Paper No. 48
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
EFFICACY OF COMMERCIAL HOUSEHOLD WATER FILTERS TO REMOVE CONTAMINANTS FROM DRINKING WATER
At-home counter-top carbon filter pitchers have become increasingly popular in many households. The common reason cited by people who use water filters is to improve the taste and/or the water quality. This is interesting because even people who are on treated municipal water supply also use these filters. The goal of this project was to assess the efficacy of three commercial water filter systems in removing contaminants as compared to sand filters and heating. In general, these commercial filters are supposed to remove a very limited number of heavy metals, microorganisms and chemicals from water. Contaminants tested included heavy metals, excess chlorine, iodine, bacteria, viruses, and estrogen. Standard solutions of the contaminants sampled were run through the filters and sediment columns. The filtrates were collected and tested using various laboratory techniques that included colorimetry, UV-VIS spectrophotometry, cultures and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests. Water samples with microbial contamination were also heated at three different temperatures and tested using culturing methods to determine the survival of viruses and bacteria. Preliminary results produced mixed results about the effectiveness of these filter systems. Even though all the filters were somewhat effective in removing most of the target contaminants, their performance varied. It was surprising that these filters are not designed and, therefore, not effective at removing certain compounds that are of concern to people. The preliminary results also showed one of the filters to be ineffective in removing bacteria from the water. Further testing is being carried out with sand filtration experiments.