Education Center

New articles are always being written. Please check back regularly for updates!

Water (H2O) is essential to life on Earth and more than two thirds of the planet’s surface is made up of water in its solid, gas and liquid forms – the only chemical compound on Earth that naturally exists in all three physical states.


The properties of liquid water help dissolve molecules, which enable chemical reactions to occur, yielding friendly conditions for life. Vital substances like metabolites and nutrients are able to travel through liquid water microscopically, as well as globally. Water also greatly assists enzymes in catalyzing chemicals, which is also essential for life.


Pure water freezes at 32°F (0°C) and boils at 212°F (100°C) although impurities can alter these figures. This wide temperature range as a liquid also helps preserve life on Earth since typical fluctuations in the weather do not have cataclysmic effects on the planet, which is mostly covered with water.


The human body is also mostly made up of water, and we depend on water to grow food and survive. The global modern industrial infrastructure requires water for a wide range of things, from cooling down machinery to the use of water for transportation and shipping. An uncountable number of organisms live in bodies of fresh water, seawater or brine, whether they are puddles or oceans.


Water is indeed one of Earth’s indispensable resources in creating and maintaining life.

Water is one of the most important aspects of life on Earth, and yet so many of us take it for granted. Without water, life on Earth would cease to exist. Plants, animals and human beings all require water. It is, in a sense, life’s battery. Water can also be detrimental, though, if not kept clean and potable.


The dichotomy of its existence…it is a life giver and also a life taker. It is for this reason that humans have been working on methods of obtaining pure water since the beginning of human existence. Archeological evidence shows that people have been attempting to purify water and give it a pleasurable taste since prehistoric times.


Early humans believed that the purity of water was determined by taste; if the water had a pleasing taste, then it was pure. As a result, the method of purifying water in ancient times was to add herbs or flowers to the water, but this was obviously not a true method of purification, nor was it enough to quell the search for one.


In 2000 B.C., Sanskrit documents about medical concerns were created called the Sus’ruta Samhita. The Sus’ruta Samhita declares that “impure water should be purified by being boiled over a fire, or being heated in the sun or by dipping a heated iron into it, or it may be purified by filtration through sand and coarse gravel and then allowed to cool.”

Inscriptions have been discovered on the walls of the tomb of Amenophis II in Thebes. The inscription depicts the Egyptian method of purifying water in which they siphoned the water through a series of wick siphons. The inscription has been dated 1450 B.C.

The Bible even has evidence of possible methods of water purification. In Exodus 15:22-27, Moses and the Israelites came upon Marah and found that the waters there were bitter. Moses was guided towards a tree and told to place the tree into the waters of Marah. Moses did as he was instructed and the waters of Marah were sweetened thereafter. While it is unclear what type of tree this was, or if any type of filtration process was used, the evidence points to at least a concern about water quality.

Another early method of filtering water was developed by the famous Greek doctor, Hippocrates, in the 3rd century B.C. Recognizing that boiling water did not remove suspended solids, Hippocrates used a cloth bag to strain the water after boiling it. This method was later called “Hippocrates’ Sleeve.”

In 1627, Sir Francis Bacon compiled 10 experiments in A Natural History of Ten Centuries. He was led to believe that water could be filtered through sand when he read about a successful experiment purifying seawater in this manner.

In the late 1600s, Lucas Antonius Portius, an Italian physician, wrote about the multiple sand filtration method. The method had 3 pairs of sand filters consisting of downward and upward flow.

Following these discoveries, sand filters and rainwater cisterns were developed. La Hire, a French scientist, proposed in 1703 that all households should have a rainwater cistern along with a sand filter. 100 years later, the first municipal water treatment plant was installed in Paisley, Scotland.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, water quality has become even more important and numerous methods of water purification and filtration have been developed.

Additional information on current methods of water filtration and purification are available in the Education Center and What is TDS? section.

In just 16 hours, U.S. water utilities produce as much potable water as the oil industry produces oil in a year.


When we use water, we generally add contaminants to it, such as soap, food products, and chemicals, which must be removed before the water is used again.


Close to 3/4 of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, but less than 1% is suitable and available for drinking using conventional water treatment.


Ice cubes float because ice is less dense than water. Water freezes in a lattice-like formation, which creates buoyancy and allows ice to float.


Hardness in drinking water is caused by calcium and magnesium – two non-toxic, naturally occurring minerals in water. Excessive hardness makes it difficult for soap to lather, leaves spots on dishware and reduces water flow.


Water is the original health drink. It contains no fat, no calories and no cholesterol.


Because 60% of an adult’s body is water, it is essential to replenish the water you lose through breathing, perspiration and excretion. For most people, this equates to approximately 8 cups (2 liters) a day. We can consume water not only by drinking water, but also through food and other beverages.


Through the processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation and infiltration – the hydrologic cycle – the total amount of water on Earth remains constant. The availability of fresh drinking water, however, continues to diminish, as demand continues to increase.

Yes. While EC and TDS are often used synonymously, there are some important differences to note. EC, when applied to water, refers to the electrical charge of a given water sample. TDS refers to the total amount of substances in the water other than the pure H2O. The only true way of measuring TDS is to evaporate the water and weigh what’s left. Since this is near impossible to do for the average person, is it possible to estimate the TDS level by measuring the EC of the water. Every digital TDS meter in the world is actually an EC meter.


All elements have some electrical charge. Therefore, it is possible to closely estimate the quantity of TDS by determining the EC of the water. However, since different elements have different charges, it is necessary to convert the EC to TDS using a scale that mimics the charge of that water type. The following are the most common water samples, and for the COM-100, each has its own conversion factor:


KCl:Potassium Chloride is the international standard to calibrate instruments that measure conductivity. The COM-100 is factory calibrated with a 1413 microsiemens solution is the default mode is EC-KCl. The KCl conversion factor is 0.5-0.57.


442TM:Developed by the Myron L Company, 442TM simulates the properties of natural water (rivers, lakes, wells, drinking water, etc.) with a combination of 40% Sodium Bicarbonate, 40% Sodium Sulfate and 20% Chloride. The 442 conversion factor is 0.65 to 0.85.


NaCl:Sodium Chloride is used in water where the predominate ions are NaCl, or whose properties are similar to NaCl, such as seawater and brackish water. The NaCl conversion factor is 0.47 to 0.5.


Measurements in EC (μS) do not have a conversion factor, but do require the correct setting for the proper temperature coefficient.


Though there is a close relationship between TDS and Electrical Conductivity, they are not the same thing. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Electrical Conductivity (EC) are two separate parameters.


TDS, in layman’s terms, is the combined total of solids dissolved in water. EC is the ability of something to conduct electricity (in this case, water’s ability to conduct electricity).


The only true method of measuring TDS is to weigh residue found in water after the water has evaporated. You know those spots you see on a glass after you wash it and let it air dry? That’s TDS! That residue has mass, and it’s possible to weigh it, but if you’re not in a lab, it can be tricky thing to do. Therefore, we can estimate TDS levels based on the conductivity of the water since the hydrogen and oxygen molecules of the H2O carry almost no electrical charge. The EC of most other metals, minerals and salts will carry a charge. A A TDS meter measures that EC level and then converts it to a TDS measurement. Since different metals, minerals and salts will be more or less conductive than others, there are different conversion factors that can be used.


ppm (parts per million) is the most commonly used scale to measure TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).


μS (micro-Siemens) is the most commonly used scale to measure EC (Electrical Conductivity).


TDS and Conversion Factors

EC: There is no conversion for electrical conductivity. (NOTE: The three EC modes in the COM-100 differ only in their ATC programs. The standard EC mode is KCl.)


TDS – NaCl: 0.47 to 0.50
TDS – 442: 0.65 to 0.85
TDS – KCl: 0.50 to 0.57


(NOTE: Most HM Digital meters use the NaCl factor. The COM-100 has the above three modes, which are user-selected. When converting EC to TDS, the COM-100 uses the non-linear scales, as they would occur in nature, thereby giving you more accurate readings than meters that use linear scales.)


Converting between different scales


PPM à μS: The conversion factor of the TDS meter must be known. Once known, the conversion factor should be multiplied by the TDS level. (NOTE: For the COM-100, simply change the mode on the meter. There is no math required.)


PPM à PPT: Divide by 1000 (1000 ppm = 1 ppt)
μS à mS: Divide by 1000 (1000 μS = 1 mS)

Because water is so effective at dissolving substances, even after filtration methods are used, microscopic materials usually end up in water supplies as TDS, some of which can be potentially harmful in high doses.


While some may believe that the presence of minerals in the water they consume is a good thing, many realize that the health risk involved with ingesting unwanted TDS in their water is not worth whatever benefits there might be. On the other hand, others, such as hydroponic farmers, for example, may desire the presence of TDS in their water, to make sure that there are enough nutrients being fed to the crops. Everything that consumes, uses or lives in water is affected by TDS, for better or for worse.


TDS are commonly found in tap or well water because a combination of leaves, silt, plankton, industrial waste and sewage gets into the water supply, as well as runoff from road salts used during the winter, and from fertilizers and pesticides used in agricultural areas. Lead and copper particles can also get mixed into water supply as the liquid travels through pipes, and water may come into contact with inorganic materials, such as rocks or the air, which can infuse calcium bicarbonate, nitrogen, iron phosphorous and sulfur into water, along with other minerals.


Combinations of these materials can form a residue of salts – compounds that contain both a metal and a nonmetal, which, when dissolved in water, usually form ions. Ions consist of cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negatively charged ion). Essentially, the TDS concentration measurement is the sum of the cations and anions found in water.

Human health, in both developing and developed countries throughout the world, depends on the quality of available drinking water and whether it meets responsible health standards. There are potential risky contaminants found in drinking water including infectious agents, toxic chemicals and radiological hazards, so preventive management is necessary, requiring precisely accurate measurements on the path from water resource to consumer.




When it comes to regulating what is considered acceptable drinking water, there are recommended international standards, but different countries have different levels of strictness, and even within countries, regulatory effectiveness concerning testing and treatment can vary greatly. A government’s Ministry or Department of Health, or a special agency like the EPA, sets the national standards. But even with strict measures in place, it is practically impossible to test water for all of the many possibly harmful organisms that might be present, at any given time.


In terms of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises against consuming water containing more than 500mg/liter, otherwise known as 500 parts per million (ppm) of TDS, although many health specialists believe that ideal drinking water should be under 50 ppm or lower. The average tap water in America contains approximately 350 ppm of TDS although it is not uncommon for municipal or local water supplies to exceed this. If TDS levels exceed 1000mg/L, however, it is generally considered harmful to human health and should not be consumed.


In order to make drinking water safe, developed countries use chemicals to treat and disinfect the water, although these additives should not present any possible health risk.


Some of the things that health authorities check for and regulate in making sure that water is safe include:

  • pH
  • Presence of dissolved oxygen
  • Color
  • Hardness
  • Presence of bacterial growth
  • Conductivity (TDS)
  • Algae, algal toxins and metabolites

Though many people lump “bottled water” into a single category, it is important to note that there are many different types of bottled water. Bottled water should not be generalized, and one should always read the label of any bottled water so you know what you are drinking.


The Code of Federal Regulations states that “Bottled water is water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients.” The addition of anitmicrobial agents and flouride are exceptions.


The following are the basic definitions for different bottled water types, per the U.S. federal labeling requirements:


Well Water: Defined as water that is tapped from an underground aquifer.


Spring Water: Defined as water that must come from an underground aquifer from which the water flows naturally to the surface and the location of the spring must be identified.


Artesian Water: Defined as water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level in the well rises above the water level in the aquifer.


Mineral Water: Defined as water that must naturally contain at least 250 ppm of total dissolved solids (TDS). The TDS content of mineral water cannot be enhanced by mineral additives. If mineral water contains less than 500 ppm of mineral content, it must be classified on the label as “low mineral content.” If mineral water contains greater than 1500 ppm of mineral content, it must be classified as “high mineral content.” Water containing between 500 and 1500 ppm of TDS does not require futher label classification.


Sparkling Water: Defined as groundwater that is naturally carbonated due to the high pressures that exist in an aquifer. Sparkling water does not include water with added carbonation, such as tonic, seltzer and club soda, which are considered soft drinks and fall under different regulations.


Purified Water: Defined as high purity water that must meet certain requirements contained in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). Purified water can be further classified by how it is produced, such as through “deionization (DI),” distillation,” or “reverse osmosis (RO).”


Sterilized Water: Defined as water that must meet certain requirements contained in the USP for sterilization.


Bottled water from a municipal or community source must state on the label that it is “from a community water system” or “from a municipal source,” unless it has been further treated by a purification or sterilization process.


Note: All of the above definitions are basic definitions and may be subject to additional requirements not listed in this article.

Humans are mostly made up of water: between 60-70 percent of our body mass is water, 70 percent of our brains are composed of water and our lungs are made up of almost 90 percent water. More than 80 percent of our blood is water, which is essential for food digestion, waste excretion and regulating body temperature. In order to properly function, humans should replace 2.4 liters of water daily, either through drinking or via eating food.




Humans can survive only 5 to 7 days without water, although we can live about a month without food. Many parts of the world – an estimated more than one billion people – lack access to safe drinking water, while an estimated 2.4 billion people lack inadequate sanitation.


The proportion of households in major cities that are connected to piped water (house or yard connection) in each continent are as follows:


Africa – 43%
Asia – 77%
Europe – 92%
Latin America and the Caribbean – 77%
North America – 100%
Oceania – 73%




In areas where water scarcity is not a problem, humans may use much more water than they realize. For example, we can take a five-minute shower with a standard showerhead, which uses 100 liters of water (26.5 gallons), or we can choose a low-flow shower head, which uses less than 50 liters of water (13.25 gal). Hand washing with the tap running can use up to more than five liters (1.3 gal); brushing teeth with the tap running can add up to almost eight liters; watering a lawn uses 35 liters per minute.


As the population of Earth grows exponentially, it is increasingly important for every person on the planet to be aware of how much water he or she consumes and wastes. Think about this: If every human on Earth saved just one drop of water each day, the annual savings would be over 24 million gallons (90,849,882 liters)! Imagine how much water could be saved if you cut back on a shower for just a few seconds…

The human body is 60-70% water and needs to be hydrated regularly by consuming water daily. Most people do not realize this and tend to reach for a soda pumped full of syrups and sugars for hydration. While soda may quench the dry throat symptom of thirst, it does not properly hydrate the body. The primary reason for this is the high quantity of sugar and sodium found in carbonated soft drinks, which counters the hydration of the water in it.


When water is 100% pure and free of contaminants, chemicals, and additives, consuming the proper daily amount may benefit your health in many ways (coupled with a healthy food diet), such as improving your energy, increasing your mental and physical performance, removing toxins and waste from your body, allowing proper digestion to occur, and keeping you more relatively alkaline. Studies have shown that drinking pure water may also improve how you look due to the fact that it helps you maintain a proper body weight and keeps your skin healthy and glowing.


Water is especially important for pregnant women and nursing mothers (since they are drinking for two). For athletes or those who exercise regularly, drinking water reduces cardiovascular stress and improves performance. Water reduces body temperature making exercise safer and more effective.


Water is also important for people with a history of kidney stones. Since water dissolves calcium in the urine, consuming at least 8 glasses daily reduces the risk of stone formation. Drinking water is also valuable in preventing urinary tract infections in both men and women, flushing impurities out of the system.


Even mild dehydration may make you more susceptible to viruses. Do not wait to drink water when you feel thirsty because when you feel thirsty, most of the time, you are already dehydrated. ( So, drinking water habitually may increase your chances of fighting off colds and illness.

Generally speaking there is very little difference between the health benefits of mineral water and those of tap water. This is for two reasons: 1) Any beneficial vitamins or minerals found in either water source will be in trace amounts; and 2) Drinking low TDS water is typically preferred for hydration, and minerals are best utilized when consumed through food.


If you are drinking mineral water for health benefits, it is recommended to drink brands that list the precise minerals in the water, so you know what you’re drinking. Some of these brands are formulated to contain specific quantities of additives that can boost your healing properties, energy, immune system and more, and help you obtain your daily vitamin requirements.


An additional benefit of mineral water is taste. Taste is always a matter of preference, and some people prefer their water to have more flavor. Minerals, even in trace amounts, will add flavor to water, whereas purer water will be much crisper with little or no taste.

Pure water is the ideal liquid for hydration. However, if you drink pure water along with an unhealthy diet, it may have some disadvantages. For example, if your diet consists primarily of unhealthy food and snacks, drinking pure water will not benefit you much due to the lack of vitamins and minerals in your diet.


Pure water can also be a disadvantage if you exercise in high temperatures, and you are on a no sodium diet. In this rare case, drinking pure water will absorb the salts in your body which can cause serious complications. Always consult a physician prior to exercising on a no or low sodium diet.


As a general rule of thumb, always be sure to eat a healthy diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables. If fresh food is not available, then supplement with the proper daily vitamins so that water can be designated for the job it was meant for – hydrating your body in its purest form.

While there are some advantages of drinking mineral water, there are also quite a few disadvantages. In many countries, mineral water is not regulated at all, and in the United States, it is not regulated in many states. Therefore, unless there is specific content listed on the bottle, you will not know what is actually in the water.


Tests of more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and performed by three independent labs in 1999 revealed that 33% of the bottled waters tested contained significant contamination in at least one test, and 20% contained synthetic organic chemicals.


Bottled water is regulated as a food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has established some regulations specifically for bottled water, including standard of identity regulations (i.e., types of bottled water, such as spring water and mineral water) and standard of quality regulations (i.e., allowable maximum levels of chemical, physical, microbial and radiological contaminants).

By comparison, tap water (except that from private well sources, which are not regulated) is regulated more stringently by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose mission is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA sets water quality standards for tap water including for pesticides, chlorine, bromine, arsenic, fluoride, lead, and the microbes E. Coli and Cryptosporidium.

To compare the stringency of federal regulations of bottled water and “big city” tap water, note the following:

  • City tap water must be tested 100 or more times a month; bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria once a week.
  • City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic bottles); bottled water is exempt from regulation regarding these chemicals.
  • Cities generally must test at least once a quarter for many chemical contaminants; bottled water manufactures generally must test only annually.
  • Tap water test results and notices of violations must be reported to state or federal officials; there is no mandatory reporting for bottled water manufacturers.
  • City water systems must issue annual “right-to-know” reports telling consumers what is in their water; bottled water manufacturers are not subject to such annual consumer reports.
  • (Source:


Finally, if mineral water is consumed through plastic bottles, there is the additional disadvantage the environmental footprint to consider due to the high volume of waste created by the plastic bottles, as well as the pollution created from shipping the bottles, which are heavy when filled with water.

Water is our planet’s most precious resource and it’s dwindling drastically. If every person in America could save just one gallon of water a month, we’d save 4,200,000,000 gallons of water a year! Think about how little one gallon each month is, and how many ways you can easily save that much water in the shower or turning off the water while brushing your teeth.


Facts below courtesy of National Geographic and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, from the “Water: Our Thirsty World” issue and exhibit.


The average American lifestyle demands 1,800 gallons of water a day to support, with 70 percent of that going to support our diets. If each of us learned how to conserve just a little more water, it could add up to big savings. National Geographic’s Freshwater Fellow, Sandra Postel, thinks you should start with these simple changes:


1. Choose outdoor landscaping appropriate for your climate. Native plants and grasses that thrive on natural rainfall only are best.


2. Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Because you’re saving hot water, you’ll also reduce your energy bill.


3. If you’re in the market for a toilet, buy a low-volume, ultra-low-volume or dual-flush model.


4. Fix leaky faucets. All those wasted drops add up – sometimes to 10-25 gallons a day.


5. Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full. When it’s time to replace them, buy a water-efficient and energy-efficient model. Remember, saving water saves energy, and saving energy saves water.


6. Eat a bit less meat, especially beef. A typically hamburger can take 630 gallons to produce.


7. Buy less stuff. Everything takes water to make. So if we buy less, we shrink our water footprint.


8. Recycle plastics, glass, metals and paper. Buy reusable products rather than throw-aways, as it takes water to make most everything.


9. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing the dishes. Shave a minute or two off your shower time. Millions of people doing even the little things make a difference.


10. Know the source of your drinking water – the river, lake or aquifer that supplies your home. Once you know it, you’ll care about it. You just won’t want to waste water.

Click here for a downloadable version of this page. HM Digital encourages you to download and print this flyer and please share it with your colleagues, friends and family. You are also welcome to repost this page and the pdf on your website.

Water is our most precious resource. But we are consuming it faster than it can be naturally replenished.

Some Staggering Facts

  • Californians use 7.8 billion gallons of water every day
  • Individuals use 196 gallons of water every day
  • Our state water supply is only at 39%*
  • Many cities may run out of water as soon as July 2014

Cutting back our usage by just 1 gallon per day can save 1.2 trillion gallons of water each month!

3 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Water:

  • Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth
  • Take shorter showers
  • If you hear a leak, take action

Additional Steps Everyone Can Take To Save Water


  1. Analyze your past water usage history
  2. Instead of a hose, use a broom to clean sidewalks
  3. Calling your property manager when there’s a leak can save over500 gallons/month


  1. Put sprinklers on timers and water your lawn for one minute less
  2. Using low-flow shower heads can save $2,000/year
  3. Using the dishwasher for only full loads can save about 4,500 gallons/year


  1. Washing only full loads of laundry can save 300 gallons/month
  2. Call your landlord ASAP if there’s a leak
  3. Not defrosting frozen food under running water can save 400 gallons/year

Pesticides, heavy metals and human and animal waste and other pollution can infiltrate a water supply before it is treated and it can be difficult for authorities to ensure that drinking water is totally fit for consumption by the time it gets to the tap.


A region’s industrial and agricultural practices, geological make up, and weather patterns often determines which contaminants make their way into source water – the body of surface or ground water from which drinking water supplies come from.


Common chemical contaminants include arsenic, radon, lead and nitrates. These contaminants can cause health problems, from short term discomfort such as nausea and stomach aches, to much more serious, even fatal, ailments including developmental problems as well as cancer.


Ingesting microbes in water can induce nausea, fever, diarrhea and dehydration, and long-term exposure to microbes can cause rashes, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, along with a number of immune, neurological, developmental and reproductive problems. The most common microbial contaminants include: E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Salmonella.


Sometimes, even the chemical by-products from the water treatment can contaminate the drinking water delivered to residential homes that it is meant to purify. Treatment processes are sometimes ineffective and the chemicals used to remove certain contaminants can create chemical by-products that pose a threat to human health. Risk varies from person to person and depends on the dosage, pre-existing health conditions, age, pregnancy or the strength of one’s immune system.



Second only to air, water is the most important thing in the world. Water has the power to give and take life. Water has always been the breeding grounds for diseases. With the historically recent increase in waste and pollution that is produced on a daily basis, the amount of diseases and harm that water can bring to us is increasing drastically.


The most important thing to note is that these diseases cannot be seen in water; they are invisible to the naked eye. It is for this reason that it is very important to filter or purify water. For example, decreasing the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in water to 0 ppm will decrease the possibility of contracting diseases. This can be done with various methods, such as the use of reverse osmosis (RO) and de-ionization (DI) systems.


Diarrheal disease accounts for 4.1% of the daily global burden of disease. An estimated 1.8 million people die of diarrheal diseases every year. 88% of diarrheal diseases are caused by unsafe or untreated water use or consumption. The following is a list of the many diseases that are linked to untreated water and its symptoms.



Sources of Agent in Water Supply

General Symptoms


Sewage, non-treated drinking water, flies in water supply.

Abdominal discomfort and/or pain, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, gas pains, fever.


Collects on water filters and membranes that cannot be disinfected, animal manure, seasonal runoff of water.

Flu-like symptoms, watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, substantial loss of weight, bloating, increased gas.


Sewage, non-treated drinking water.

Cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue.


Untreated water, poor disinfection, pipe breaks, leaks, groundwater contamination, campgrounds where humans and wildlife use same source of water. Beavers and muskrats act as a reservoir for Giardia.

Diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas and gas pains.


The genera of Encephalitozoon intestinalis has been detected in groundwater, swimming pool via AIDS patients and the origin of drinking water. [2]


Contaminated fresh water with certain types of snails that carry schistosomes.

Rash or itchy skin. Fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches.


Drinking water containing infective Cyclops.

Allergic reaction, urticarial rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, asthmatic attack.

Taeniasis Solium

Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Intestinal disturbances, neurological manifestations, loss of weight, cysticercosis.


Contaminated drinking water with encysted metacercaria.

GIT disturbance, diarrhea, liver enlargement, cholangitis, cholecystitis, obstructive jaundice.

Hymenolepiasis Nana

Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Mild GIT symptoms, nervous manifestation.


Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Hyatid cyst press on bile ductand blood vessels, if it ruptured cause anaphylactic shock.


Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Increases intracranial tension.


Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Loffler’s syndrome in lung, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, malnutrition, underdevelopment.


Contaminated drinking water with eggs.

Peri-anal itch, nervous irritability, hyperactivity and insomnia.


  • Botulism – Clostridium botulinum bacteria – gastro-intestinal food/water borne; can grow in food
  • Campylobacteriosis- fever, abdominal cramps, and mild to severe diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which should be closely monitored. Signs of dehydration include: thirst, irritability, restlessness, lethargy, sunken eyes, dry mouth and tongue, dry skin, fewer trips to the bathroom to urinate
  • (”)
  • Cholera – Vibrio cholerae bacteria – gastro-intestinal often waterborne
  • Chronic granulomatous disease – caused by the Mycobacterium marinum infection and localized in skin, frequently occurred with aquarium keepers [3].
  • Diarrheal disease due to E. coli.
  • Dysentery – Shigella/Salmonella bacteria – gastro-intestinal food/water
  • Legionellosis – cause Pontiac fever and Legionnaires’ disease
  • Leptospirosis- The illness typically progresses through two phases:
  • The first phase of nonspecific flu-like symptoms includes headaches, muscle aches, eye pain with bright lights, followed by chills and fever. Watering and redness of the eyes occurs and symptoms seem to improve by the fifth to ninth day.
  • The second phase begins after a few days of feeling well. The initial symptoms recur with fever and aching with stiffness of the neck. Some patients develop serious inflammation of the nerves to the eyes, brain, spinal column (meningitis), or other nerves. Right upper area abdominal pain may occur. Less common symptoms relate to disease of the liver, lungs, kidneys, and heart. (
  • Otitis externa- or swimmer’s ear usually starts out as a nagging itch, brought on by a softening of the protective lining of the ear canal. However, it can blossom into as painful an infection as you will ever experience.
  • Typhoid – Salmonella typhi bacteria – gastro-intestinal water/food borne
  • Vibrio illness caused by the bacteria of Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio alginolyticus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus commonly found in seafood and recreational water [4].
  • Adenovirus infection – its serotypes are typically waterborne [5].
  • Astroviruses- gastroenteritis, predominantly diarrhea
  • Caliciviruses- diarrhoea or vomiting lasting 1-4 days (incubation period 1-2 days). The most frequent source of infection appears to be contaminated food/beverages – may cause up to 90% of food-related gastroenteritis outbreaks.
  • Circoviruses – its human form of Transfusion Transmitted Virus found in feces, saliva, skin and hair [2]
  • Coronaviruses – cause SARS and excreted in the feces [2]
  • Enteric Adenoviruses- most commonly cause respiratory illness; however, depending on the infecting serotype, they may also cause various other illnesses, such as gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, cystitis, and rash illness. Symptoms of respiratory illness caused by adenovirus infection range from the common cold syndrome to pneumonia, croup, and bronchitis.
  • Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A virus – gastro-intestinal water/food borne
  • Parvoviruses – associated with Gastroenteritis [2].
  • Picobimaviruses – associated with Gastroenteritis in AIDS patients, children and elderly [2].
  • Polio – polioviruses – gastro-intestinal exposure to untreated
  • Polyomaviruses – its human form of JC virus cause Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy and detected in sewage [2]
  • Small Round Structured Virus- also known as “Winter vomiting disease” the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis
  • Hay fever – a part of disease rate is associated with the high frequency of swimming pool attendance in childhood [6]
  • Meningitis
  • Trihalomethanes – a byproduct of chlorinated water which will cause bladder cancer through inhalation and dermal absorption during showering, bathing, and swimming in pools [7].

Information below provided by Watts Premier.


When a water system is placed on a “boil water notice” by the State Health Department, or issues a self imposed “boil water alert”, there are usually many questions that arise. This document has been prepared to answer some of these questions.


What is the difference between a Boil Advisory and a Boil Notice?

Boil water advisories are generally issued when water pressure drops. Repairs to pipes or pipe breaking may cause pressure to drop. Boil water advisory means that the water supply may have been biologically contaminated, and as such all water that is to be used for drinking or cooking should be brought to a 3 minute rolling boil.


Boil water notice is much more serious than an advisory as it has been confirmed that the water supply has been biologically contaminated. In this case, all water used for drinking or cooking must be boiled. A boil water advisory is a precautionary measure, but a boil water notice must be followed.


Who issues “boil water alerts”?


Boil water alerts can be issued by the individual State Primacy agency or by the officials of the water system (self imposed). In most cases, it is the water system officials that issue the boil water alert.


When are boil water alerts necessary or required?


The water system or state primacy agency should issue a boil water alert when the following occurs:

When a water system incurs an Acute Coliform Violation (E.Coli);
When a preponderance of the samples collected are total coliform positive (TC+) or E. Coli positive (EC+);

When a water system loses pressure on all or part of the system
The system is compromised and there is the possibility that all or part of the water system can or will become contaminated.

What should I do if there is boiled water advisory or boiled water notice?

Boil Water Advisory


A boil water advisory means that all water that is to be used for drinking or cooking should be brought to a rolling boil for at least 3 minutes.
Under a boiled water advisory, water not used for drinking or cooking does not necessarily need to be boiled. This includes water that is used for bathing or showering or water that is being used to do the laundry. Dishwashers can be used, however it is recommended that you use the hot water cycle. Refrigerator water dispensers and icemakers should not be used. Bottled or boiled water should be used for baby formula.

Boil Water Notice


A boil water notice means that tests show that bacterial contamination (coliform and other harmful bacterial pathogens) in the water supply is higher than national standards allow. All water for cooking and drinking must be boiled. Bottled water or boiled water should be used for brushing your teeth.

The old, very young, immune compromised and sick are at greatest risk of becoming ill if this water is ingested. Symptoms include stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever.

Information below provided by Watts Premier.


Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical. Most of the perchlorate manufactured in the United States is used as the primary ingredient of solid rocket and missiles propellant. It is also use as a propellant for fireworks. Wastes from the manufacture and improper disposal of perchlorate-containing chemicals are increasingly being discovered in soil and water.


How Can Perchlorate Affect Human Health?

Perchlorate interferes with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. Because iodide is an essential component of thyroid hormones, perchlorate disrupts how the thyroid functions. In adults, the thyroid helps to regulate metabolism.
In children, the thyroid plays a major role in proper development in addition to metabolism. Impairment of thyroid function in expectant mothers may impact the fetus and newborn and result in effects including effects on the developing nervous system, changes in behavior, delayed development and decreased learning capability. Changes in thyroid hormone levels may also result in thyroid gland tumors.

Does perchlorate cause cancer?


Perchlorate is associated with disruption of thyroid function which can potentially lead to thyroid tumor formation.

Does My Water Contain Perchlorate?


There have been confirmed perchlorate releases in at least 20 states throughout the United States (see map). If you are in an area that has confirmed perchlorate occurrence, it is best to contact your water provider to see if they have been monitoring for perchlorate. If you are on a private well, you will need to have your water tested for perchlorate. Currently in the United States, the full extent of perchlorate contamination is not known, and is under significant research.


What Is Being Done about Perchlorate?

There is currently no national primary health level set for perchlorate. Many states have their own action level for perchlorate, or are currently accessing the health data regarding perchlorate in order to set a state level.
In the future, EPA may issue a Health Advisory that will provide information on protective levels for drinking water for the United States. This is one step in the process of developing a broader response to perchlorate including, for example, technical guidance, possible regulations and additional health information.


What can I do to remove perchlorate from my water?

Watts Premier currently has the first and only point of use water treatment device that is certified by NSF and California Department of Health Services to remove 96% of perchlorate from your drinking water. ( Nearly all of our reverse osmosis (5 stage manifold with perclorate claim) water treatment systems are capable of reducing perchlorate from your drinking water. If you have any additional questions regarding perchlorate, our line of reverse osmosis, or what specific products are certified for perchlorate, please feel free to contact us directly, at 800-752-5582.

For more information about perchlorate, follow these links:

pH, or Potential of Hydrogen, is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Aqueous solutions at 25°C with a pH less than seven are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than seven are considered basic (alkaline).

A pH meter can be very useful in a variety of situations, from measuring drinking water to pools water, or for many industrial or commercial applications.

HM Digital’s PH-200 is an extremely reliable pH meter that is very easy to use, easy to calibrate and offers excellent repeatability. Compared to chemicals or paper strips, where questionable color comparisons are required, with the PH-200, it’s a simple matter of turning the meter, dipping it in the liquid and reading the pH value on the LCD display.

Click here to read an article about Calibrating and Caring for Your pH Meter, from the July 2010 issue of Urban Garden Magazine. The article was written by Rob Samborn, Director of Sales & Marketing for HM Digital.

Click here to read an article about general tips for Troubleshooting Your pH Meter (not brand specific), from the September 2011 issue of Maximum Yield Magazine.

ORP, or Redox Potential, is a measurement of water’s ability to oxidize contaminants. The higher the ORP, the greater the number of oxidizing agents.
Checking ORP is a simple method to monitor the effectiveness of a sanitizer or the quantity of anti-oxidants in a liquid. In generalized terms for humans, a higher ORP is better for outside of the body, while a lower ORP is preferred for consumption due to the high anti-oxidant value.
There are numerous applications for ORP, each with its own specific optimum value. For example, the minimum ORP for pool & spa disinfection (set by the World Health Organization) is 650 mV. Though the WHO has not set a standard for ORP in drinking water, anything below -550mV is considered too strong and not recommended for drinking.

Yes. While EC and TDS are often used synonymously, there are some important differences to note. EC, when applied to water, refers to the electrical charge of a given water sample. TDS refers to the total amount of substances in the water other than the pure H2O. The only true way of measuring TDS is to evaporate the water and weigh what’s left. Since this is near impossible to do for the average person, is it possible to estimate the TDS level by measuring the EC of the water. Every digital TDS meter in the world is actually an EC meter.


All elements have some electrical charge. Therefore, it is possible to closely estimate the quantity of TDS by determining the EC of the water. However, since different elements have different charges, it is necessary to convert the EC to TDS using a scale that mimics the charge of that water type. The following are the most common water samples, and for the COM-100, each has its own conversion factor:


Potassium Chloride is the international standard to calibrate instruments that measure conductivity. The COM-100 is factory calibrated with a 1413 microsiemens solution is the default mode is EC-KCl. The KCl conversion factor is 0.5-0.57.
Developed by the Myron L Company, 442TM simulates the properties of natural water (rivers, lakes, wells, drinking water, etc.) with a combination of 40% Sodium Bicarbonate, 40% Sodium Sulfate and 20% Chloride. The 442 conversion factor is 0.65 to 0.85.
Sodium Chloride is used in water where the predominate ions are NaCl, or whose properties are similar to NaCl, such as seawater and brackish water. The NaCl conversion factor is 0.47 to 0.5.


Measurements in EC (μS) do not have a conversion factor, but do require the correct setting for the proper temperature coefficient.

Microfiltration is a “membrane technical filtration process” that physically removes contaminants and particles from a liquid by passing it against a membrane that is porous at the microscale (cross-flow system). Microporous means containing openings between 0.1 to 10 micrometers (one mcrometer is 1 x 10-6 m, or one millionth of a meter).


Unlike similar systems such as RO (Reverse Osmosis) and nanofiltration (NF), microfiltration as a process can involve a pressure gradient but does not require one. When pressure is used, it is typically at a much lower level when compared to RO and nanofiltration. Also, microfiltration is not used to filter out dissolved solids and contaminants such as metals and minerals from water as the microscale is too large.


Microfiltration is typically used to remove contaminants such as large bacteria, sediment, spores, and algae from water. This system is usually the most economic and efficient filtration process for large volumes of liquid and thus is popular in third world markets due to its relative simplicity and low-cost implementation. It is also used in cold sterilization of beverages and pharmaceuticals, beverage clarification, pre-treatment for RO systems to prevent membrane fouling, and in some oil-water separation applications. They provide consistent and reliable treatment of effluent water. Microfiltration has seen sharp rise in utilization by bioengineering companies for procurement of cell enzymes of biocatalysts.

Deionization (DI) is a water filtration process whereby total dissolved solids (TDS) are removed from water through ion exchange. In simple terms, by controlling the electric charge of ions in the water, it is possible to remove the TDS. Much like a positively charged magnet will attract a negatively charged magnet (and vice-versa), DI resins attract non-water ions and replace them with water ions, leaving a more pure water form.
The process of deionization uses two resins that are opposite in charges – the cationic (negative) and the anionic (positive). The cationic resin is typically made from styrene containing negatively charged sulfonic acid groups, and will be pre-charged with hydrogen ions. This resin will attract the positively charged ions in the water (Ca++, Mg++, Na+, etc.) and releases an equivalent amount of hydrogen (H+) ions.


Like the cationic, the anionic resin is also made from styrene, but contains positively charged quaternary ammonium groups, and will be pre-charged with hydroxide ions. This resin will attract the negatively charged ions (HCO3-, Cl-, SO4–, etc.) and releases an equivalent amount of hydroxide (OH-). The hydrogen and hydroxide ions then combine to form water. (H+ + OH- = HOH or H2O.)



The two resins can be ionized at a certain level, usually weak or strong. The cationic can be either a strong or weak acid. Likewise, the anionic resin can be either a strong or weak base. A weaker ionization will exchange only the weak ions, providing for a greater capacity (meaning longer filter cartridge life), while a stronger ionization will provide a higher degree of ion exchange, but at the cost of reduced capacity (shorter filter cartridge life).


As with many other types of filtration or purification processes, a single deionization cycle may not remove all the TDS. Some of the ions will not be attracted by the resins, so running the DI water through a second cycle will provide for additional purification. In other words, the more you run the deionized water through the more pure the yielding water will be. However, it is important to test the filtered water with a TDS meter after each cycle to determine the effectiveness of your DI system. Compared with other filtration and purification methods, DI has a relatively short filter cartridge life and once it begins to fail, the TDS level of the purified will “rise” exponentially.


Pure water, either naturally or created through a filtration or purification process, is absolutely safe to drink.

Solar treatment of water, known commonly as SODIS, or solar disinfection, was developed in the 1980s by the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology as an inexpensive and easily implementable system to provide drinkable water solutions. Currently, over two million people in twenty-eight countries worldwide rely on SODIS for daily drinking water.


The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) states that SODIS has been proven to inactivate and reduce viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in water, especially those that cause diarrheal diseases. SODIS has been seen in randomized trials to reduce these disease factors between 9% and 86%. (Household Water Treatment Options in Developing Countries: CDC Solar Disinfection (SODIS), CDC, January 2008)


The process for Solar Disinfection involves filling 0.3-2.0 liter PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles with low-turbidity water, shaken to oxygenate, that are then placed in direct sunlight for 6 hours or two days if cloudy (treatment duration varies with weather). The processes and chemical alterations from the water are a result of UV and solar radiation poisoning of microbes and organisms in addition to thermal inactivation and the photo-oxidative purifying properties of sunlight. Though some concern has been expressed about SODIS concerning leeching of bottle material during disinfection, various studies conducted have proven that levels of adipates and phthalates (DEHA and DEHP) were far below World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and regulations for safe drinking water and were, in fact, on par with that of higher quality public tap water.

What is…Distillation?


Distillation is one of mankind’s earliest forms of water treatment, and it is still a popular treatment solution throughout the world today. In ancient times, the Greeks used this process on their ships to convert sea water into drinking water. In far-eastern cultures, water was distilled for use in “Ranbiki” tea ceremonies.

Today, distilled water is still used to convert sea water to drinking water on ships and in arid parts of the world, and to treat water in other areas that is fouled by natural and unnatural contaminants. Distillation is perhaps the one water treatment technology that most completely reduces the widest range of drinking water contaminants.

Not only is distillation one of the most effective forms of treatment, but it is also one of the easiest to understand: untreated water is converted into water vapor, which is then condensed back into liquid form. Most of the contaminants are left behind in the boiling chamber, with the condensed water being virtually contaminant-free. Anyone who has accidentally let a pot of water boil completely out on the stove is familiar with this process, and familiar with the crust of contaminants typically left behind after the water is gone.

In nature, this basic process is responsible for the hydrologic cycle. The sun causes water to evaporate from surface sources such as lakes, oceans, and streams. The water vapor eventually comes in contact with cooler air, where it re-condenses to form dew or rain. This process can be imitated artificially, and more rapidly than in nature, using alternative sources of heating and cooling.

Early distillation equipment was very simple in design: a pot of undrinkable water (or water unfit for a ceremonial, commercial, or medical purpose) would be heated over an open flame until it boiled, forming steam. The steam would then condense on a cool surface suspended above the pot. The condensed water droplets would then run off into a storage container for future use. Alternatively, sponges could be suspended above the pot to collect the treated water. While such systems were relatively inefficient, it tended to be quite adequate for the limited water treatment needs of the time.

The efficiency of the distillation process began to see improvements as distillation was adapted to commercially refine many different liquids such as alcohol, perfume, petroleum, and various solvents. Finally, population demands have strained water resources in the 20th century to the point where efficiently treating otherwise undrinkable sources of water for human consumption is increasingly important.


How Distillation Systems Work


Several different types of distillation systems are available, the system chosen generally depending on the quantity of water required. Most households and businesses use inexpensive and effective single-stage distillers to provide less than a gallon, or up to 100 gallons, per day (gpd) of treated water. More economically efficient commercial distillation units produce up to 5,000 gallons per day, and use variations in steam pressure to help heat the water. Converting water into steam requires significant amounts of heat.

Most distillation units use either electricity, or, to a lesser extent, gas to generate the heat necessary. While it is difficult to get past the initial heating of the water, efficiency can be gained in keeping the process going by reusing the heated steam to preheat the incoming water.


Household Distillation


The most common type of household and commercial distiller available is a basic, single-effect distiller. Single-effect distillers are simple in design, inexpensive, and effective. They are less efficient in energy use than some of the more elaborate processes used mainly for commercial treatment. Most single-stage distillers are relatively compact counter top or stand-alone units for use in the kitchen or office. These distillers can be either batch distillers, where a measured quantity of water is manually poured in, distilled, and collected; or plumbed distillers that automatically treat and maintain a constant supply of drinking water.

In a single-effect distiller, a heating element heats the water until it boils and eventually becomes steam. The steam is then drawn away from the boiling chamber, where it cools, condensing into highly treated distilled water. The contaminants in the original water are left behind in the boiling chamber.

The condensing process is accomplished by using air or water to cool the steam. With some designs, the steam passes through coiled tubing which is either immersed in cool water, or cooled by a fan. (See above). In others, the roof of the boiling chamber is cone-shaped, with the cone being cooled by the non-heated water stored above it. Water droplets condense on the inside of the cone-shaped dome, and run down for collection in a drip pan. With some water-cooled systems, a portion of the heat lost as the steam is cooled and condensed can be reclaimed by channelling the heated cooling water into the boiling chamber. It is then replaced with fresh, cool water. The pre-heated water requires less new energy to convert it into steam. (See the WaterReview Technical Report “Efficiencies of Distillation Equipment” for more information on energy-conserving designs.)

While the distillation process alone is very effective, certain pesticides and contaminants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radon convert into vapor readily, and can travel with the steam our of the boiling chamber. Almost all household distillers use special vents and carbon pre- and post-filters to effectively deal with these contaminants.

Distillation units do require some maintenance, which usually involves draining off the concentrated sediment and other contaminants that accumulate at the bottom of the boiling chamber. The walls of the chamber may also need to be cleaned of hard-water scale and other sediment that can accumulate. The required amount of cleaning depends greatly upon the initial quality of water used. Very hard water can produce heavy scaling in a relatively short period of time. If soft water is used, cleaning difficulties should be minimal. The carbon pre- and post-filters must be changed periodically as well.

Typical household distillers cost between $300 and $1,000 and produce water for as low as $.25 a gallon, energy and filter costs included. Look for the WQA Gold Seal (S-400) to find products that have been successfully tested by WQA to industry performance standards.


Commercial Distillers


Many commercial operations use multiple-effect distillers, to provide from 75 to millions of gallons per day. These units typically contain a number of boiling chambers, with the first chamber being under increased pressure, and successive chambers having progressively decreasing pressure. This takes advantage of the fact that the greater the steam pressure, the higher the boiling point and temperature of the steam produced. The steam created in the first high-pressure chamber is “superheated” to a point well above the temperature needed to create steam in the lower-pressure chambers. As this superheated steam moves through tubes surrounding each of the succeeding boiling chambers, it “flash” vaporizes some of the cooler, lower-pressure water in each chamber. The flash vapor is then condensed into distilled water, as is the superheated steam when all of its heat energy is exchanged. The self-sustaining nature of this process can be quite efficient for large quantities of water, since only an electric or gas heating element is required for the first boiling chamber as an energy source.

A variation of the multiple-effect distiller concept is the vapor-compression distiller, which is typically used in commercial applications requiring between 25 and 5000 gallons per day. Vapor-compression water distillers also use high-pressure, superheated steam to boil water; however, they only use a single chamber. The water in the boiling chamber is initially converted to steam at normal pressures and temperatures by an electric or gas heating element. The steam then passes through an electric compressor; the compression causes it to become superheated. The superheated steam is then directed through tubes back into the boiling chamber, where it eventually takes over the boiling process, condensing into distilled water as the heat transfer occurs. These systems are typically more efficient than multi-stage units, since the energy required to operate the compressor is less than that required to heat water using a heating element. The greater efficiency usually brings with it a greater cost, as compared to multistage units.

Both multi-stage and vapor-compression distillers can incorporate various forms of filtration to make a broadly effective treatment system. These systems can provide water for such uses as commercial water bottling. Both systems also require water that is softened to be practical, to prevent debilitating scaling with resultant heat transfer losses and maintenance costs.

At the municipal level, both multi-stage and vapor-compression distillation can provide large quantities of distilled water for drinking use, and are especially used in distilling seawater for use in arid areas adjacent to the oceans.


What Distiller Units Treat


Distillation is an effective process for producing highly treated drinking water. Distillation can significantly reduce levels of sediment, metals, and biological contaminants, which are unable to travel out of the boiling chamber with the steam. When combined with effective activated carbon filtration, contaminants like VOCs and radon can also be controlled. It is recommended that only units designed and tested for health-contaminant reduction be used for such purposes. These units, when combined with activated carbon filtration, can be used to effectively treat such contaminants as:

  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Atracine (Herbicide/pesticides)
  • Benzene
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Nitrate
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Radium
  • Radon
  • Biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses, and water-borne cysts like cryptosporidium)

A distillation system with activated carbon filtration can also be quite effective for treating aesthetic drinking water contaminants like chlorine or iron bacteria, which lead to unpleasant tastes, odors, or colors.




Distillation is an effective water treatment technology for household and commercial use. It provides water with a distinct clarity, up to 98% free of impurities. Distillation units are continually being improved to increase efficiency and water output, making them increasingly popular and cost-effective for residential and commercial users alike.

This problem of fruit and vegetable decontamination occurs on a larger scale when the produce is first harvested at the farm or when it arrives at a processing facility. In order to remove dirt and other materials from the produce, these fruits and vegetables must first be washed. Because agriculture uses a great deal of water as it is, and water can be expensive for farmers, water used in fruit and vegetable washing is often recycled. In this recycling, contaminants can be distributed throughout the produce.


This is where measuring the ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) of the water can benefit both large and small fruit and vegetable growers, as well as the average homeowner. The higher the ORP value, measured in millivolts, the more likely the water being tested can oxidize contaminants, thus reducing any harm that may come from them. For instance, an ORP value of greater than +650 mV has been shown to kill E. coli and Salmonella in a few seconds. A similar ORP value can predict that the water may kill spoilage yeast and some forms of fungi in a few minutes. Thus, a farmer or other agricultural professional could determine the likelihood that the water they are using to clean their produce will be effective in decontamination.


If a farmer finds that their water has a low ORP value, they can then take steps, such as chlorination or ozonation of the water, to remedy the situation.

Monitoring of environmental factors in terms of public water resources and applications is extremely important in the modern world, as the amount of contaminants in our water increase and diversify every day. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regularly is updating their regulations for water safety standards as various new threats emerge. Oftentimes the risk factor for these problems can be monitored and mitigated at the original source, whether that be deep below ground in a spring, the supposedly “fresh melt” runoff from mountains, or the precipitation falling from the clouds themselves.


Evaluating levels of pH (concentration of hydrogen ion H+) is necessary in ensuring safe water conditions. Pure water has an approximate pH of 7.0, which means it has a hydrogen ion concentration of 10-7 molar concentration (mols per liter substance). Many factors can influence the pH of water from natural chemical factors (such as dissolving and eroding bedrock or decaying flora/fauna) to artificial ones such as manufacturing waste-runoff. One significant problem that threatens sources of drinking water is acid rain. Acid rain is rain precipitation that has a much lower pH, recorded as low as 4.3 which is 1000 times more acidic than pure water (pH is an exponential measurement system, i.e., pH 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than pH 7.0, and pH 8.0 is 10 times less acidic, a.k.a. more basic, than ph 7.0). Acid rain results from higher than normal levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) diffusing into cloud water from sources such as industrial areas and car emissions. When this acidic water condenses and falls as precipitation it inevitably finds its way into public water resources through use of rivers, streams, and groundwater channels into reservoirs. Varying levels of pH have been shown to be extremely harmful to human health in addition to other flora/fauna that utilize and interact with the same water sources such as fish and animal life or farming products.


Preventing pH fluctuation is not the only cause for concern when monitoring water qualities. Contaminants such as salts and metals such as lead will affect the purity of the water and can potentially make it hazardous. Often these foreign bodies enter the water through erosion or artificial waste runoff, all of which contribute to raising the Total Dissolved Solids in the water, or the TDS levels. This is also indicative of the turbidity of the water or how cloudy or clear it is. Though TDS meters do not distinguish specific contaminants in water, they are a useful tool in determining overall purity levels. pH testers can easily and economically be used in the field for applications such as acid rain detection.

While the amount of water used for winemaking is less than many other agricultural crops, the source of the water makes a difference in the quality of the final product. This is especially true if the irrigation source comes from a well – if a water sample indicates a high pH level or high carbonate/bicarbonates levels, a grape grower should treat the water.


Winemakers also need to be aware of the levels of other elements and compounds including: sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate nitrogen and sulfur. High levels of certain elements, such as iron, can clog drip irrigation systems, for example, but by monitoring and amending the water quality, growers can prevent problems. According to a survey published in the 2004 California Wine Community Sustainability Report, 77% of winemakers are testing the water quality of their irrigation water at least occasionally, with 31% conducting at least annually.


It is also recommended that growers should map out a water management strategy, which ensures that there is no off-site runoff of water. Water conserving irrigation systems, using water budgets, are considered to be the best practices.If vineyards do have runoff, it can pollute waterways with sediment and fertilizer residues, and as a result, drinking water can be affected and fish and other life forms may become endangered.


Flow meters can help growers achieve precise volumes of water used in water budgets. Responsible growers will also calculate the timing and frequency of fertilizer applications flowing through irrigation lines to prevent the leaching of fertilizer below root zone. Some growers even dry farm their winegrapes, which is the best way to conserve water.


Law Seminars International / Winery & Wine Distribution Law

Stacy A Bjordahl of Witherspoon, Kelley, Devenport and Toole

Horticulture, as defined by the International Society of Horticulture Science (ISHS) and the Institute of Horticulture(IOH), is “the art, science, technology and business of intensive plant cultivation for human use.” Applications of horticulture extend from the food industry to medicinal herbs and gardening such as flower and tree care. The horticulture industry is rapidly expanding as there is increasing prevalence, reliance, and preference for/on natural substitutes to artificially made products. Horticultural products are generally deemed as necessary in “developing and maintaining human health and wellbeing.”


As horticulture is a science, vigorous testing and monitoring of horticultural processes is mandatory in order to achieve desired product results. While some of these tests need to be conducted in a laboratory environment, many of them can be applied easily and efficiently in field work in an economic manner through the use of testing instruments. The two most important tests in horticulture and their respective testers/meters involve the measurement of:


  • Conductivity levels (measurement of water’s ability to conduct electricity)
  • pH levels: (measurement of the hydrogen ion H+ concentration)
  • Alkalinity: (measurement of the ability to neutralize acids; also utilizes pH meters)


With meters and testers, these measurements of conductivity, pH, and alkalinity are easily obtainable from water and water-based sediment. These measurements are vital in the various applications of horticulture. Examples include growing strawberries in a personal garden and measuring the pH of the soil water, to implementing more efficient measures of providing nutrients to grow feed that is destined for commercial livestock.

The metal finishing industry is significant for its importance in applications of other industries such as the automotive, home appliance, electrical, interior design and more. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) metal finishing is “is the process of changing the surface of an object, for the purpose of improving its appearance and/or durability”. [What is Metal Finishing?, EPA, 1-10-2013] The industry also involves electroplating applications, or the process of producing a thin layer of metal on a subject through electrodeposition.


Monitoring different factors in metal finishing processes is extremely important in achieving high quality results in a consistent uniform manner. The quality of water, an important aspect of the procedure, can be instrumental in determining the final properties and characteristics of the end product, such as sheen, reflectivity, and strength. vWater quality in the metal finishing industry is influenced by many factors; two significant ones are pH (concentration of hydrogen ion H+) and the Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) of the water source.


ORP meters can be used to determine the adequate amounts of a treatment chemical to be added to raw waste to neutralize it. Meters that measure pH are used in Cyanide Destruction and Chrome Reduction, for example. HM Digital, Inc. manufactures high quality pH and ORP meters that are perfectly suited for use in the metal finishing industry in efficiently and effectively monitoring the treatment of waste byproducts.

Ozone, also known as trioxygen, is an elemental molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms. Commonly and naturally occurring in a level of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, the ozone layer is instrumental in protecting Earth from harmful UV light rays and solar radiation. However ozone also has applications beyond atmospheric protection and that is in the water purifying industry, through a process called ozonation.


Ozonation works when water purifiers create and raise ozone concentrations in water to a specified level. This process of creating ozone comes around from an ozone generator, a device which pushes compressed air through a powerful UV light source that creates a chemical reaction much in the same way that the sun is able to. Some of this air is then converted into ozone and the entire gaseous mixture is then sent through a diffuser which mixes ozone-saturated bubbles with water, thus increasing the dissolved ozone concentration. Ozone has been proven to increase water quality by reducing and neutralizing dangerous bacteria and other organisms that are increasingly found in water, by “oxidizing” the bacteria much the same way iron is turned to rust. This oxidation kills harmful microbes that can cause diarrheal diseases and other sicknesses.


ORP meters are instrumental in the application of ozonation and ozone system monitoring. Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) can be used to measure the level of ozone concentrations due to the chemical properties of how ozone reacts with contaminants and oxidizes them. Ozone is negative in nature because of its elemental composition and thus its third oxygen atom is prone to break its covalent bond to the other two oxygen atoms and bind to other bodies, such as bacteria. This binding is called oxidation and it breaks down the bacteria and other contaminants and transforms them into another material that can be sifted out (cleaned) by other filter systems that would normally be unable to cleanse the water of those organisms. ORP meters measure the electric potential, or the level and ability of these negative ozone molecules to break apart and oxidize in water. There exists a correlation between the level of negative electric potential in the water and the level of ozone concentration.

Pulp bleaching is a necessary element of the printing industry which is one of the largest and most significant industries in the modern world.


Many factors go into the paper making process. Millions of pounds of sustainable wood are used every year with two other ingredients to create the paper to meet the enormous demand on the printing industry. These two other ingredients are 1) energy (in the forms of heat and electricity); and 2) water. Paper is created when wood is processed and ground down into “wood pulp”, a mushy substance of wood fibers mixed with water. In fact, this papermaking stock is actually 99% water! This pulp-stock is naturally not the clean white that is needed and utilized for the industry and needs to be chemically corrected and “bleached.” This bleaching of wood pulp needs to be consistent to provide that perfect uniform color and the first step towards that pristine paper production begins with reliable and consistent source material.


Factors such as levels of pH (hydrogen ion concentration H+) and TDS (total dissolved solids) influence how well the wood fibers of paper react with the bleaching agents to ensure a uniform clean color throughout the paper product in addition to how well they accumulate and bond together (paper strength). Paper qualities themselves vary greatly depending on the end product, from the strong paper bag that carries your groceries to the smoothness of printer paper. Paper is not just made by large manufacturers either; many people still create paper as a hobby or profession in their own homes. HM Digital testers and meters are suitable for all paper production monitoring purposes in a range from the commercial sector to the private home paper-making enthusiast in ensuring that paper produced is the color it was always intended to be.

The printing industry is one of the largest and most significant in the modern world. In the United States alone, the industry employs nearly one million people and is larger than the automotive industry, second only to the federal government. There are over forty-five trillion pieces of paper printed per year globally, and in the U.S., there exists over 30,000 printing companies with a market cap of 112 billion dollars (2006 U.S. Industry & Market Outlook, Barnes Reports).


Millions of pounds of sustainable wood are used every year with two other ingredients to create the paper to meet the enormous demand on the printing industry. These two other ingredients are energy (in the forms of heat and electricity) and water. Paper is created when wood is processed and ground down into “wood pulp”, a mushy substance which is bleached with chemicals and mixed with water. In fact, this papermaking stock is actually 99% water!


The heavy reliance on water as a necessary material for paper production implies the need for monitoring of water source properties and pulp-stock properties to ensure the most efficient and economic quality control. Factors such as levels of pH(hydrogen ion concentration H+) and TDS (total dissolved solids) influence how well the wood fibers of paper accumulate and bond together. Paper qualities themselves vary greatly depending on the end product, from the paper bag that carries your groceries, to the smoothness of printer paper, to even the easy-tearing ability of wrapping paper. Paper is not just made by large manufacturers either; many people still create paper as a hobby or profession in their own homes. Water testers and meters are suitable for all paper production monitoring purposes in a range from the commercial sector to the private home paper making enthusiast.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Join us at one of our upcoming events View Events