DrinkMore Water is very distinct from ordinary spring and mineral waters because of the custom-engineered system we use to purify the water. This unique system, available for your inspection at our state-of-the-art bottling facility, incorporates ten steps to ensure DrinkMore Water's absolute purity.
Following is a detailed description of each of the steps in our purification process. While this material is fairly technical, this piece is intended for a general audience. Those readers with additional questions about DrinkMore Water's technology may directly contact the engineer who designed the system (who also happens to be our founder!), Bob Perini, at (301) 417-9333.
1. Sediment Filter
Our complex purification process begins with a simple, pleated-paper sediment filter. This filter traps relatively large particles which may be present in the water-things like dirt, sand, slime and grit. It's necessary to start the process with this basic step in order to remove these large particles which could foul or clog the more sensitive equipment used at later stages.
Our initial sediment filter is rated at 10 microns (a micron is one-millionth of a meter, or 1/25,000th of an inch.) How small is that? Well, the human eye can only see particles 20 microns in diameter or larger. You'd be very surprised at what we see when we change these filters.
A classic before and after picture -
2. Ion Exchange
The next step is the removal of various metallic elements through a process known as ion exchange. Sometimes referred to as water "softening," ion exchange utilizes large tanks which are filled with a special, negatively-charged resin. The resin serves as a reservoir for large numbers of positively charged sodium and potassium ions.
As water passes through the ion exchange system, metallic ions, which carry a strong positive charge, displace the more weakly charged sodium and potassium ions. The metallic ions are thus trapped via electromagnetic attraction to the resin particles. The ion exchange beds are then automatically cleansed and regenerated at prescribed intervals based on water volume.
Ion exchange provides highly effective removal of the metals responsible for pipe scaling and deposits. The process also removes various heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, iron, and cadmium, which have been associated with well-publicized health concerns.
From DrinkMore Water's perspective, it is important to remove metals early in the purification process to protect the more sensitive technology used in later steps, since high levels of metals can damage this equipment.
3. Activated Carbon
Once the water passes through the ion exchange sys-tem, it moves into an oversized granular activated carbon bed. Carbon filtration (also known as charcoal filtration), which utilizes a process known as adsorption, is a particularly effective technique for chlorine removal. Pesticides, herbicides, and other organic contaminants (especially volatile organics) are also removed at this stage.
Carbon also does an excellent job of removing trihalomethanes (THMs) from the water. THMs are a class of chemicals which result from the interaction of chlorine and decaying organic matter in the public water supply. These chemicals are known carcinogens, and the high levels found in local water supplies have been a cause for concern in recent years. Granular activated carbon filtration is the most common technology used in home filter systems. Unfortunately, these home systems are often poorly maintained. In some cases, filters are not cleaned properly, or filter elements are not changed at appropriate intervals. Over time, effectiveness declines, and in some cases the contaminants in an over-loaded filter actually begin to discharge back into the water.
Furthermore, there have been numerous instances of bacterial contamination associated with poorly maintained home filter systems. At DrinkMore Water, our carbon filters are "backwashed" on an automatic cycle every 24 hours. Maintenance and filter replacements are carried out by trained engineers in accordance with a predetermined schedule.
4. Five Micron Carbon Block Filter
The five micron carbon block filter is designed to capture extremely small particles present in the water. The five micron size designation indicates that particles larger than five millionths of a meter will be captured by the filter. The filter itself is composed of an extruded block of carbon, providing an additional measure of adsorptive capacity for the removal of chlorine and organic contaminants. The extruded carbon block filter is manufactured to very tight tolerances, thereby providing optimal permeability and porosity characteristics for adsorbing and removing contaminants.
5. One Micron Carbon Block Filter
The one micron carbon block filter immediately follows its five micron counterpart. At this stage, particles as small as one millionth of a meter are trapped and removed from the water.
Filters of this extraordinarily small pore size are capable of eliminating even the cryptosporidium cyst, an organism responsible for numerous waterborne illness outbreaks. As you may recall, cryptosporidium was the organism that Washington, DC feared was contaminating the water supply during the 1993 "boil water alert."
Cryptosporidium in the water supply comes encased in an oocyst, or egg, an egg which doesn't hatch until it finds a suitable host, such as the human gastrointestinal tract. It's important to note that one of the biggest concerns with organisms of this type is that they cannot be eradicated via conventional chlorination and sand filtration techniques commonly employed by municipal water systems. However, these oocysts are between 4 and 6 microns in diameter, so they can't pass through the one micron carbon block filter (nor can they pass through step 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 of the DrinkMore Water process.)
Once the water has passed through the one micron filter, virtually all of the suspended particles have been trapped and removed. However, dissolved substances can still remain in the water. Dissolved solids cannot be removed via conventional filtration. A purification technology, such as the reverse osmosis technology employed by DrinkMore Water later in this process, must be used to eliminate these types of dissolved impurities.
6. Ultraviolet Disinfection
Since the DrinkMore Water process removes all chlorine from the water, two forms of chemical-free disinfection technology are employed to ensure that the purified water remains absolutely and completely free from any sort of microbiological contamination. Ultraviolet disinfection is the first of these technologies.
At this step of the process, the water passes through a special chamber which houses a large ultraviolet light source. This ultraviolet light acts as a powerful sterilizing agent. If any bacteria, viruses, or other microbiological contaminants are present in the water, the ultraviolet light at this particular wavelength destroys the genetic material within these organisms, eliminating the possibility of bacterial or viral reproduction and proliferation. The organisms quickly die and are captured and removed during the reverse osmosis purification process.
7. Dual-Pass Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is the centerpiece of the DrinkMore Water purification process. Many people have heard about the process of osmosis. Osmosis is a naturally occurring process whereby water passes across a membrane due to a pressure differential between one side of the membrane and the other.
As osmosis takes place, the concentration of dissolved material on each side of the membrane moves closer to an equilibrium state. That is, the more concentrated solution will tend to become more diluted, and the more diluted solution will tend to become more concentrated. Many people are familiar with osmosis as the process by which living cells receive nutrients and excrete wastes.
In reverse osmosis, high pressure is used to force water across a membrane while impurities are left behind. In other words, the high pressure causes the impurities to become more concentrated on one side of the membrane. Only the pure water is able to cross the membrane; even the dissolved impurities which cannot be removed by conventional filtration are captured and eliminated by DrinkMore Water's reverse osmosis purification system.
The reverse osmosis system featured at DrinkMore Water utilizes state-of-the-art technology for both purified water production and quality control. Every drop of our purified water must pass through approximately twenty layers of reverse osmosis membranes. The water which passes through the first stage of reverse osmosis is then purified through a second set of reverse osmosis membranes.
If even a slight variation in quality occurs, an alarm is triggered and the entire system shuts down. The result is a purity level that's second to none. In fact, we encourage you to compare our water with any other water-spring water, mineral water, or filtered water.
The second phase of chemical-free disinfection is known as ozonation. Ozonation relies on oxygen to ensure that our purified water remains free of any possible microbiological contamination.
The ozonation process takes basic molecular oxygen (O2) and passes it through a special chamber in which it is exposed to a high voltage electrical charge. (This type of ozone generation is called cold-plasma discharge.) The electricity causes the oxygen molecule to split and recombine in a higher-energy form known as ozone (O3). This ozone is then continuously circulated through the purified water.
Ozone is a very powerful disinfectant and is capable of oxidizing a very broad range of contaminants. In fact, ozone is highly effective against many types of impurities and organisms, such as cryptosporidium, that are utterly impervious to chlorination. Just how powerful is ozone? First of all, it's about 1,500 times more effective than chlorine as an oxidant.
In real life, ozone is very effective at killing cryptosporidium. Tests have shown that at normal concentration levels (1 part per million), ozone will destroy 99.99% of cryptosporidium oocysts given five minutes of contact time. Chlorine, however, doesn't affect cryptosporidium oocyst viability at concentrations of 30,000 parts per million for a period of eighteen hours. The standard concentration of chlorine in tap water is around 3 parts per million-imagine what 30,000 parts per million would taste like!
Ozone is not a stable state for oxygen, and over the course of a few minutes it returns to its natural O2 state. This state-of-the-art disinfection system is simple, yet extremely powerful. And best of all, it relies on nothing more than all-natural oxygen-absolutely no strange chemicals or additives.
9. Storage & Recirculation
After the water has passed through the preceding eight steps it moves into the storage and recirculation phase. This storage and recirculation system has been designed so that DrinkMore Water will retain its exceptionally high purity and will not come into contact with any materials or substances which could in any way compromise the quality of the water. DrinkMore Water features a storage system made entirely of stainless steel. Many people are unaware that brass, a key component of many plumbing systems, can be a primary source of lead contamination. By using only stainless steel, this problem, and the problem of potential interactions with other substances, is completely avoided.
DrinkMore Water does not simply sit in storage after purification. Instead, the water continuously travels through a recirculation loop. During recirculation, additional ozone is periodically added to maintain the completely sterile and bacteria-free condition of the system.
10. Bottling /Purified Water Dispensing
When a bottle is filled at DrinkMore Water, the water is drawn directly from the continuous recirculation loop and fed to our bottler. Like the water storage system, our water dispensers utilize stainless steel on all water contact surfaces. You might want to check out the pictures of our new, state-of-the-art bottling line. It's very cool!!
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