Water Treatment Devices for Home Use
The water quality problems described in this fact sheet may be resolved by use of a drinking water treatment unit. There are a wide variety of such devices available for home use. Health Canada works closely with NSF International to develop performance standards for water treatment devices. Consumers are encouraged to purchase products that have been certified to these standards.
If elimination of the source of contamination is not possible after shock chlorine disinfection, consider the installation of a batch or continuous disinfection system or a new water supply. Some suitable devices are described in Table 2.
Table 2: Household Drinking Water Disinfection Devices
Well water should also be tested for hazardous chemicals whenever contamination is suspected. Chemical analysis of water samples can be provided by commercial testing laboratories. Some provincial health laboratories will analyse water for nitrate, which typically originates from farming activities and seepage from septic tanks. High concentrations of nitrate may cause “blue baby syndrome” (methaemoglobinaemia), a condition in which methaemoglobin cannot release oxygen to body tissues, and which mostly affects infants under three months of age. Other chemical contaminants of concern include pesticides, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality provides a list of maximum acceptable concentrations for these chemicals. If hazardous chemical contaminants are detected, you should consider the installation of a treatment device or a new water supply. Some suitable units are listed in Table 3.
Table 3: Chemical Removal Devices
Hardness, Taste, Odour and Colour
Well water contains naturally occurring minerals, such as calcium, iron and sulfur. Although these minerals are not hazardous to human health, they can alter the hardness, taste, odour or colour of the water when present in excess quantities. Groundwaters may also contain natural organic materials (tannins). Table 4 describes some signs that may indicate the presence of these substances in your well water and some solutions. In order to select the best treatment method, a full testing of the suite of minerals should be conducted prior to the purchase of a device.
Table 4: Common Aesthetic Water Quality Problems and Solutions
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