Maintaining the Quartz Sleeve



 Certified Viqua Installer Mike aims a disapproving eye at a customer’s quartz sleeve during a service call in Flower Mound, TX

An essential part of any ultraviolet water purification system is a clear tube that looks like glass but is really made of quartz. It forms a barrier between the UV lamp and the water being treated. The tube is called a quartz sleeve. The UV lamp is housed inside the sleeve and the water is on the outside, so the lamp’s UV dosage that actually gets to the water depends on how clean and clear the quartz sleeve is.

Ultraviolet units are normally preceded by a five micron sediment filter to assure that the water being treated does not contain particles large enough to provide shade that would protect microbes from the germicidal lamp. The filter, however, does not remove minerals in the water that can form scale on the outside of the very hot quartz sleeve. The most common scaling agents are hardness (calcium and magnesium) and iron.

Regular maintenance of a UV system includes examining, cleaning, and, if necessary, replacing the quartz sleeve to assure maximal UV transmittance. Recommended cleaning is with a clean, lint-free cloth soaked in vinegar or another mild acid. It is also highly recommended that you handle with care, don’t leave finger prints, and don’t break the sleeve. Especially don’t break it.

 quartzsleevewithmike2The sleeve cleaned up nicely with white vinegar and some scrubbing.  Mike is happy. 

Manufacturers’ quartz sleeve recommendations vary, some recommending sleeve change with every second lamp change even if the sleeve appears clear to the eye. This is because UV light can degrade the quartz and block efficient UV transmittance even if the sleeve appears to be crystal clear.

Hydrogen Sulfide

The “rotten egg” odor that people complain about in well water can come from many sources, but it is most commonly caused by  “sulfur reducing” bacteria that give off a foul-smelling gas. The bacteria themselves are harmless–they don’t cause disease–but the gas they produce can cause horrible odors and smelly black staining in pipes and appliances.


In some parts of the country, most notably Florida, where hydrogen sulfide is common and very severe, the standard treatment is to spray the water into an open air tank, allow the noxious gas to escape into the atmosphere, then use a secondary pump to send the water from the tank into the home. Tanks of this type are expensive, need lots of space, and are subject to freezing in cooler climates. Therefore, another type of treatment known as “precipitation/filtration” is preferred in most areas.


With this method, an “oxidizer” causes the trapped hydrogen sulfide gas to “precipitate” to elemental sulfur, then the sulfur is trapped in a filter. It’s a two-step process. The filter is most often carbon.  Filter carbon, especially a specialty carbon called “catalytic carbon,” can perform both steps–precipitation and filtration–but unless the amount of  H2S (hydrogen sulfide) is small, the carbon wears out quickly and has to be replaced. However, when the carbon is helped by a more powerful “oxidizer,” the carbon can last a very long time and the process can be very successful. Many “oxidizers” can cause the precipitation of the gas: air, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, ozone, and more. For residential users, the most practical and the most easily maintained are aeration (air) and chlorination.


A full treatment system with chlorine looks like this–


1. A dry pellet chlorinator — a device that drops chlorine pellets into the well itself– followed by a carbon filter, or


2. A chemical feed pump, installed before the pressure tank, that feeds liquid chlorine (household bleach) into the water line.  After the pressure tank, you must have a retention tank–usually 80 to 120 gallons–to give the chlorine time to work.  After the retention tank, a carbon filter.


A full treatment system with aeration looks like this —


1. An “Aer-Max” system, which consists of a 10″ X 54″ treatment tank that is fed by a small air compressor.  It is installed after the pressure tank, and it is followed by a carbon filter, or


2. A “single tank aerator” installed after the pressure tank. It is a backwashing filter with a special control valve that draws in air to “oxidize” the H2S so that it can be removed by the filter carbon in the bottom 2/3 of the tank.


Here are page links that show the various strategies. Many have installation diagrams.


Dry Pellet Chlorinator —


Chemical Feed Pump and accessories —


“Aer-Max” units.–


Single Tank Aerators —


The carbon filter used in any of these system (other than the single tank aerator) can be either a “backwashing” tank-style filter or a carbon block filter.  If iron is present in the water, a backwashing filter must be used because a carbon block filter would be clogged quickly with iron.


Catalytic carbon is the carbon of choice with hydrogen sulfide, but any good carbon filter will work after proper oxidation.


Here are some places on our website to look for carbon filters —


5600 10 X 54 filters —


Filters to follow Aer-Max —


Carbon block filters —


Often the hard part of designing these filters is choosing and sizing the carbon filters.  Do not hesitate to call or email us for help.


Poison once flowed in America’s waters. With Trump, it might again

As a scientist working for decades on national and global water and climate challenges, I must speak out against what I see as an assault on America’s water resources.

I grew up in New York in the 1960s hearing about massive Polychlorinated Biphenyl – a toxic chemical used as a coolant – contamination in the Hudson River and the threatened extinction of bald eagles and ospreys from eating contaminated fish.

I remember watching on television Ohio’s Cuyahoga River burning. I remember scientists warning about the death of the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay from uncontrolled industrial pollution. I remember not being able to swim at beaches polluted with raw sewage.

And I remember the public debate and bipartisan enthusiasm for federal action to clean up our waters – enthusiasm that led to passage of one of the nation’s foundational environmental laws, the Clean Water Act, signed into law by Richard Nixon in 1972.

This law and the related federal regulations reduced water pollution and protected some of the nation’s rivers and lakes, but they are incomplete, only partially implemented, and increasingly outdated in the face of new threats from unregulated contaminants, worsening climatic changes, failing water infrastructure and direct political assault.

Donald Trump claimed he’d work to promote clean water. This claim has proven to be hollow. Since taking office, the president, administration officials, and the Republican-led Congress have moved aggressively to roll back decades of water-quality protections put in place by previous Republican and Democratic administrations.

These moves benefit industrial polluters rather than local communities, hinder progress toward cleaning up contaminated water and deteriorating ecosystems and worsen public health risks.

To address these problems, the Obama administration developed new rules to remove mercury from municipal sewage; impose limits on the amount of toxic and bioaccumulative water pollutants such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium that can be released from power plants; control previously unregulated pesticides; stop the dumping of coal wastes into streams and clarified authority for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to extend protections to around 60% of the water bodies in the United States – the so-called Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule.

The Trump administration and Congress have moved to rescind every one of these environmental protections.

Immediately after Trump’s inauguration, the EPA announced the agency’s intention to cancel the new regulation to cut mercury pollution in urban wastewater.

Mercury is a persistent neurotoxin affecting the brain and nervous system and scientists estimate that more than 75,000 infants in the US each year have an increased risk of learning disabilities associated with prenatal exposure to methylmercury. The largest single source of mercury contamination in urban wastewater comes from dental offices and the new rule required dental offices to install inexpensive and effective equipment to capture rather than dump mercury.

In April, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt proposed to postpone the compliance dates for meeting the new limits on toxic water pollutants from power plants. This rule would have reduced pollutant releases by 1.4bn pounds a year – including chemicals that lead to cancer and other illnesses in humans, lowered IQ in children, and deformities and reproductive damage in fish and wildlife.

The Clean Water Rule was published in June 2015 after years of scientific study, more than 400 public hearings, and literally a million public comments. It provides a critical tool for tackling persistent pollution problems from pesticides, fertilizers and industrial chemicals in water that previously lacked regulations.

Eliminating the Waters of the United States rule was an explicit objective of the Republican platform, and Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 asking the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to review and either rescind or revise it. In late June, the EPA announced it would move to completely replace it, removing protections from vast areas of the country.

Finally, Trump’s proposed budget imposes massive cuts to federal water-quality protections. The EPA office that develops standards for pollution in drinking water, already years behind in setting limits for unregulated pollutants, would have its budget cut in half.

The Superfund program, responsible for cleaning up severely polluted industrial sites, including many contaminating or threatening groundwater, would be cut 25% and enforcement would be cut 40%.

Programs that support environmental cleanup in Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, and other waterways would be cut to zero. The EPA’s office for scientific research and development would be cut in half.

Federal grants to states to identify and prevent leaks from underground storage tanks and programs to reduce lead exposure, like that seen recently in Flint, Michigan, would be eliminated. If we do nothing, undrinkable water could be one of Trump’s most poisonous legacies.

The good news is that Americans care enormously about clean water. The annual Gallup Poll on the environment ranks worries about water pollution above any other environmental issue, now higher than they’ve been since 2001. Scientists, public health officials, and environmental groups are also fighting back.

Lawsuits have been filed in federal court arguing that the Trump administration doesn’t have the legal authority to delay these protections, hasn’t given public notice or allowed public debate, is ignoring proven science and has acted to prioritize the interests of the coal and chemical industries over public health.

And there has been some success: in early June, in the face of a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the EPA agreed to let the mercury rule go forward. Some Republican members of Congress have publicly expressed concernover the severity of the proposed federal budget cuts to environmental protection.

We’ve come a long way from the era of unregulated dumping of chemicals in our streams, burning rivers, and dying ecosystems. I’m optimistic that the goal of clean, fishable, swimmable waters nationwide is achievable. But the Republican party is moving rapidly to become the party of dirty water. That’s not in their interest and it’s not in the interest of the nation. It’s time scientists and the public speak out.

Source:  The Guardian.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

High Performance Aeration Systems

Pure Water Products now offers a high performance (CAP) air pump and installation kit for our AerMax units.


High capacity air pump for use with AerMax systems.

The high volume pump is a small but tough unit designed for iron and hydrogen sulfide treatment. It is for use with constant pressure well systems, high flow applications, and anywhere where higher pressure or higher air turnover is needed. Suggested uses include commercial applications, hotels, restaurants, multi-tap applications, irrigation systems, bottling plants,  large homes,  or wells that serve more than one home.


Installation Kit for High Capacity Air Pump includes 2 stainless steel check valves, heavy duty mounting shell, tube connectors, 200 psi pressure gauge, and pressure regulator.

Prices for pumps and Installation Kit

Part Number Description Price (includes shipping)
AM100 115 V. Heavy Duty Air Pump $489.00
AM101 230 V. Heavy Duty Air Pump $489.00
AM102 Heavy Duty Installation Kit (works with both pumps above) $159.00


Also available are high flow aeration tank heads and over-sized aeration tanks. Please call for information and pricing.

Pure Water Products

940 382 3814


Planet marks new highs for heat, pollutants, sea level in 2016: report

by Kerry Sheridan



Washington (AFP) – The Earth set a series of dire records in 2016, including hottest year in modern times, highest sea level and most heat-trapping gases ever emitted, a global climate report said Thursday.

A range of key climate and weather indicators show the planet is growing increasingly warm, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, said the annual State of the Climate Report.

“Last year’s record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and a strong El Nino early in the year,” said the report.

“The major indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet,” it added, noting that several markers — such as land and ocean temperatures, sea level and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere — broke records set just one year earlier.

The ominous news comes two months after President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord on global warming, a decision that sparked widespread international criticism.

In the past billionaire Trump has called climate change “a hoax” invented by the Chinese, dismissing scientific evidence of human contributions to rising temperatures.

But as humanity continues to rely on fossil fuels for energy unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases are polluting the atmosphere, acting like a blanket to capture heat around the Earth, the report emphasized.

All the major greenhouse gases that drive warming, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, rose to new heights, it said.

Atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 402.9 parts per million (ppm), surpassing 400 ppm for the first time in the modern record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.

“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and life on Earth,” said the peer-reviewed publication, put together by nearly 500 scientists around the globe and released each year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society.

Source: Yahoo News.

Removing Chloramines and Ammonia from Residential Tap Water

by Emily McBroom and Gene Franks

centaurCatalytic carbon has long been recognized as the most effective method of chloramine reduction. Our research supports that view.

Removing chloramines from city water is one of the hot topics in water treatment. Driven by internet discussion and advertising, there are lots of theories, lots of controversy, and a whole lot of myths.

When people look for a chloramine reduction product one of the first questions they ask is, “How much does it remove?” The expected answer is a neat percentage. What they usually get from us, though, is a truthful but vague answer that goes something like, “Well, chloramine reduction can depend on a lot of variables, like the rate of flow through the filter (residence time), physical factors like turbidity and temperature, pH, mineral content of the water, pre-treatment, etc. In other words, it can vary a lot.” A truthful answer, but not very satisfying.

So, to put some numbers into the equation, we decided to do some testing of our own on the actual products we sell and on our own tap water. Our testing is not offered as a guarantee of performance in all situations–just a snapshot of what we found when we tested various products being fed our local  chloramine-treated tap water. For the purpose we bought a Hach Pocket Colorimeter that tests only chloramine and ammonia.  We tested actual consumer products, some brand new, some well used, at varying flow rates, using our local tap water for the tests.

In every case, we tested both chloramine and ammonia. When chloramine is reduced by filtration, according to the standard explanation of the process, chlorine is separated from the ammonia and converted to chloride. The ammonia is left behind as an undesired by-product.  More about ammonia later.

According to the city of Denton’s most recent water quality report, the average chloramine level in our tap water is 3.41 milligrams per liter (mg/L).  Before each sequence of tests, we did a “base line” test from the tap and made the assumption that the product we were testing was being challenged with that amount of chloramine and ammonia. In most cases, we found the actual at faucet chloramine content to be a little less than the city’s average. In all we did over a dozen tap water tests, which showed chloramine levels from 1.83 mg/L to 3.52 mg/L with an average of 2.6 mg/L. The readings were taken at several locations in the city, both at our business and at homes where we have equipment installed. In other words, these are “real life” tests using the water that comes through the pipes, not laboratory simulations.

Here are some items we tested:

The Chloramine Catcher

The Chloramine Catcher is our signature “whole house” chloramine product, a backwashing filter with catalytic carbon. We supply it with Centaur catalytic carbon and offer Jacobi Aquasorb coconut shell catalytic as an alternative. We call it the “Chloramine Catcher”  because it is designed for chloramine reduction. In spite of its pretentious name, the filter has no magic properties or secret ingredients: it is a catalytic carbon backwashing filter built with a Vortech mineral tank and a tough Fleck 2510 control valve. We sell the same filter for hydrogen sulfide treatment for wells.

In our chloramine reductions tests,  the Chloramine Catcher lived up to its name, removing 98.2% of the chloramine the first day we tested it, 99.2% on the second test,  and 100% on the third. (“One hundred percent” means reduced to below the detection level of the test, 0.01 mg/L. Keep in mind that in water treatment, nothing removes all of anything.) This was one of three tests we made where chloramine was reduced to below the detection point of the test equipment. Our office version of the Chloramine Catcher, the one we tested, is a 10″ X 54″ tank with 1.5 cubic feet of Jacobi Coconut Shell Catalytic Carbon.  The carbon is about three years old, but it has had an easy life, filtering only for two bathrooms and a utility sink. Just broken in well.

We also tested a Chloramine Catcher with Centaur Catalytic Carbon installed in a Denton home.  Chloramine reduction was 100%.  The unit was over 10 years old, but the carbon had been replaced about two months previous.

Two Top Quality 2.5″ X 9.75″ Carbon Blocks

We tested a drinking water size cartridge that we use a lot in countertop filters, undersink filters, garden hose filters, and as a reverse osmosis postfilter. It’s a sub-micron standard coconut shell carbon block, the MatriKX CTO Plus,  that the manufacturer recommends for chlorine and VOC reduction but not for chloramine treatment. The CTO Plus is made with standard carbon, not catalytic. (Catalytic carbon is filter carbon that has been specially processed to enhance the properties that affect reduction of contaminants like iron, hydrogen sulfide, and chloramines.)  We tested the CTO Plus at different flow rates to check the effect of residence time on chloramine removal. The result:

At 1 gpm flow rate – 66.9% chloramine reduction.  (In a subsequent test the cartridge removed 88%, leading us to believe that in our initial test the cartridge had not been sufficiently broken in.)

At 0.5 gpm flow rate – 99.6% chloramine reduction.

The lesson, of course, is that residence time matters. People who use this cartridge in an undersink or countertop drinking water filter get better performance than those who put it in a garden hose filter and spray water at 2 gpm on their turnip patch. Lesson number two: any good carbon filter will remove chloramine if you give it enough time.

By contrast, the Pentek ChlorPlus 10 in the 9.75″ x 2.5″ size, a filter designed specifically for chloramines, got 99% chloramine reduction at 0.5 gpm and the same 99%  at 1.0 gpm.  Two other tests of the cartridge at 0.5, prefiltering for an ammonia-removal test, got 100% and 99.5% reduction.

More Carbon Filters 

We tested a variety of carbon filters, from an inline refrigerator filter to a whole house carbon block–some made with standard carbon, some with catalytic. 

A standard GAC refrigerator filter with coconut shell GAC fared worst with 45.3% chloramine reduction at a moderate but unmeasured flow rate.

We tested a “whole house” MatriKX CTO (4.5″ X 20″) installed at a Denton home. This is a 5 micron standard coconut shell carbon cartridge. The cartridge, about a month old,  removed 95% of the chloramine at “shower speed,” 3 gpm, although the manufacturer makes no chloramine reduction claim. We tested the same filter after two more months’ use and it removed 97%.

We tested a 2.5″ X 9.5″ version of the MatriKX CTO (same filter as above, but drinking water size) that we use as an RO prefilter. We ran it at 350 milliliters per minute (the very slow feed flow rate of an undersink reverse osmosis unit) and it removed 99.6% of the 2.75 ppm chloramine in the tap water that day.

We tested  two 2.5″ X 10″ granular carbon filters, one with standard coconut shell GAC (97.8% chloramine reduction at 0.5 gpm) and one Centaur Catalytic Carbon (100% chloramine reduction at 0.5 GPM).

Black and White Undersink Reverse Osmosis

We did several tests on our house brand reverse osmosis units, some in our office, some in homes, and with different configurations and filter age. Chloramine reduction ranged from 100%–the most common–down to 97.6%. Most units were standard 3-stage systems with MatriKX CTO prefilter and MatriKX CTO Plus post filter. Some had 4th-stage post filters which we added to test ammonia reduction. In general, all RO units we tested removed almost all the chloramine.

Shower Filters

We tested a standard KDF-based Sprite shower filter, known to be an excellent chlorine reducer.  We tested twice with a shower water feed rate and it removed 20% and 21%.  We tested a Vitashower Vitamin-C shower filter (technically an ascorbic acid injector rather than a filter). On the first test–with only a 5 minute break-in rinse, in violation of the manufacturer’s instructions–it removed only 42%.  After a 10 minute break-in rinse, however, it removed a respectable 94.8%.

KDF Cartridges

KDF plays an essential role in chloramine reduction, according to internet lore.

We put 1.5 lbs. of KDF 55 into a cartridge, without carbon, and tested at 1 gpm.  Result: 18.2% chloramine reduction.

We put a MatriKX CTO Plus cartridge after the same KDF filter and the result was 97.7% reduction at 1 gpm.

We tested a 1.5 lb. KDF 85 cartridge at 1 gpm with the result of only 01.4% reduction–probably not quite as good as running the water through a paper towel.

RO Membrane

We tested a Pentek GRO membrane without pre- or post-filters.  As expected, chloramine reduction was an insignificant 9.8%.

The Ammonia Dilemma

After “how much chloramine does your filter remove?” the next question is usually, “does it also remove ammonia?”  The correct answer is, “No, it actually adds ammonia to the water.”

The standard explanation for chloramine reduction is that the catalytic action of the carbon breaks the bond between chlorine and ammonia then converts the chlorine to harmless chloride. The ammonia is left behind. In other words, after treatment you end up with more ammonia than you started with.

Virtually all of our tests supported this concept by showing an increased presence of ammonia after the chloramine was reduced by the filter.

The table below shows carbon filters removing chloramine. Note that in each case the liberated ammonia stays in the product water.

Carbon Filters Removing Chloramine. Ammonia Residual without Post Treatment

All values expressed in mg/L

Tap Water Before Treatment

Treatment Device

After Treatment

Chloramine: 2.24

Ammonia: 0.11

CTO Plus Carbon Block @ 0.5 gpm

Chloramine: 0.01

Ammonia: 0.55

Chloramine: 3.40

Ammonia: 0.08

GAC Inline (refrigerator) filter

Chloramine: 2.02

Ammonia: 0.27

Chloramine: 3.52

Ammonia: 0.13

Whole House CTO Carbon Block

Chloramine: 0.16

Ammonia: 0.54

Chloramine: 2.67

Ammonia: 0.17

Granular catalytic carbon (Centaur) cartridge, new but well broken in.

Chloramine: 0

Ammonia: 0.55


The theoretical removal of ammonia is a complicated issue, and literature reveals that removing ammonia after chloramine reduction doesn’t always follow expectations.

Frank DeSilva explains ammonia removal as follows:

Ammonia can be present in water in two forms, either ammonium hydroxide (NH3) or as the ammonium ion (NH4).

When the pH of the water is less than 7 the ammonia is present as the ammonium ion. As pH increases above 7, more of the ammonia is present as ammonium hydroxide.

The ammonium ion is readily removed by cation resin. Good removal capacity can be expected in waters low in hardness. Waters that are high in hardness will have decreased capacity due to the simultaneous affinity and removal of calcium, magnesium and the ammonium ion.

What this means in practical terms is that adding a cation (water softening) cartridge after an RO unit should remove the ammonia left behind when the RO’s carbon filters have removed the chloramine.  This is because the RO membrane removes the hardness and also reduces the pH, creating an ideal situation for ammonia removal by the cation cartridge. (Ion exchange with zeolite is often recommended as a reducer of ammonia under these conditions as well.)

The table below includes carbon filters and RO units followed by a post treatment device.

Ammonia Residual with Post Treatment

All values expressed in mg/L

Tap Water Before Treatment Treatment Device After Treatment

Chloramine: 1.83

Ammonia: 0.14

Black and White Reverse Osmosis, 3 stage, with softening cartridge added.

Chloramine: 0.00

Ammonia: 0.01

Chloramine: 1.83

Ammonia: 0.14

Black and White Reverse Osmosis, 3 stage, with zeolite cartridge added.

Chloramine: 0.00

Ammonia: 0.01

Chloramine: 3.52

Ammonia: 0.13

Black and White Reverse Osmosis, 3 stage, with calcite cartridge added. Unit preceded by a standard carbon block whole house prefilter.

Chloramine: 0.00

Ammonia: 0.00

Chloramine: 2.11

Ammonia: 0.08

Pentek ChlorPlus 10 (9.75″ x 2.5″) Chloramine Reduction Cartridge followed by a softening cartridge @ 0.5 gpm.

Chloramine: 0.02

Ammonia: 0.02

Chloramine: 2.11

Ammonia: 0.08

Pentek ChlorPlus 10 (9.75″ x 2.5″) Chloramine Reduction Cartridge followed by a deionizing cartridge @ 0.5 gpm.

Chloramine: 0.01

Ammonia: 0.02

Chloramine: 2.75

Ammonia: 0.14

Black and White 3 Stage Reverse Osmosis Unit without post treatment.

Chloramine: 0.00

Ammonia: 0.05


We found the expected, plus a couple of unexpected results.

In general terms, contrary to some some internet lore (we’ve been told more than once that “chloramine can’t be removed”), chloramine can be removed handily, although it’s considerably harder to remove than chlorine.

The same strategies that remove chlorine remove chloramine, although some devices work much better than others. Catalytic carbon is best, but standard carbon also removes chloramine well if you give it enough time. KDF, unless it is followed by carbon, is not an effective chloramine treatment.

Residential reverse osmosis units are particularly good at chloramine reduction because their carbon prefilter gets to handle the water at a very slow flow rate. While the RO membrane itself does not significantly affect chloramine, it may reduce ammonia.  (In our “membrane only” test, ammonia went down from 0.18 to 0.03 ppm.)

Vitamin C shower treatment is much more effective than KDF shower filters with chloramine.

Theoretically,  ammonia should be easily removed by cation exchange after an RO unit but not so easily after a carbon filter. Nevertheless, in the three tests where we used an ion exchange cartridge after a carbon block filter, ammonia was reduced to 0.02, 0.02, and 0.01. This was with feed water with a pH in the high 7’s and 7 grains of hardness. The result indicates that a water softener regenerated well before its hardness endpoint following a whole house catalytic carbon filter would probably do a credible job of ammonia reduction–not good enough, perhaps, for use in dialysis, but quite good for ordinary household use.




Posted July 30th, 2017



Siliphos is a milk thistle extract. It is made of 100% food grade materials.

Siliphos prevents scale formation and stops corrosion of pipes. After months of use, it can actually slowly remove existing scale from pipes and appliances.

Siliphos acts as a sequestering agent, coating the inside of pipes and making a thin protective layer on metal surfaces to prevent scaling, corrosion and brown or red water.

Siliphos does not alter the taste of the water. It dissolves slowly into the water and acts by preventing the adhesion of hardness minerals to metallic surfaces.

It can be added as an inexpensive whole house or point of use treatment. Siliphos spheres can be inserted into the center core of carbon block or sediment filters or dispensed through a separate filter housing installed in the water line.

Unlike a conventional water softener, Siliphos is inexpensive, easy to install, does not use salt or electricity, and does not add sodium to water.


Denver Water wants to double the amount of recycled water used in the city. The health department is not sure it’s safe

Strain on the Colorado River, treatment budgets, could be eased by using recycled water for growing dope, flushing toilets

Gazette Introductory Note. This is a truncated version of a much longer article that we’re reprinting to illustrate the increasing reuse of water by cities as well as the legal intricacies of water recycling.  The full article is here.

Water is asking for state permission to expand the uses of recycled water to include flushing toilets in commercial buildings, washing cows and pigs at the National Western Stock Show, and irrigating crops such as marijuana.

This could increase the 80 or so big customers in metro Denver who already tap a 70-mile network of underground purple pipes carrying recycled water, cleaned to meet the drinking water standards that applied in the 1980s.

But state health officials aren’t sure it’s safe to allow wider use.

A  Denver Water plan calls for at least doubling the amount of recycled water the utility provides, beyond the current 2.6 billion gallons a year to more than 5.6 billion gallons by 2020.

Using more recycled water could save money because stripping away contaminants to meet current drinking water standards increasingly requires costly, energy-intensive treatment. And reusing water reduces Denver’s need to siphon more H2O out of the over-tapped Colorado River.

Denver’s marijuana sector, alone, could make a big difference. Dope growers have emerged as significant guzzlers, feeding plants an estimated 146 million gallons a year of drinking water. That’s more than the 98 million gallons that metro Denver brewers use to make beer.

“This is where the world is going,” Denver Water chief executive Jim Lochhead said.  “Utilities are exploring this concept of ‘one water,’ the right water quality for the right purpose, and making the most efficient use of water.”

Rising temperatures from climate change and exhaustion of the river compel new approaches, he said.

“The demands on our system are going to increase simply because it is going to be warmer. People and plants are going to be using more water,” Lochhead said.  “The prospects of a major new diversion project on the Colorado River are difficult at best.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has raised multiple concerns.

State water quality staffers are reviewing  “adequate control of pathogens,” including the potential for bacteria to grow in the purple pipes, an agency spokeswoman said. That’s because irrigation of crops for human consumption could mean more people are exposed to bacteria. They’re also evaluating the potential for salts to build up in soils and groundwater. And they’re looking at issues around build-up of “antibiotic resistant genes” that recycled water could accelerate. (Bacteria that develop resistance to antibiotics can reproduce and pass on that resistance, creating many more antibiotic resistant bacteria.)

“We’re as much about water conservation as anyone else,” director Larry Wolk said. “If there’s reuse potential for that kind of water that doesn’t pose any type of health risk or has an acceptable health risk, then it is something we definitely should consider.”

“We won’t know until that technical assessment is complete if it is an acceptable risk or not. Just because it was OK in 1980 doesn’t necessarily mean it is OK today , because we know a lot more, after nearly 40 years, than we knew then,”Wolk said.

“But we are all about reuse,” Wolk said, “whether it is produced water, recycled water, graywater, if there is an acceptable health risk.”

A CDPHE meeting is scheduled for next week to launch a rulemaking process that will run through August 2018. Health officials said they want to hear from all sides and said any new uses of recycled water won’t hurt people or the environment.

State rules currently allow use of recycled water for car washing, landscape irrigation, industrial systems and putting out fires.

For years, Denver Water crews have been capturing wastewater, treating it and sending it back through the city. It is water initially diverted from the Colorado River and moved through tunnels under the Continental Divide. (Denver Water legally is limited to a one-time use of its other water that originates here in South Platte River Basin, because downriver agricultural producers have rights to use Denver’s  “return flows.”) The purple-pipe water is classified as nonpotable, but utility officials emphasized it meets the standards of water people were drinking in the 1980s.

The 80 current users of recycled water include irrigators and industrial plants, nine schools, 34 parks, five golf courses and the Denver Zoo.

Source: Denver Post.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Well Water Contaminants that Can Affect Your Health

Adapted from a Vermont Health Dept. Bulletin

You have probably heard about the big three contaminants that could be in your well water: arsenic, lead and E. coli bacteria. But what about lesser-known contaminants, such as manganese and nitrates?

They can have harmful health effects, too, and testing is the only way to know if they’re in your drinking water.

Manganese is a naturally-occurring metal found in rocks and soil that can dissolve from bedrock and enter groundwater. We get manganese from the foods we eat, and small amounts are also added to most vitamin supplements and baby formulas.

Nitrogen, also a natural element, can be found in water in the form of nitrate. Nitrate contamination of water usually comes from fertilized agricultural fields, septic system failures, or manure piles that are too close to wells.

Manganese and nitrates are required for health,  but we typically get all that we need from our diet, so we don’t need extra manganese and nitrates in our water.

Exposure to high concentrations of manganese over many years has been linked to toxicity to the nervous system.

Babies who drink formula made with nitrate-contaminated water are at risk for blue baby syndrome, a condition where the baby’s blood is less able to carry oxygen. Affected babies develop a blue-gray color and need emergency medical help.

Infants are more susceptible to adverse health effects associated with high levels of manganese and nitrates in drinking water because their bodies are smaller and still developing.

Health Departments recommend that people with private wells or springs have their water tested every five years for manganese and nitrates. In fact, comprehensive tests that evaluate all significant well-water issues, not just nitrates and manganese, are recommended.

How Long Do Water Filters Last?

Probably you have seen an ad for a small, one-cartridge “ten stage” water filter that promises to remove chlorine, lead, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, fluoride,  and “pharmaceuticals,” and to “last for 10,000 gallons.” This advertising claim is actually true. But at the same time, it is a big lie. A really big lie.

The intent is to imply that  the filter will remove fluoride, VOCs, and all the other heavy contaminants listed “for 10,000 gallons.” But what “lasts for 10,000 gallons” really means is that it won’t fall apart and that it may even be removing some chlorine after 10,000 gallons. While it may “remove fluoride” for the first few gallons, it really doesn’t contain enough fluoride media to last past the original cartridge rinse. The trick is in the words.  It’s true that it “removes fluoride” and that it “lasts for 10,000 gallons,” but it certainly doesn’t remove fluoride for 10,000 gallons.

Even single media filters, like carbon blocks, have greatly different capacities for various contaminants that they treat.  Filter carbon is a very effective treatment–the best, in most cases–for a large majority of water contaminants, but in almost every case carbon filters treat chlorine much longer than they effectively treat more difficult contaminants.

For example, the manufacturer of one superb carbon block filter states the capacity of its 2.5″ X 10″ cartridge for removing chlorine as 20,000 gallons @ 1 gallon per minute. For removal of VOCs, however, the claim is for only 500 gallons at the reduced flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute.

It is a mistake to assume, in other words, that the filter will remove VOCs as long as it will treat chlorine. If chlorine removal and taste/odor improvement are the only goals, then the filter can be used to its full chlorine capacity; but if you really need serious removal of specific contaminants, you should find out the cartridge’s capacity for the specific item you’re targeting and change the cartridge accordingly.

You should also notice that flow rate matters–a lot–and that if you want a faster flow rate, you need a larger filter.