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Big Berkey Water Filters

  • Water Shortage In the Midst of a Flood? Berkey to the Rescue!

    As bizarre as it might seem on the surface, recent flooding on the Cumberland River in Tennessee has caused the mayor to ask people to cut their water usage. “If you don’t need a bath, don’t take it,” he pleaded.

    The problem is not that the Nashville area is short of water. That is obvious after thirteen inches of rain over the weekend in early May, 2010 as pictures show expensive homes, cars, and property submerged with damage in the billions of dollars. No, the problem is a lack of clean and safe potable water. Often with flooding comes damage to the water distribution piping systems that feed the homes. This includes both city water and well water systems. When disease-infected or contaminated water mixes potable water, the result is of course, unsafe water.

    Nashville Neighborhood Under Water Nashville Neighborhood Under Water

    We all know that we are totally dependent on safe water for survival. We can live fifty or sixty days without food, but only a few days without water. Lack of potable water is one of the world's biggest threats to human health. Everything about the functioning of our bodies requires water; the digestive system, nervous system, reproductive system, etc, and every cell in our bodies contains water.

    Therefore, even in prosperous America, a crisis such as the one being experienced in Tennessee demands fresh, clean water for survival. Some residents are relying on whole house filter systems, reverse osmosis, or distillation to provide safe water. However, these systems do not operate when a power source is not available. And in the case of the Nashville flood, many parts of the city and towns have been without power for weeks. During these instances, those with gravity water filters are still able to produce clean purified water.

    Flooding in Nashville Flooding in Nashville

    A gravity filter such as the Berkey filter works on a simple principle. The water is poured into an upper chamber and cannot get to the bottom chamber without passing through the black berkey filter element.  The amazing adsorbing properties of the combination of over 6 different types of  filtration media removes heavy metals, chlorine and chlorine compounds, volatile organic compounds, and pathogenic bacteria. In short, the unsafe water poured into the top is rendered safe just seconds later when it reaches the bottom reservoir.

    So, in times of flood or boil advisories remember; a Berkey water filter will be able to filter this water, remove and dangerous bacteria, and make it potable for drinking.

    Affected Tennessee residents are facing a long road to recovery and we should support them by any means possible as it will be weeks and months of cleaning up to get their lives back to normal. It's important that the rest of us take heed to the challenges they are facing and understand that a Berkey water filter means safe drinking water in a crisis such as this.

  • A Berkey Customer's Commentary On Their City Water Report

    The residents of our city of a little over 60,000 just received their water quality report for last year. If you're on city water, I recommend you check your own city’s water quality report. The report begins, “The report has been prepared to meet the requirements of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) adopted by Congress and to provide our customers with information about their municipal water system.” The report is fairly complete and easy to read.

    Our city is on a major river but the water is not drawn from the river. Instead it is supplied through fifteen wells. Of course, ground water will eventually end up in the river, along with other pollutants so perhaps it is easier to control the quality of well water than river water.

    The city was required to test seven areas and, and our city water passed all of them without a violation. The areas included disinfection byproducts, inorganic contaminants (including heavy metals), microbiological contaminants (such as E. coli), radioactive contaminants (esp. radium), synthetic organic contaminants (pesticides and herbicides), unregulated contaminants (sulfates, chloroform and the like), and volatile organic contaminants.

    The EPA sets standards for about 90 different contaminants but over 2100 different toxins have been identified in drinking water. So it is refreshing to know that the water we trust has been tested and deemed safe according to acceptable standards. A troubling part of the report is this statement: “The state allows us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations are not expected to vary significantly from year to year. Some of our data, though representative, is more than one year old.” I wonder, will they know if a sudden surge in the amount of some contaminant occurs?

    The chart on the next page of the report includes a list of selected pollutants and the level found in the report. The good news is that all were at a safe level. The bad news is that all were present to some level. These included heavy metals such as copper, lead, and nickel, barium, nitrates, coli bacteria, radium, chloroform, sulfates, and others.

    One way to filter my water would be to to distill it, and that would be both expensive and undesirable for it would leave the water tasteless. A certain level of minerals, for example, is needed in our bodies.

    The report also promises that chlorine has been added to disinfect the water, and fluoride has been added for dental purposes. Personally I don’t mind the fluoride, and I understand why chlorine must be added to the water. However, enough has been shown about the ill effects of chlorine on the body to make me shutter.

    For this reason, I am glad I made the choice I did. Some time ago our family purchased a Berkey water filter which relies on a number of different filtration ingredients to remove contaminants. Most all the areas listed as tested, but present in the water report, are covered in the list of substances removed by the water filter. It also removes the chlorine to an undetectable level. Filtering our water is a double assurance that the water we drink and use for cooking is absolutely safe.

  • Berkey Water Filters For Emergency Situations And Daily Health

    Over the past couple decades there has been a growing concern about the quality of the water we drink. This has helped to fuel both the sales of bottled water and home water filters. However, as consumers have become more educated about their drinking water, we've seen a clear movement to greener product choices. Many have recognized that continually buying bottled water becomes very expensive and also has dramatic impacts on the environment, leaving millions upon millions of plastic bottles across our land and in our dumps, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

    Bottles Upon Bottles

    Bottles

    In 2009, for the first time in bottled water history, the bottled water consumption uptrend took a pause, while at the same time there was an even larger increase in home water filter purchases. There are many different types of water filters available on the market these days, but one of the best available for your daily health and emergency situations is the Berkey water filter.

    All Water Filters Not Created Equal

    There are people who think that "a water filter is a water filter," but that could not be farther from the truth. Simply put, there are water filters out there of basic quality, water filters of premium quality, and everything in between. The Black Berkey filter used in all our Berkey systems was specially formulated using the highest quality ingredients in balanced proportions to provide the highest in water purification quality. It' shouldn't come as a shock that the quality of your drinking water and ultimately your health is directly correlated to the quality of the water filter you're using.

    Many water filters on the market today are only capable of filtering treated water. If one were to try filtering untreated water from a source such as a lake or pond using one of these other filters, the end result may be water with residual pathogenic bacteria such as E-coli or Giardia. This is due to the fact that these other water filters use cheaper ingredients, is part of the reason why they need frequent replacements, and are not designed to remove the dangerous bacteria that is found in many rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds.

    Water Filter For Emergency Preparation

    During an emergency, or even a remote camping trip, treated water may not be available. In this situation, the Berkey water filter shines. The berkey is capable of taking raw water and removing bacteria and cysts to a Log 7 degree, which in lamens terms means water purification, a higher removal level than the term you typically read about; filtration. Even if you've never been camping or ever had a desire to, when an emergency strikes, it can take days and even weeks for an emergency management group to assist with basic needs like water. In these situations, you want to be fully sure your water is purified to the highest degree.

    Flooding in Tennessee

    Flooding

    We have seen plenty of disasters in the United States over the past few years and even more recently around the world in Haiti and Chile. Just this past week we've had massive flooding in Tennessee that has disrupted the majority of well and municipal water sources in that region, and a major Massachusetts water pipe break that cut water availability to 2 Million people. As a result, BigBerkeyWaterFilters.com has experienced a sharp rise in orders for berkey water filters in both of these regions as residents deal with this problem head on. The Berkey water filter will not only keep you and your family supplied with safe drinkable water in events such as these, but can be used to support your friends, neighbors, and other citizens, giving you an opportunity to help others in need.

    Berkey Water Filters For Peace of Mind

    Even if you believe you will never be a victim of a disaster or an emergency situation, the Berkey water filter is still a great choice for daily consumption. Think about it this way; if the berkey water filter is capable of turning raw pond water into something drinkable, then just imagine how clean it will make your well or municipal water. Let's also not forget about the fact that the Berkey does not filter out the beneficial minerals that your body needs. This is something reverse osmosis filters and distillers cannot claim.

    Every time you drink a glass of water, your body washes out toxins, but it also washes out important vitamins and minerals. If you're not putting these vitamins and minerals back into your body at the same rate, you will eventually become deficient and body function will suffer.  Let me reiterate that the more water you drink, the more important it is that you feed your body with a dense nutritional diet high in vitamins and minerals to counterbalance this continual flushing. Berkey water filters leave the beneficial minerals in your water that your body needs.

    The cleaner and healthier your drinking water is, the more your body will love you for it. Start enjoying peace of mind and the health benefits that the lineup of Berkey water filters has provided to countless people over many decades.

  • Gulf Oil Spill - Another Reason To Improve Corporate Environmental Ethical Standards

    Corporations need to start taking more responsibility for their own actions, and if it means backbreaking financial penalties, then so be it. This is fundamental to driving proper corporate environmental ethical behavior that is still sorely lacking across many industries. However, while oil is still spewing out at 200,000 gallons of oil per day, the blame game is already well underway.

    The CEO of BP has been on a PR media campaign taking some responsibility, but more importantly trying to place ultimate accountability on their Oil Rig lessor, Transocean, and Haliburton, who was responsible for capping/pressure control. "We are responsible, not for the accident, but we are responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and cleaning the situation up," chief executive Tony Hayward said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." He said the equipment that failed and led to the spill belonged to owner Transocean Ltd., not BP, which operated the rig, the Deepwater Horizon.

    BP attorneys are well aware that the law caps the company's liability for economic damages - such as lost wages, shortened fishing seasons or lagging tourism damages - at 75 Million according to government regulations, but what should be interesting is the amount of compensation that will be paid out to account for liabilities under the Natural Reserve Damage Assessment.  Under this legislation, there is no payout cap for damages BP is deemed responsible for, and the damages are looking severe.

    The valves that failed at the blowout point are tied into a reservoir that's under extreme pressure, so any hopes of a natural slowdown in leakage from this oil reserve due to lowering reservoir pressure are far off. There will be attempts to release pressure at another drill point, but that event is at least 90 days off, Secretary of the Dept of the Interior, Ken Salazar said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "You're looking at potentially 90 days before you ultimately get to what is the ultimate solution here and that's a relief well."  Three 70 ton relief containment domes to be placed over the leaks may be a success and much of the public is watching how this plays out closely.

    Just last year we had the Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee that was compared to the Exxon Valdez, and now only 16 months later we are experiencing the BP gulf spill. If you pay heed to the opinions of experts in oil rigging, this will wind up being worse than those two environmental disasters combined. Many are not aware that small communities in Alaska are still reeling after the Valdez spill, as oil still lingers on some beaches a full 21 years later. The damage to marine life and birds was devastating and post mortem reports being released just recently later are still finding deeper and deeper layers of environmental damage that is frankly saddening. This will be just as saddening as federal agencies have already banned fishing in large parts of the gulf with local fishermen and related economies feeling the pain.

    BP can attempt to push responsibility onto the contractors equipment and processes that failed, but the highest ethical responsibility needs to be fully placed on those who are reaping the highest financial rewards for harvesting these natural resources. That means BP needs to pay the highest in damages, period. Otherwise a terrible message will be sent, supporting large corporations that are increasingly making a habit of outsourcing their liability to smaller companies. At the end of the day, when things go very wrong, many of these smaller companies do not have the financial deep pockets to pay for these damages, and they essentially become compartmentalized scapegoats. We need and should demand healthy environmental ethical corporate behavior, not the privatization of gains and socialization of losses that we should all be extremely tired of by this point.

  • Nitrates In Drinking Water And It's Health Effects

    Since the 1950’s, farmland (and more recently lawns) have been soaked in nitrogen rich fertilizers. When these fertilizers leach into the surrounding natural water systems, harmful contamination results, and ultimately our drinking water is affected. If you are at risk, you have the ability to protect yourself with a nitrate water filter.

    Though our bodies do not need nitrogen in this gaseous form, plants that we eat, do. In fact, all living systems need nitrogen in some form since the nitrogen is used to build many essential components such as proteins, DNA, RNA, and vitamins, as well as hormones and enzymes. The plants we eat use simple nitrogen such as ammonium nitrate and make complex nitrates such as amino acids and nucleic acids. This latter form of nitrogen we can use. Plants work as ‘mediators’ to take unusable nitrogen and convert it to a usable form for us. However, this also means that some forms of nitrogen that is good for plants can be poison to us.

    Nitrate Pollution From Fertilizers

    You have no doubt noticed three numbers on a bag of fertilizer such as 20-5-10. These numbers relate the percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the bag. This form of nitrogen is great for plants, but when it enters ground water or runs off into streams and rivers, it throws the surrounding ecosystems out of balance and becomes detrimental. Many times this results in the complete destruction of an ecosystem as in the case of large portions of the Chesapeake Bay.

    Nitrogen fertilizers are not the only sources of nitrate pollution in water. Nitrogen rich manure used as fertilizer also pollutes water sources. In addition, nitrate-containing wastes are produced by many industrial processes including paper and munitions manufacturing. Burning of fossil fuels in power plants and cars, SUVs and all internal combustion engines results in the production of nitric acid and ammonia as air pollution. This air pollution eventually can enter our waterways when it takes the form of acid rain and falls back to the earth.

    Nitrate Pollution From Fertilizers Nitrate Pollution From Fertilizers

    Health Effects From Nitrates In Drinking Water

    Methemologlobinemia, also called “blue baby,” is a serious problem caused largely by high nitrate levels in drinking water. These high nitrate levels interrupt the normal body processes of some infants, especially those under six months of age. Nitrate becomes toxic when it is reduced to a nitrite, a process that can occur in the stomach or in the saliva of the infant. Babies are especially susceptible because their stomach juices are weaker and therefore are more likely to permit the production of nitrate-reducing bacteria in their stomachs.

    Nitrite in the blood combines with hemoglobin to form methemoglobin. This reduces the capability of the blood to carry oxygen around the body. The result is the “blue” condition of the baby’s skin. The blue coloring in the skin means the infant is being asphyxiated because oxygen cannot be transported by the blood. If it is observed, medical help should be sought immediately.

    Boiling the water will not reduce the nitrate concentration; in fact, it actually increases the concentration by evaporating the water and thus concentrating the pollutants. Water that is high in nitrates should not be used for preparing infant formula or any food that could be consumed by a baby. Though fatalities are rare, methemoglobinemia can insidiously show no symptoms while it is affecting child or animal development.

  • Uranium Mine Contaminating Groundwater of Jefferson County, Colorado

    The Denver Post has recently reported that an abandoned uranium mine located in Jefferson County, Colorado is contaminating both surrounding groundwater and a creek that serves the Denver's Ralston Water Reservoir. Beneath the Schwartzwalder Mine, Uranium concentrations were found to exceed human health standards by more than 1000 times! Fortunately, the Ralston Reservoir is on temporary leave from serving Denver's drinking water system, but local residents who are on wells in Jefferson County are rightfully nervous about this new development. However, it's not such a new development.

    Colorado regulators were aware of this contamination at least as early as July 2009, with uranium seepage likely underway for a considerable time beforehand, yet neither local residents nor the Denver water authority was notified of the problem. Negotiations with the owner for the clean-up of the mine and contaminated areas have been underway for some time, but a resolution has yet to be reached.  In the meantime, Uranium continues to seep into the surrounding environment.

  • New Documentary "Tapped" Exposes The Bottled Water Industry

    This weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to catch the newly released DVD documentary "Tapped". At only 1 hour and 7 minutes, this hard hitting, must-see film, exposes the true interests of the bottled water industry and the dire health risks we are all now facing.

    If you have any doubt about the damage this industry causes to local water sources, the greater environment, local communities, and your own health, then you should take the time to watch this film. The producers did a fine job pulling together bottled water industry reps, EPA employees, environmentalists, scientists, and everyday citizens like you and I, putting into perspective the unquenchable profit motives of the corporate water bottling giants and their lack of desire to give back and make whole what they've helped destroy.

    "Tapped" also does a great job at showing the lack of regulation that the bottled water enjoys. It's easy for many of us to be unhappy with our local water municipality for the quality of water, however water bottlers essentially get a free pass and do not undergo any routine or monitored water sampling by any government agency. The producers take it upon themselves to have the bottled water tested, and the contaminants and chemicals found in the bottled water are downright scary.

    Finally, the film spends a good amount of time examining the bottle containers themselves, including the dangers they pose to human health from endocrine disrupting chemicals such as Bispenol-A (BPA). What's truly eye-opening and nightmarish is the speed at which havoc is being wreaked on our land and oceans from these plastic bottles. "Tapped" will make you think twice about ever purchasing bottled water again, and it's of those films you'll be recommending to friends and family members to make them aware of the accelerating severity of this problem. Please watch the trailer below.

  • The Fluoride In Your Drinking Water is Industrial Waste

    Fluoride in our tap and municipal water continues to gain attention as a health concern for much of the public who have been exposed to this long-time practice. With that attention comes more awareness, additional research on its' long-term affects, and a better understanding of just where the fluoride found in our city tap water originates.

    It comes as a surprise to many that the fluoride added to our tap water is not the type of fluoride used at the dentist's office and in toothpaste (sodium fluoride), but is rather a form of industrial waste called hydrofluorosilicic acid, a byproduct of the phosphate industry and the primary form used for water fluoridation here in the US. In 2000, Dr. J William Hirzy, Senior Vice President of EPA's Headquarters Union in Washington DC, made the statement "If this stuff (fluoride) gets into our air, it's a pollutant; if it gets into a river, it's a pollutant; if it gets into a lake, it's a pollutant; but if it goes right into your drinking water system, that's not a pollutant. That's amazing. There's gotta be a better way to manage this stuff."

    This video was put together by the fluoride action network at fluoridealert.org; champions of the movement to spread the word on the dangers of fluoride in our water. Our regular readers are familiar with our writings on fluoride, but this video highlights a troublesome dimension to fluoridation covering the history behind where hydrofluorosilicic acid originates and it's impact. Towards the end you will notice some water filters referenced that are adept at removing fluoride from water, fluoride water filters in particular, the berkey water filter.  There's a good amount of information packed in here in a short time, so if you're like me, you may find yourself hitting the rewind button a couple times.

  • Berkey Water Filters Cannot Be Shipped To California

    This past November 2009, California signed into law AB 1953 / SB 1334 & 1395 / HSC Section 116875 and as a result directly affected the sales of all water filter and purification systems to the state. This revised “no lead law” as it’s commonly known, went into effect on January 1, 2010. Currently this law prevents any Berkey water filter from being sold to the state of California, and canvasses all Berkey products that comes in contact with water intended for drinking. This would include upper/lower chambers, all filters, and sport bottles.

    The law stipulates that any “end-use device intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking,” as well as each of their individual components, materials and “pipe, pipe or plumbing fittings, or fixtures,” or flux, must be “lead free” as defined by California law. Under SB 1334, certification MUST be performed by an “independent ANSI-approved third party testing organization.” It appears that even if a product and each component of that product has no metal alloys and if a purification system actually reduces lead, under Section 116875, it must be be certified. An example of this would be the Berkey sport water purification bottle.

    The Berkey sport bottle body utilizes LDPE, which must be certified, even though it is common knowledge that LDPE contains no lead, is very commonly used by food and water companies, and is monitored under federal regulations. Further, manufacturers are expected to reveal proprietary information regarding their systems, suppliers and manufacturers, without an absolute guarantee that such proprietary information will be kept confidential. This is of utmost concern due to the fact that if such proprietary information is conveyed to competitors, we would have no recourse. It also worth noting that if Berkey water filters desires to change any of their suppliers after certification, it appears that permission must be obtained by the certifying organization and that re-certification is mandatory, all at the expense of the company. Change of suppliers is a common occurrence as improvement of the Berkey product line is continually occurring.

    Research indicates that there are at least two different certification standards available, but there seems to be disagreement as to which standards are acceptable to the state of California’s review Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the agency in charge of reviewing products and their certification. There is further confusion regarding testing protocols. While DTSC has issued an outline, it appears that the final protocols have yet to be settled upon. Throughout Berkey water filters ongoing research on this issue, they were unable to get clarification on the above requirements, instead it was suggested that “lawyers review the wording of the law to determine” how “they interpret the scope of the mandatory certification...”. Unfortunately, many questions were not answered by the January 1st deadline and as such, “strict compliance with the law” was recommended and is now being adhered to.

    Here's an example of one of the requirements:

    …Listee shall promptly furnish to CC, in writing, the street address, hours of operation, anticipated dates when plants will be temporarily closed or shut down, anticipated dates when plants will temporarily cease production and all local or state holidays of each plant where the listed product is being manufactured or to be manufactured by or on behalf of Listee, and each location where the listed product is warehoused or stored by or on behalf of Listee. Listee shall also provide the name and telephone number of a contact person for each such plant or storage location, both at the time of application for evaluation and in the event of any changes in this information. Listee shall provide such information for all plants and storage locations, whether foreign or domestic. If the product is imported or to be imported, Listee shall also provide the name, street address, telephone number and contact person of the importer and the consignee…

    Note:  Berkey Water Filters does not have manufacturing plants or warehouses in the state of CA

    This revised law has put the burden of proof on the manufacturer and is understandable, however the great additional expense will be difficult for Berkey water filters to absorb into the cost structure. To be clear, Berkey products do not contain lead and testing results from NSF/ANSI certified labs show that these systems reduce lead in water. If every state were to establish their own specific overarching certification criteria such as CA, small companies like Berkey would not be able to meet these requirements and would be put out of business.

    Big Berkey Water Filters will continue to monitor the situation and hopefully gain clarification on the issues for which there are currently no definite answers. While many water purification and water filter companies are ignoring the law due to it's vagueness, there is no interest on Berkey's behalf to go this route. Berkey water filters considers it a high priority to support the tens of thousands of current CA customers in addition to potential future customer who have interest in the product and hope to come to a resolution soon.

  • Video Overview of the Big Berkey Water Filter

    Selling out faster than any other system and with record sales since 2009, the Big Berkey is hands down our most popular system. It fits into smaller kitchens, but is able to meet the high demand of a thirsty family. With a volume  of 2.25 gallons and 19" in height, it's perfectly sized for 2-4 people. The Big Berkey comes standard with 2 black berkey elements in the upper chamber and has a capacity for up to 4 in the upper chamber. Like our other systems, the Big Berkey also has room in the lower chamber to install the optional PF-2 fluoride and arsenic filters if desired.

    This video provides a quick overview of the Big Berkey and provides a frame of reference against another popular system, the Berkey Light.

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