activated carbon filters, such as the Big Berkey filters fitted with Black Berkey filter cartridges remove THMs to undetectable levels, offering the most effective method of removing unwanted thrihalomethanes and other disinfection byproducts as well as chlorine, organic particulates and other harmful contaminants.

  • Does the Berkey Remove Chlorine and Chloramines Your Drinking Water?

    Does the Berkey remove Chlorine and Chloramines from drinking water? The short answer is Yes! The Berkey will remove chlorine to undetectable levels and chloramines over 99.9% from drinking water.

    But, what are the health effects of these chemicals used to treat drinking water?

    Many water utilities have stopped using chlorine to treat drinking water supplied to consumers, opting to use chloramine as an alternative method of disinfection instead. While chloramine is much less effective as a disinfectant, it does offer some benefits over chlorine treatment. The reason for this switch is two-fold: firstly it is cheaper and easier for utilities to use; and secondly it is more stable than chlorine, meaning that it lasts for longer and is more effective at preventing bacterial regrowth in water networks. But is this a wise decision? Let's have a closer look at some of the health effects associated with the different chemical treatment options.

    Treating Drinking Water with Chlorine

    Drinking water supplied to consumers across the country has historically been disinfected with chlorine during the treatment process. Because chlorine is extremely effective at killing bacteria and viruses, this method of treatment has virtually eradicated waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.

    Does a berkey remove chlorine and chloramines from drinking water?  Yes it does! Does a berkey remove chlorine and chloramines from drinking water? Yes it does!

    However, disinfecting drinking water with chlorine poses some health risks of its own, as not only does it kill harmful pathogens, but it can also react with chemicals commonly found in water and form new chemical compounds, or disinfection byproducts, such as trihalomethanes, which are associated with adverse health risks, including an increased risk of cancer of the bladder, colon and rectum, and possibly also breast cancer.

    And this risk is by no means small. The US Council of Environmental Quality estimates that people who consume chlorinated water have a 93% greater risk of getting cancer than people whose drinking water is not chlorinated.

    Treating Water with Chloramine

    By comparison, chloramine, which is an mixture of chlorine and ammonia, tends to dissipate and evaporate less readily than chlorine, making it a more stable option for treating water systems. However, studies suggest that chloramine increases the rate of deterioration of water infrastructure, degrading pipework fittings and valves. When used in conjunction with lead water pipes or fittings it can cause lead and other heavy metals to leach into the water passing through the pipes.

    Besides promoting the deterioration of pipes that can lead to heavy metals leaching into drinking water, like chlorine, chloramines may form harmful byproducts when they come into contact with naturally occurring organic matter, iodide or bromide during the disinfection process. But the byproducts that form may be even higher than those produced when disinfecting water with chlorine.

    Studies have shown that these byproducts are extremely toxic to cellular tissue in mammals, including humans, and can affect the genetic structure of cells, resulting in mutations or cancer. Other studies have shown that exposure to some byproducts, for example iodoacetic acid, can cause abnormal development in embryonic mice.

    According to a report by Erin Brockovich, "other byproducts resulting from the use of chloramine include the extremely toxic human carcinogens hydrazine and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Both of these chemicals are ingredients used in rocket fuel, and "are a result of the chloramine's combination of ammonia and chlorine, a potentially deadly cocktail," says Brockavich.

    According to Brockovich, when it comes to killing harmful pathogens such as rotaviruses, e-coli bacteria, and polio, chloramine is 200 times less effective compared to chlorine. Which begs the question, do the potential benefits warrant the risk?

    While these chemicals may offer a cheap water treatment solution, the health consequences associated with their use may be costly.

    As a consumer, you might not have much say over which chemical/s your utility uses to treat your drinking water or what byproducts you may be exposed to as a result of their choice. But you do have a choice when it comes to removing these unwanted nasties.

    A good quality home water filter, such as the Berkey range of water filters, can remove chlorine and chloramines, as well as the chemical byproducts they produce. They can also remove any pathogens that may sneak through as a result of inefficient treatment, as well as toxic metals such as lead that may leach from water pipes due to corrosion associated with treatment chemicals. Knowing that your drinking water is free from all these potentially harmful toxins will give you peace of mind that your family is drinking the purest water money can buy.

  • Is Drinking Recycled Sewage Water Really that Gross?

    In a move that will improve the city's water security and make it more resilient to drought, residents of El Paso, Texas, will soon be drinking recycled wastewater.

    According to a recent report by CNN, the city is currently constructing a closed-loop water reticulation system that will recycle and treat sewage effluent, turning it back into potable water — a process known as 'advanced purification' or 'direct potable reuse' in the water treatment industry.

    Recycling wastewater is not new to El Paso or other drought prone urban centers such as Scottsdale, Arizona, Orange County, California and other water-stressed utilities across the US, who currently pump treated sewage water back into aquifers where it will ultimately be used for drinking water. Once water is returned to the aquifer, "it can take about five years for the water to filter through the ground before being pumped back out and treated to the standards of clean drinking water," Gilbert Trejo, chief technical officer at El Paso Water, told CNN.

    Recycled sewage water safe to drink? Recycled sewage water safe to drink?

    But El Paso is now taking this one step further. Instead of returning the treated wastewater back to the aquifer, it will be filtered further before being returned to the drinking water supply network in the closed-loop system.

    According to Trejo, after treatment, "we see this water that's clear and it's of good quality. The next thing for us to do is to take a high-quality water we produce at a state-of-the-art facility and then treat it a little bit more with multiple treatment processes so we can drink it."

    According to an EPA report, the volume of wastewater generated by some large cities represents up to 60% of total volume of water supplied. This can potentially provide a huge resource to water stressed cities such as El Paso that are constantly searching for additional water sources to ensure there is sufficient supply to meet the demand.

    In order to ensure that recycled wastewater is clean and safe to drink, the treated effluent water undergoes several additional filtration steps, including UV and carbon filtration, to remove harmful pathogens and bacteria. In fact, water treated in this manner has been found to contain less contaminants than untreated water from a river, dam or lake.

    But while this may be so, treated sewage water is not widely accepted as a drinking water source, largely due to the 'gross' factor. But the fact of the matter is that anyone who lives downstream from a wastewater treatment discharge point effectively drinks treated wastewater in some form or another. Just one reason why it is wise to treat your drinking water with a good quality water purifier.

    For El Paso and other urban areas located in arid regions where water scarcity is a reality, water utilities do what they have to to provide their customers with a reliable source of drinking water that is safe to drink. This includes advanced purification of sewage water and desalination, which El Paso Water expects will provide 6% and 10% of the city's water supply by 2030 respectively.

    As the world becomes hotter and drier in future, other cities faced with water shortages as a result of increased demand and decreasing water resources may have to follow the same route.

    According to Trejo, "water really is all around us in every city" and we have the technology available that allows us to treat it to a very high standard to make it safe to drink.

  • Berkey Water Filter Scam??

    Before making any online purchase, people will almost always do some background research on the product/s that they are interested in. Shopping for water filters is no exception, and we certainly encourage people to learn more about the different types of water filters out on the market and their capabilities before parting with their hard earned dollars.

    However, while conducting online research of Berkey filters, people may come across a post that refers to a "Berkey Water Filter Scam". So, what's the deal with this? Are Berkey water filters legit or are they indeed a scam?

    The truth is that Berkey water filters have been around for over 20 years and are a top brand that offers high end products of excellent quality.  We specialize in ensuring that you and your family are provided with clean safe drinking water. Let's examine some of the scam claims a little more closely and address some of these issues and doubts.

    Berkey Effectiveness - Sounds Too Good to be True

    The fact that Berkey water filters are able to remove 99.999% of pathogens (including, bacteria, viruses, parasites, cysts and harmful chemicals), as well as a wide range of other toxic contaminants such as chlorine, lead and pesticides that are commonly found in drinking water, without removing minerals necessary to maintain good health, does sound a little too good to be true. Especially considering that it can achieve this without requiring electricity to run; meaning it can deliver safe drinking water during an emergency or when camping in a remote location. But, the truth is it really can — and there are independent certified lab results to support these claims.  It's not magic, but rather a function of using high quality filtration ingredients combined with a slow gravity filter process that helps to provide these great results.

    Berkey Cost - Inexpensive Water Purifier

    Considering that Berkey water filters are able to purify drinking water, they are relatively cheap for what they offer. But being so affordable can do them a disservice leading people to falsely believe that something so inexpensive cannot be a high quality product. But the fact of the matter is Berkey water filters are designed to be affordable due to the lack of moving parts or electronic components, instead making use of gravity to filter out harmful pollutants as the water passes through the filters. But the affordability is not limited to the purchase cost of the equipment alone; they are also very economical to use when compared to their competitors or the cost of purchasing bottled water.

    Berkey Unavailability in Iowa and California

    The Berkey water filter system is not being available in Iowa at all and only a limited selection of Berkey products are available in California. This has caused some consumers to query its effectiveness. But the reason for its unavailability in these two states is due to them requiring additional certifications not required by other states, which at the current time is simply not viable for Berkey to pursue considering the cost of attaining these additional certifications and the potential business having them would generate. So, these are financial/business decisions the company has been forced to make and not as a result of product quality/safety or filtration effectiveness.

    The Bottom Line of a Berkey Water Filter

    The bottom line is that you should never believe everything you read on the internet, including our own statements. By all means do your homework, research products, but don't necessarily take things you read at face value. Everyone will have an opinion, and these may not always be well informed. So, when embarking on a fact-finding mission, delve a little deeper to learn the truth. Berkey water filters are a simple, but revolutionary product that can absolutely offer positive health benefits to you and your family.

    Furthermore, their potability and independence of electricity means that our water filters can be used anywhere, supplying you with a source of pure, healthy water no matter what the circumstances, wherever you may be. But don't just take our word for it, read the many independent Berkey positive reviews from our happy customers who are more than satisfied with their Berkey purchase, which speak volumes.

    If you have questions about the system that you feel are unaddressed or unanswered, please let us know in our comments section below. We take great pride in our filter systems and want to ensure our customers are fully informed about all aspects of our business.

  • Comparing a Berkey Water Filter vs Brita

    Comparing a Berkey Water Filter vs Brita  - When purchasing a home water filtration system, the options available can be confusing. Many of the popular home water filters vary drastically in price, and one may be tempted to opt for the cheaper product.

    But before making any rash online purchase decisions, it is wise to get up to speed with the capabilities of water filter/s you are interested in, as well as the long-term costs associated with each product and compare these before adding products to your online cart and checking out.

    Impulsively opting for a cheaper product may not only result in purchasing an inferior product, but it may actually end up costing you far more in the long run.

    The Berkey range of drinking water filters fall into the top end range due to their superior design, construction and filtering capabilities. Yet, compared to the ever popular Brita pitcher filters they are quite pricey. But, is all as it seems?

    Let's compare the berkey vs brita from these two manufacturers to check out how much bang your are getting for your buck.

    Maximum Holding Capacity

    Berkey offers a wide range of water filters ranging from the small Travel Berkey filter that are capable of filtering up to 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters) of water at a time to the large Crown Berkey water filter that can filter 6 gallons at a time, meaning that with a Berkey filter on hand you will always have a ready supply of fresh drinking water, no matter where on earth you are. Berkey water filter systems come with a lifetime warranty — always a good indicator that a manufacturer believes wholeheartedly in their product.

    The Brita range of water filters for home use are currently available in pitcher and dispenser sizes, and the largest Brita filter is only capable of filtering 80 ounces (0.5 gallons/2.3 liters) of water at a time. So, if you have a thirsty family, you may have to wait a while for more fresh water to be on hand.

    Annual Filter Replacement Costs

    In many cases, the cost of a water filter system is misleading, as higher running costs can inflate the overall costs quite significantly, and a cheap filter may end up being not so cheap after all.

    Good quality water filters that are fitted with superior filter elements typically have a longer lifespan resulting in long-term savings that many consumers don't consider when making their purchase. The cost of replacement filters can quickly mount up over time, so this an important aspect to take into account when choosing a home water filter system.

    While the initial cost of a Berkey water filter may be higher than its competition, the cost of replacement filters needs to be factored into the equation. Unlike Brita water pitchers which need to have their filters replaced regularly (every 4-8 weeks), Berkey filters keep doing their thing for years before they need to be replaced. So when it comes to operating costs, Berkey filters are MUCH more affordable.

    Below is a breakdown of the costs associated with the berkey water filter vs brita (and potential savings if you opt for a Berkey):



    10 Cup Brita Plastic Pitcher 10 Cup Brita Plastic Pitcher

    Big Berkey (most popular Berkey size)


    The Big Berkey Water Filter - 2.25 Gallon System The Big Berkey Water Filter - 2.25 Gallon System

    Compared to a Brita water filter, a Big Berkey system fitted with a set of Black Berkey filter elements could conservatively save you $127 or more over the 11-year lifespan of the filter elements, before they would need to be replaced. These are conservative estimates; depending on your water consumption, the savings could be much, much higher. And if you are currently drinking bottled water, switching to a Berkey filter could literally save you thousands of dollars over an 11 year period!

    Filtering Capability

    If you are shopping for a water filter, it stands to reason that you want to remove potential contaminants that may be present in your drinking water. It's safe to say, the list of contaminants that can be removed should play an important role in influencing your decision.

    Unlike Brita filters, the Berkey water filter systems fitted with Black Berkey filter elements have been tested and proven to remove pathogens (bacteria and viruses) to > 99.9999%, as well as a wide range of hazardous contaminants typically found in drinking water. While Brita filters can remove some common pharmaceutical pollutants, they are not capable of removing many common drinking water contaminants including viruses, and rather are only able to reduce some of these levels. So, effectively many contaminants that are removed by a Berkey, are not removed at all by the Brita, or are still present and just at lower concentrations.  So, you must be aware that the Brita is not protecting you and your family to the same degrees as the Berkey.

    A more detailed contaminant removal comparison between the Berkey and Brita can be found here.

    Verdict: Brita or Berkey?

    Brita home water filters continue to be extremely popular, largely due to their affordability. But, when the overall costs together with their filtering capabilities are compared side by side, Berkey water filter systems stand out as being far superior in terms of their affordability and quality.

    When you purchase a Berkey you can rest assured you are investing in a top quality water filter that will continue to supply your family with the safest drinking water for years to come without breaking the bank.

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