How to Make Safe Drinking Water
Making drinking water safe all comes down to two things:
- The level of contamination.
- The quality of your filtration at a city level and household level.
Let’s talk first about contamination levels in a few major U.S. cities.
How Many Contaminants Are In Your Water?
After studying water contamination in almost 800 U.S. cities, we have found large differences in water quality.
Some cities, like Southfield, Michigan, have 5 or fewer water contaminants.
Others, like Miramar, Florida, have 75 contaminants. From our research, Miramar has, by far, the worst water of all U.S. cities with over 50,000 residents.
Most cities fall somewhere in the mid-teens to low-twenties with a majority of Texas cities in the thirties and forties. Texas is a consistent outlier with lax regulations on pollution and industry.
To find out the number of contaminants in your water, use this easy search tool:
You can type in your State, your City, and even a specific contaminant to find more information.
Want to know which cities have a Chloroform problem in their water supply? Type in “chloroform” and all cities with that contaminant will show up.
Want to know the water quality in Alexandria, VA vs. Washington DC? Type them in one at a time and open each in a separate tab.
How to Filter Out Contaminants
Filtration is the key to how to make safe drinking water.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as buy a new Brita pitcher.
While both Brita and PUR filters do a decent job, they are some of the least effective activated carbon filters available.
That leaves us with two solutions:
- Use a countertop filtration system that lasts for up to 5 years.
- Invest in a whole house filtration system to filter the maximum.
Activated Carbon Filters Work
Using a durable activated carbon filter can drop contamination levels from 22 contaminants in Columbus, Ohio down to 4.
The best filter system for this is a Berkey.
In fact, using a Brita or PUR pitcher leaves 9 contaminants in your drinking water. Just over double what a Berkey achieves.
Berkey filters are more expensive upfront than Brita and PUR pitchers.
- For a Big Berkey stainless steel countertop system, you will likely pay a little over $300 including two filters.
- This setup provides 6,000 gallons of clean, lead-free drinking water.
However, they last much longer than the plastic pitcher inserts. Up to 5 years longer.
Your $30 Brita pitcher filter needs to be replaced every couple of months or 40 gallons.
6,000 gallons vs. 40 gallons is easy math.
While the Berkey is 10x the cost of a Brita, it cleans 150 times more water.
Want to learn more about Berkey and gain access to discounts? Check out our Water Filters page.
Whole House Water Filtration Works
Now, you might be wondering about those remaining 4 chemicals in Columbus’s water.
Using a reverse osmosis system, you can filter out just one more contaminant.
The remaining three are:
To combat these three, you should write to your city government. It’s a community level problem.
Conclusion: How to Make Safe Drinking Water
First, you should know what contaminants are in your water.
Second, you should purchase a safe, long-lasting water filtration device. Our recommendation is a filter with years of service rather than months.