Water Pollution Facts: The Cost of Contamination

Water Pollution Facts: The Cost of Contamination

Drinking-Water: A Most Precious Resource

The Earth is 75% water. Out of this, only 2.5% is non-saline. Out of the 2.5%, only 1% is easily accessible for human use and consumption.

The rest is are in cold places that receive snow all year long, like Antarctica and Greenland, in glaciers, which can be found in the same area, and in icebergs, which mostly traverse the North Atlantic Ocean.

This leaves a mere 0.025% of the Earth’s total water accessible to humans, and this figure still includes polluted rivers, lakes, and streams.

If all the water in the world were set to a scale of a million liters, the natural proportion of both polluted and unpolluted freshwater would leave a mere 250 liters of freshwater for people around the globe to share!

In 2015, the United States of America's population made up 4% of the world’s total population. If the 250 liters were distributed per capita, the USA would enjoy a mere eleven (11) liters!

The Cost of Water Pollution and Contamination

According to the United States Environment Protection Agency, more than half of the United States population relies on common water systems with surface water sources, such as rivers and lakes.

The distressing news is that as early as 2011, observations were made regarding freshwater sources in the United States: 47% of lakes, 45% of rivers, and 32% of bays are reportedly polluted.

A third of the population relies on common water systems with groundwater sources, while around 15% source most of their water from private groundwater wells.

However, despite its reputation of being a perfectly protected water source, groundwater is also very susceptible to contamination from sources such as septic and storage tanks, manufacturers of hazardous waste, and landfill and environmental runoff. 

Exposure to and use of polluted water lead to harmful effects cause leading to acute respiratory and stomach ailments, chronic illnesses such as cancer, nervous system problems, reproductive and developmental disorders.

Water-borne diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis are spread when bacteria proliferate, and pyrogens (substances produced by bacteria causing fever when introduced to human blood) spread due to water pollution.

Regardless of the source of drinking water, whether surface, ground, or private wells, the risk of using and drinking contaminated or polluted water is very real and dangerous. This is why it is so important to get reliable home water filters.

Reverse Osmosis: Harnessing Nature and Reversing It

Water Pollution Facts: The Cost of Contamination

Reverse osmosis technology was discovered almost 400 years ago by French clergyman and physicist Jean-Antoine Nollet.

It remains a very important water filtration method, as it has been integral to the water usage of countless households around the world and various industries, ranging from pharmaceutical corporations and bottled and flavored drink manufacturers and wineries and vineyards.

From its discovery in 1748 to 1949, osmosis used to be a phenomenon only observable through microscopes in biology laboratories, through which nutrients are delivered to cells.

However, modern technology has fashioned this amazing occurrence into the practical and familiar reverse osmosis water filter system, which could be attached to the end of your faucets in the comfort of your home.

So how does reverse osmosis work? First, let’s go back to how intelligent design did osmosis work.

Osmosis is the passage or diffusion of water or substances that dissolve other substances (solvents) through a membrane that blocks some molecules of substances originally dissolved in the solvent (solute).

Simply put, osmosis allows water to pass through a semi-permeable membrane while trapping molecules of the solute. In a table sugar-water mixture, sugar is the solute, and water is the solvent.

Suppose you put such mixture through one side of a semi-permeable membrane, and on the other side is plain water. In that case, plain water will flow through the membrane to mix with the sugar-water mixture to create osmotic pressure, resulting in more liquid forming on the sugar-water mixture side.

Once the right level of osmotic pressure is achieved, there is no more movement of either solvent or solute across the semi-permeable membrane.

Reverse osmosis would happen when applying pressure to the side with a sugar-water mixture to counteract the natural osmotic pressure. Water flows through the semi-permeable membrane and leaves the sugar molecules on the other side of the membrane.

Reverse osmosis has several industrial uses: the sugary substance from the maple tree sap is separated from the water, creating maple syrup.

Whey is separated from milk in the dairy industry to create cheese and other dairy products.

Acid, smoke and even alcohol are separated from the rest of the components of wine to create quality wines and wines of varying alcohol proofs.

Such is proof of the benefits brought about by turning scientific facts into technological applications.

The same phenomenon harnessed to separate solvents from solutes, like particles such as human hair, to compounds as minute as aqueous salts, to elements such as high fluoride levels, is now available for everyday use through reverse osmosis water filter systems.

The Best Alternative to Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is not the sole method of purifying contaminated or polluted water.

There are several other home water purification methods: distillation, ion exchange, carbon adsorption, basic microporous filtration, and ultraviolet radiation.

Of all the mentioned methods, it has been consistently shown that reverse osmosis technology is the most efficient, with distillation as its closest contender.

Against distillation, reverse osmosis is more energy-efficient, as distillation consumes a lot of electricity.

Reverse osmosis does not require expensive electricity similar to what distillation requires; it simply requires constant water pressure.

Reverse osmosis filters are compact, whereas distillation systems take up a large amount of space.

Distillation is expensive because of the equipment needed to change water into vapor and back to water again.

In contrast, reverse osmosis separates unwanted matter from the water, such as dissolved minerals and chemicals and heavy metals like the dangerous arsenic and mercury, without the water changing from one state to another.

Ion exchange does not remove particles, pyrogens or bacteria, and costs more than reverse osmosis in the long term.

Carbon adsorption causes carbon fines and thus is not environmentally friendly when compared to reverse osmosis.

Microporous basic filtration does not remove dissolved inorganic material, such as arsenic and mercury, and similar elements and compounds, from the water.

Ultraviolet radiation does not remove particles and colloids, unlike reverse osmosis.

The Best among the Better and the Good

Water Pollution Facts: The Cost of Contamination

Our Berkey Water Filter System is one of the top-performing water filters that use gravity to filter water from heavy metals and toxic elements.

Black Berkey® Elements dramatically reduce trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, petroleum products, perfluorinated chemicals, rust, silt, sediment, radiologicals, and more.

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