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Old 11-17-2008, 02:19 PM   #21
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I drink tap water, it tastes good here. I also use old bottles and freeze tap water to take on trips on hot days. I keep a pitcher in the fridge filled with water because I like it really cold.
Minnesota always has good tap water,for sure........
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:33 PM   #22
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Today I purchased two more cases of bottled water at Sam's. I really hate lugging those sorry cases around. But I'm still in a fix about water.

I'm on a well now after drinking tap water in the city almost all my life. First the water pH was too low from the well and was destroying my copper pipes. I installed a neutralizing filter, so now the pH is perfect, but I get a very small amount of tiny solids from the calcite media. Then I tested for bacteria: 70-80 ppm. Uh oh. So I shock treated the well with 4-5 gallons of Clorox. It then tested at about 20 ppm one week after treatment. Did I do an inadequate job shocking the well, or is bacteria getting in continuously? Should I shock it again to see if I can get it all? It's not expensive, but it's a pain in the *ss to do. The water lab people say only 0.00 ppm is acceptable for drinking. Here's the funny part.

Neighbors on each adjacent property, and the previous owners of my property, have drunk the well water for decades with no known ill effects, bacteria and all. Are they immuned, or is the bacteria harmless? I could, and probably will, install a bacteria filter and be done with it because 1) I hate to lug around the bottled water, and 2) shocking the well is a real pain. But I just hate to pay for something that is unnecessary and requires ongoing maintenance. Oh, the taste of the water is fine.:confused:
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:16 PM   #23
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We have a Brita pitcher also. I drink both from the tap and from the pitcher, but prefer the pitcher, except for my coffee. I guess that I am so used to the tap water for my coffee, that I did not care for the purer taste. I fill a container of water and ice when I go on trips. I also drink water at restaurants.
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:47 PM   #24
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The NRDC did a test of bottled waters in 1999. Aquafina did well, You can see the results here. But it is tap water, at least in Houston.

We run our water through a GE water filter then use a Brita pitcher.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:18 PM   #25
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If I have to drink a bottled water, and have a choice, I will not drink Evian. I hate the taste of it. I prefer an American Spring water. CG is OK, but not the best. Calistoga is OK, probably like Arrowhead the best.

We used to keep gallon jugs of water for our 72 hour emergency supply. I bought Black mountain for that. We changed it out every year and drank the switchers. Thought it was pretty good, but had an interesting taste...rather different than others. Eventually just bought the cheapest store brand we could find....its just to keep you alive anyway until water service can be restored or you can get the heck out of Dodge.

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:26 PM   #26
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Today I purchased two more cases of bottled water at Sam's. I really hate lugging those sorry cases around. But I'm still in a fix about water.

I'm on a well now after drinking tap water in the city almost all my life. First the water pH was too low from the well and was destroying my copper pipes. I installed a neutralizing filter, so now the pH is perfect, but I get a very small amount of tiny solids from the calcite media. Then I tested for bacteria: 70-80 ppm. Uh oh. So I shock treated the well with 4-5 gallons of Clorox. It then tested at about 20 ppm one week after treatment. Did I do an inadequate job shocking the well, or is bacteria getting in continuously? Should I shock it again to see if I can get it all? It's not expensive, but it's a pain in the *ss to do. The water lab people say only 0.00 ppm is acceptable for drinking. Here's the funny part.

Neighbors on each adjacent property, and the previous owners of my property, have drunk the well water for decades with no known ill effects, bacteria and all. Are they immuned, or is the bacteria harmless? I could, and probably will, install a bacteria filter and be done with it because 1) I hate to lug around the bottled water, and 2) shocking the well is a real pain. But I just hate to pay for something that is unnecessary and requires ongoing maintenance. Oh, the taste of the water is fine.:confused:
Several questions:

Is your well sealed (that is, is there a concrete cap on the borehole?) If not, sealing it may help surface contaminants from getting down into your well. Here in CA a 50-foot deep seal is required for all new wells that will serve residential connections.

How deep is your well, and is it hand-dug or drilled?

How far away from the following is your well: septic leach field, septic tank, livestock pasture, barn, farm, bird roost?

Is the well inside a wellhouse or pumphouse (can limit critter activity near it)?

What is the bacteria? Do you have coliforms/fecal coliforms or other types of bacteria in your well?
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:50 PM   #27
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We're on a well. I have a water softener (because the well water is very hard and would make a mess of the appliances and fixtures)

For drinking I have filters (sediment and carbon) folowed by reverse osmosis, followed by a smal "polishing filter" then UV light sterilization. This goes to our icemaker in the freezer and a tap at the sink.

The water tastes great. We drink a lot of it.

Bottled water is bad from many perspectives--environmental costs (plastic waste, fuel used by trucks to haul it, etc) the bottles leach chemicals of many types into the water. Some bottles contain bisphenol A, there's a lot of evidence that it's bad for humans.

Treating the water at your home makes the most sense. If you've got city water, often a carbon filter to remove the chlorine (and any organic stuff) is all you need. Sometimes an RO unit is needed. Still much cheaper (and greener) than bottled. If you want to gio the extra mile, spend $100 more and get an RO unit with a "permeate pump," esp if your water pressure is not very high. It will significantly reduce water waste.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #28
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We're also on a well and, like samclem, have a softener due to extreme hardness. We don't drink the water and we don't buy bottled water either - at least not in the conventional sense.

I have several three gallon bottles I refill at Wally World about once a month. They sell city water, run through a RO system and carbon filtered, for $0.25 per gallon. I've considered a system like samclem's, but at my current cost of less than $4 per month it is hard for me to justify.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:17 PM   #29
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On a well here, with a water softener. I've never minded the taste of the water, but DW didn't like it, so I installed a GE reverse osmosis system under the kitchen sink. It works great and the water is taste free and also doesn't mineralize in the coffee pot or other cooking vessels. I think I paid about $150 for it and installed it easily myself.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:20 PM   #30
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I have a water softener and some sort of filter at the kitchen sink for drinking water. It tastes pretty good, though it is probably high in salt.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:22 PM   #31
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I think I paid about $150 for it and installed it easily myself.
My concern is more about the cost of ongoing maintenance than the system itself. How often do you have to change the membrane and filters? What do they cost?
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:54 PM   #32
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I drink tap water, and don't even bother with the filtered water from my refrigerator. Water in Springfield tastes as good as the water here, so I will probably drink it from the tap as well. I agree with Ron Boyd that the water in Hawaii was some of the best that I have ever had.

On the other hand, I have lived in places where the water was not very drinkable in my opinion (College Station, Texas and San Diego, for example). I drank only bottled water there.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:21 PM   #33
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My concern is more about the cost of ongoing maintenance than the system itself. How often do you have to change the membrane and filters? What do they cost?
I think the filter set is about $35, if I recall correctly. I believe you are supposed to change it yearly, but I've changed it every two years and at that noted no slow down of flow. I'm still on original membrane after 4 years, so I'm not sure what the useful life is.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:34 PM   #34
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My concern is more about the cost of ongoing maintenance than the system itself. How often do you have to change the membrane and filters? What do they cost?
Sediment filters (for drinking water only)- Change annually, cheap ($5-10 each)

Carbon filter: Change annually, about $20 (It's best not to let this go too long--things can grow on the carbon)

RO filter: Depends on a lot of factors. Chlorine breaks them down quickly, so those on city water need to have a carbon filter before the RO. I've been running mine for three years and it is still doing well. In your case, I'd recommend buying a cheap ($15) electronic meter for dissolved solids and check the drinking water every few months. That's what i do. When the RO membrane starts to fail, it will let through more of the salt and it will show up in the meter reading. I think a new RO membrane is $50-90. BTW, they even make water taps for the sink that have these meters built in--it's convenient.

If you go with the UV light, the bulb needs to be changed each year. The costs vary widely depending on the design of the device. I probably don't realy need the light (all my neighbors drink the water without problems), but it is a peace of mind thing.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:39 PM   #35
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Travelover and sam, thanks for the info. Being cheap and a frequent visitor to Wallyworld (a natural fit ), I think I'll stick with my refillable jugs for now.
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:16 PM   #36
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Sediment filters (for drinking water only)- Change annually, cheap ($5-10 each)

Carbon filter: Change annually, about $20 (It's best not to let this go too long--things can grow on the carbon)

RO filter: Depends on a lot of factors. Chlorine breaks them down quickly, so those on city water need to have a carbon filter before the RO. I've been running mine for three years and it is still doing well. In your case, I'd recommend buying a cheap ($15) electronic meter for dissolved solids and check the drinking water every few months. That's what i do.
Just another data point, YMMV, but:

I have an RO unit mounted after my water softener (hard well water, fairly high in iron), the carbon filter sometimes lasts 3 months, usually 6 months, other times a whole year. We get a sulfur-y-skunky- smell, so then I change the filter, I think it is some kind of bacteria build up (maybe related to the iron which can vary from time to time?). There will be some black build up on the filter housing, a cleaning with bleach, soap, rinse and a new (cheap $2 at Menards?) carbon filter and all is well again.

Our RO membrane is 10+ YO. I was wondering if it was working, I don't have a meter. I poured 1/8 cup of RO and an equal amount of the WS water into two clean glasses, and let them evaporate. I could clearly see salt residue from the WS water, no residue from the RO water, so I guess I am OK. The manufacturer said 10 years could be expected with no chlorine at my usage level ( maybe 5 G /week).

Some of those "indicators" they sell with RO units are nothing more than a timer. They start blinking after 6 months, just a reminder to replace the filter. Not any sort of test at all. At least that is what the one I installed for my Mom does ( a Sears unit). Instead of replacing the battery after 6 months, we just jot a note on the calendar, and will replace the filter as needed. So far 9 months w/o a problem, we will do it soon.

What meter do you use for $15?

-ERD50
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:58 AM   #37
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Brita ultramax dispenser. It holds a lot and fits well in the fridge. Plus, for you super frugal types, did you know an empty fridge costs more to keep cold than a full one? This thing makes sure half your top shelf is always full.
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:09 AM   #38
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Several questions:

Is your well sealed (that is, is there a concrete cap on the borehole?) If not, sealing it may help surface contaminants from getting down into your well. Here in CA a 50-foot deep seal is required for all new wells that will serve residential connections.

How deep is your well, and is it hand-dug or drilled?

How far away from the following is your well: septic leach field, septic tank, livestock pasture, barn, farm, bird roost?

Is the well inside a wellhouse or pumphouse (can limit critter activity near it)?

What is the bacteria? Do you have coliforms/fecal coliforms or other types of bacteria in your well?
Urchina, yes the well has a concrete riser and cap on a concrete slab in a covered an insulated pump house. The well is a 24" bored well and is about 90' deep with about 60' of water. The bacteria is simple coliform, not identified since there are far too many to test for according to the state lab, but it has no fecal coliform. The ground is sloped slightly, and I don't see how any surface water could be getting into the well.
Septic field is 200'+ away. The lake, however, is probably 75' away.
There is no livestock near the well except my dog, squirrels and some deer. But with no fecal coliform, I don't think animals pose a problem.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:54 AM   #39
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Travelover and sam, thanks for the info. Being cheap and a frequent visitor to Wallyworld (a natural fit ), I think I'll stick with my refillable jugs for now.
I actually bought the RO system because I'm too cheap to buy water!
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:20 PM   #40
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What meter do you use for $15?
Here's one similar to mine, it sells for $15. I don't know how accurate it is (I suspect all they do is measure the conductivity of the water), but I'm just counting on it to give me trend info. After my WS, the meter reads 1020 ppm. Coming out of the drinking water tap (after WS, filtration, RO and UV) it is reading 317 ppm. When I installed the RO unit I was getting readings of approx 275, so I'm not worried about the RO filter yet. I suppose I should get an accurate measurement of the amount of sodium in the water we are drinking. One rough indicator--the drinking water doesn't taste salty at all, the stuff coming out of the regular taps surely does.
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