How to Say No to a Free Water Test

Have you stumbled into an advertisement for a free water test? Chances are that someone just wants to get in your home.

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Water treatment companies know that the easiest way to sell you $5,000+ worth of water treatment equipment is to begin by sending a salesperson in through your front door with a “free water testing kit.”

The trouble is that these sales people and their water testing briefcases are designed to look fancy and ultimately sell you on purchasing an expensive water treatment product (with a maintenance plan.) Despite appearances, these free water tests hardly perform any more analysis on your water than a wet finger in the wind.

The Free Water Test

Signing up for one of these free water tests is easy (of course). You enter in your contact information online and shortly thereafter a sales rep will call you to set up a visit at your home.

A nice person arrives at your front door, takes samples of your tap water into a jar, adds a few drops of chemical, swirls this concoction around and with great color-changing effect proclaims the bad news to you:

“Your water quality is not good. You’re at risk of dangerous chloramines and your TDS levels are high. You really should be doing some treatment here.”

Sadly, this fear tactic works nationwide. And all too often, it pushes unwary homeowners into spending way too much money on expensive water treatment equipment without necessarily improving water quality. Some of these people become our customers and find that they've overspent on water treatment technology before really getting details on what to treat for. 

Of course, water treatment companies need to sell water treatment products, but they are obviously conflicted when it comes to testing and reporting on your water quality.

Don’t Get Duped!

The truth is that a lot of people already have great water quality at home and do not need the expensive treatment equipment. Furthermore, many homes can readily improve their water quality by spending less than 98% of the cost of these expensive brands (e.g. the cost of a $5,000 system that does the same work as a $100 filter–ask us for more details!).

We often serve clients who come to us after hearing a murky sales pitch for one of these $7,000 treatment products. We send sampling materials, quickly analyze the water in a proper lab setting and produce our unique Tap Score Report. Most of the time no treatment is necessary, but if folks need or want it, then we provide a personalized and unbiased list of treatment options certified by NSF and WQA–available at low cost through Amazon or major hardware stores near you.

Why Is There No Free Water Test?

Simply put, free water tests don’t exist because proper laboratory testing entails very expensive laboratory equipment and operation by trained professional technicians.

When an environmental testing laboratory receives your water samples, vials are carefully received and documented by professionals who prepare the water for analysis via EPA approved and industry standard testing methodologies. These testing methods have often been agreed upon by thousands of labs nationwide and include strict guidelines to ensure that water test results are accurate.

Hours of professional time and hours of expensive machine operation don’t happen for free.

Therefore, if someone is offering you a free water test, be very suspicious, as it is highly likely that these are the same people trying to sell you a water treatment product or bottled water subscription.

Disclosure: We Perform Unbiased Water Testing

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We provide homeowners and renters nationwide with a reliable and affordable water testing service, called Tap Score. Unlike traditional environmental testing laboratories, we serve families and small businesses rather than large industrial clients.

Tap Score is designed to be economical at smaller testing quantities

Tap Score is tailored to the needs of residential customers and families who do not want to purchase hundreds of tests at a time in order to achieve lower wholesale testing costs. We spent thousands of hours building a logistics system that makes this possible.

Tap Score includes detailed water health analysis

After your sample is tested, you receive a detailed water quality report that explains each chemical found in your water, where it likely comes from, and what it’s known health effects are.

Tap Score includes personalized and unbiased treatment matching

For folks who do not like the taste of their water, or for those who detect a dangerous contaminant at elevated concentrations, we provide an unbiased list of NSF and WQA certified treatment products from a variety of vendors that are matched to your water quality issue, allowing you to affordably treat your water at home.

Tap Score includes helpful and professional support

We do not expect you to be a chemical engineer or water professional. Our staff on UC Berkeley campus is trained in water chemistry and water health. We will give you ongoing support in understanding your water quality issues until you find a suitable solution.

Click Here To Learn More About Tap Score

It’s not a free water test, but it is the best one we can imagine.

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Why Is My RO Water Filter Leaking?

Do you have a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment system? Is it not working properly? This is an article to help you determine why your drinking water filter is leaking and what you can do to fix your RO. 

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If you own and maintain a reverse osmosis water treatment system in your home, then you’re probably already aware that things sometimes go awry. The water quality engineers at SimpleWater have pulled together a helpful list of the most common problems people have with their Reverse Osmosis water filters at home along with the most common solutions.

Reverse Osmosis: Problems, Solutions – A Quick Guide

Scan the headlines below for common symptoms, causes, and solutions to water filter failures. If you have questions about your water quality or your water treatment system, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional water testing team.

Scale forming on the membrane?

Cause: Failure of the antiscalant, acid dosing device, or pH monitor

Fix: Check your dosing equipment is working properly and monitor all changes in water quality before and after the RO system. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

Iron accumulation on the filters and membranes?

(Leading to a high pressure difference and low permeate flow)

Cause: High iron content in raw water, corroding pipes, failure of media filters

Fix: Check pipes and media filters. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

Bacterial film on filters and membranes?

(Leading to high pressure difference and low permeate flow)

Cause: Ineffective sanitization or biocide

Fix:  Sanitize all filters, perform microbiological analysis, check chemical dosing tanks; heck for biocide adsorption on carbon filters, check contact times and dose rates, select broad-spectrum biocide for organic content. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

Organic or humic content on filters and membranes?

Cause: High organic content

Fix: Test the feed water for TOC and color Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.usor clicking on our help page.

Membrane damage leading to high salts passthrough and high flux?

Cause: Chlorine overdosing

Fix: Perform chlorine tests, check dosing equipment, redox meters, bisulfite levels and the general location of dosing equipment. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

High Salt Passthrough?

Cause: Failure of the O-ring at the permeate tube

Fix: Check conductivity in each vessel and membrane. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

Bacteria and colloid fouling of micron-pre filters and membranes

Cause: Breakthrough of your media pre-filter

Fix: Wash your media pre-filters and add some biocide. Ask our team for help by emailing: hello@simplewater.us or clicking on our help page.

What’s In Your Raw Water?

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Nobody knows and that’s a problem...

A response on the Raw Water fad from the team at SimpleWater, the maker of Tap Score, a specialized environmental health testing company headquartered in Berkeley, CA.

Most people have a healthy skepticism of the latest marketing craze coming out of Silicon Valley: "Raw Water". While the region is known for its technological innovation, this latest fad would be quite literally the opposite of progress if millions of people switched over to pre-water treatment days.

Raw Water is marketed as a "health drink" that caught the headlines at the turn of the year. The hard truth is that neither bottled water, nor tap water, nor indeed raw water is perfect. There are minerals you want in your water, and chemicals you do not in your water.

We think this is a good time to remind folks about how far we've come in our understanding of environmental water and personal health. Here’s our take on Raw Water.

Raw Water, The Basics:

  • A company will bottled water from a groundwater well or a a surface water source
  • They will spend no money on treating it and, if they do test it, they aren't publishing the results
  • They will sell it at a 5x markup over regular bottled water and call it a health drink

Water Quality Matters

We don't live in a pristine world. Water runs downhill, so unless you're collecting rainwater in the High Sierra, you're also collecting whatever that water picked up on its way down through developed areas. Even deep wells near populated or industrialized regions are frequently contaminated. In many cases, the toxic chemicals are naturally occurring; most arsenic in groundwater comes from natural rock formations, and it's a deadly poison.

To our good fortune, water treatment plants and engineers exist to actively clean and monitor this water before it gets to your tap. While we think it’s important to test your water even if you have city water, our interest is to empower people to understand their water and identify potential problems–not to discredit water treatment operations like the conspiracy-theory approach of Raw Water sellers.

Untreated spring water promises a high risk of bacteria like Giardia or E. coli. They'll give you diarrhea, or worse. But these 'acute health risks', as we know them in the industry, are just the stuff that will make you sick in the very short term.

SimpleWater, the maker of Tap Score, exists because untreated water can also carry a number of long term health risks. Our job is to  quantify those risks using real science, making it simpler than ever to understand how what you drink every day could impact your long term health.

One of the biggest offenses of Raw Water marketing is that it's disingenuous to the people who rely on toxic wells because they've been left behind by public utilities. In many cases those same people have no choice but to drink from a contaminated well or spend their own money on treatment.

The Raw Water sales reps are in effect turning a blind eye to the contaminants that have caused cancers for millions worldwide, while mumbling something about probiotics. We love that every day more people are learning about the importance of the microflora in our intestines. But we're not talking about a carefully cultivated cup of yogurt here.

If You Have to Have it Raw, Test First

The water you drink will never be a meaningful source of nutrients versus the rest of your diet, but it could be a meaningful source of chronic poisons and bacteria. Some wells and springs produce really fantastic water– we know that because we've tested thousands of them. We've also tested hundreds of water samples that contain stuff you don't want to be putting in your body. The fact is: water quality is not a matter of “pure” versus “un-pure”. Bottled water is not necessarily better for you than tap water, and and untreated tap water is not necessarily better than treated tap water.

If you’re ever interested in testing your water (bottled water, tap water or even your “raw” water) then we invite you to run a water quality test with our Tap Score service.

Article Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/dining/raw-water-unfiltered.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2018/01/why_the_raw_water_movement_is_so_obnoxious.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/raw-water-sound-good-you-then-maybe-diarrhea-does-too-n835076

Glyphosate: Most Common Herbicide Puts Tap Water at Risk

Read our quick guide on what you need to know about glyphosate (aka Roundup) and tap water.

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Have you ever wondered how the food production industry has been able to keep up with feeding our world’s rapidly growing population? Or perhaps, what your food goes through before it lands on the shelf at the grocery store? The answer to both questions, in part, involves Glyphosate. Glyphosate, more commonly known as “Roundup”, is an herbicide created by Monsanto.

The discovery of glyphosate in 1973 transformed Monsanto’s operations and the global food industry. As the first non-selective herbicide invented, glyphosate can kill any weed in its path, unlike previous herbicides that could only kill specific weeds. Put into production and first commercialized in Malaysia and the UK in 1974, Roundup subsequently became the most widely used agricultural chemical in history. A shocking 9.4 million tons of glyphosate have been sprayed onto fields worldwide since 1974.

The use of Roundup has been under extreme scrutiny recently. There are around 2400 lawsuits and counting against Monsanto, claiming that glyphosate causes cancer. The first case is scheduled to start in June.

We, at SimpleWater, have created a quick guide on understanding exposure to glyphosate through drinking water: how can glyphosate end up in your water, and is glyphosate harmful to humans?

How does glyphosate end up in drinking water?

Several studies suggest that glyphosate, despite its affinity for soil, can make its way into aquatic environments and drinking water wells. Once glyphosate enters water, it becomes stable and does not degrade easily. As a result, glyphosate can enter surface and subsurface water through two main pathways:

  • Roundup windblown into bodies of water adjacent to sprayed fields
  • Irrigation runoff from sprayed fields into distant bodies of water

Humans are most likely to be exposed to glyphosate through direct inhalation and skin contact, crops treated with Roundup, or drinking water contaminated with it.

Of the 2400 lawsuits underway, most people had direct contact with Roundup by using it to spray their homes, schools, and farms. However, one drinking water facility in Florida and two in Louisiana reported glyphosate levels (9.00 parts per billion (ppb), 8.35 & 5.05 ppb respectively) above the Environmental Working Group’s health recommendation of 5ppb. 5 ppb is a much more stringent health goal than the Federal EPA’s legally enforced Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 700 ppb (or 0.7mg/L).

The EWG did not flag Florida and Louisiana for water quality violations. Rather, these results were highlighted because their facilities reported concentrations above the World Health Organization and EPA’s definition of “acceptable risk” for carcinogens–a one-in-a-million chance of developing cancer.

These two facilities serve around 8600 people, all of whom could now potentially have a higher risk of developing cancer than the general population.

What does glyphosate mean for your health?

Glyphosate is classified as a Group 2A chemical by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), meaning that it is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. The IARC came to this conclusion after many studies conducted on rats in combination with human evidence from accidental exposure. The little data that does exist on humans shows an association for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals.

Glyphosate is also associated with endocrine disruption, harm to fetal growth, and damage to kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.

Despite the evidence from the IARC for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, Monsanto still claims that Roundup is safe and will not cause cancer. Monsanto’s studies, however, were conducted or commissioned by pesticide companies in support of Monsanto’s goals and are kept hidden from the public.

How can you protect yourself against glyphosate?

Perhaps the lawsuits against Monsanto will be successful and Roundup will eventually come off the market, but in the meantime, SimpleWater recommends that you protect your water to protect yourself.

The best ways to protect your health and water are:

  • Do not use glyphosate-based herbicides (especially if you are on well water)
  • If you do use herbicides of any kind, do not overuse them in order to avoid run-off
  • Try to limit consumption of crops likely sprayed with glyphosate (unfortunately, this means most non-organic foods)

While the risk of glyphosate in your tap water is likely low if your water is treated by a municipality, well water owners near lawns, gardens, and farms that use herbicides may want to test their water for glyphosate. Tap Score offers a glyphosate test to add-on to any of our essential or advanced water testing kits.

For more information about other water quality issues, take a look at our blog, Tips For Taps, or email us at hello@simplewater.us!

Sources:

http://www.roundup.ca/en/rounduphistory

http://www.newsweek.com/glyphosate-now-most-used-agricultural-chemical-ever-422419

https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-04/inside-monsanto-s-day-court-scientists-weigh-glyphosate-s-cancer-risks

https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/water/chemicals/phg/glyphg062907_0.pdf

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/glyphosateampa290605.pdf

https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminant.php?contamcode=2034#

https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/iwachap10.pdf

http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/latest_classif.php

http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol112/mono112-10.pdf

https://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/glyphosate-report-response/

https://detoxproject.org/glyphosate/cancer/

https://www.naturespath.com/en-us/blog/are-you-eating-glyphosate-organic-farming-can-help/

 



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