POU Systems Are Lauded

With consumers becoming more aware of contaminants in their drinking water, independent organizations are recommending home-based treatment systems as a solution.

Recently, ABC News reported on the issue of pharmaceuticals in water supplies. According to the outlet’s Web site, “ABC News asked researchers to test a widely available water filter for the home. They found it greatly reduced the traces of drugs in the water.”

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) now provides a guide on choosing home treatment, available at www.nrdc.org. According to the NRDC, “As a general rule, look for filters labeled as meeting NSF/ANSI Standard 53, and are certified to remove the contaminant(s) of concern in your water.” Under its Gold Seal program, the Water Quality Association (WQA) certifies products to NSF/ANSI standards.

The issue of pharmaceuticals in water emerged last spring, following the first of several Associated Press (AP) studies. Recently, AP reported that almost one in six Americans might be affected by pharmaceuticals in their household water.

Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking water, according to Joseph Harrison, technical director of WQA. Less than 2 percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making point-of-use systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly treatments.

“While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the EPA, home filtering systems act as a final contaminant barrier, and can further purify water for drinking,” Harrison notes. Specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals, but many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging contaminants.

WQA offers an online fact sheet with answers to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water, available at www.wqa.org. WQA also has joined a task force to develop independent testing standards that will be able to determine what devices are successful at removing many of these newly discovered contaminants. 

Landmark UV Facility

T he world’s largest ultraviolet (UV) disinfection facility has begun construction. A joint venture of Malcolm Pirnie/CH2M HILL is serving as the construction management team for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Catskill-Delaware Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility.

Located in Westchester County, New York, the facility will use 56 low-pressure, high-output UV reactors to treat an average of 1.3 billion gallons of water daily, and will have capacity to treat more than 2 billion gallons daily. Scheduled for completion in September 2014, this single facility will triple the North American drinking water UV capacity.

“This is a landmark facility within the drinking water industry,” says Paul Whitener, CH2M HILL’s project manager. “We are proud to be partnering with Malcolm Pirnie and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to provide high-quality drinking water to the DEP’s 9 million customers.” New York City has the largest unfiltered surface water supply in the world, delivering more than 1.3 billion gallons of water daily to 9 million residents in New York City and the upstate area.