It’s been my goal for a while now to deal with our city water, which has the great distinction of being the first water in the U.S. to be fluoridated. I haven’t done a very good job with the process, but our recent health developments have increased my urgency about chlorine and fluoride.
I’m happy to have a little help from a friend, and I’m pleased to introduce you to Lisa from Mama Says, who was grateful enough to share this guest post with us:
We bought our Berkey over a year ago, and it’s still going strong. We purchased the Berkey Light model, which is made of BPA free plastic and can be nested for easy packing. You know, in case Armageddon happens and we have to run for the hills. Also I wanted it to be light, because I’m a weakling.
Can I just say I love this thing? It’s so easy to use, even my eight year old helps fill it. This is delightful, because that means I get to add refilling the Berkey to the chore chart and I don’t have to do it myself. I’m all about delegation.
It doesn’t use any energy and just quietly works, day or night. But I really love that it takes care of so many impurities in the water, things I can’t see or taste.
We got our Berkey for health reasons, and also for emergency preparedness. We lived through Hurricane Ike, and when the electricity went off, all of the water was contaminated because the treatment plant pumps shut down. If we had a Berkey, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but I hadn’t discovered it yet. We boiled water, lots and lots of water. Thank goodness I had a gas stove that worked without electricity.
After that experience, I began researching ways I could take care of my family’s needs during a power outage or water crisis. I have little kids, and I can’t risk them getting dehydrated or dysentery from unhygienic water. Believe me, the last thing you need during an emergency is a case of the pukes or a ride on the diarrhea-go-round. Especially if you don’t have access to clean water!
We use it so much, that when we visited a friend’s house my 4 year old wanted to know how to get water, because she wasn’t used to getting it from the tap. We’ve put the filter through the use and abuse of ten people, including all my eight children, for a year now and it’s held up beautifully. My kids are hard on stuff, y’all, so THAT is a ringing endorsement.
The Berkey filter is so good, you can even put creek water or rain water through it if there’s a major emergency and it will filter out all of the parasites and bacteria.
After Ike, there was water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink. Our area was flooded – with nasty, rank floodwater, with sewage, dead squirrels, and rotting fish in it. Now that’s just nasty! The Berkey is not just a filter, it is a purifier and removes 100% of pathogens from the water. (Note: I do not recommend testing your Berkey out by adding dead animals to the tank. Just sayin’.)
Berkey will also filter out VOCs, volatile organic compounds, including chemical runoff and contamination from PVC. It will also purify water of chlorine, benzene, and toluene along with a slew of other chemical nastiness that don’t even have real names, just numbers and letters (like 2,4,5-TP)
Berkey removes out 95% of heavy metals such as lead and mercury – and this matters. Water is the second largest source of lead exposure in children, and even if you have plastic pipes your kids might not be safe. Many glues used on PVC pipes contain lead.
85% of fertilizer runoff – nitrites and nitrates – are terminated with the Berkey. According to a reader who called the company, this part may not be accurate. 🙁
PVC contamination is a hot topic recently, and has been linked to birth defects, memory problems, and nervous system damage. Trust me when I say the last thing I need is my drinking water giving me memory problems. I’m already flighty enough, thankyouverymuch.
While most VOC exposure comes from toys or clothing, not indoor plumbing, it’s nice to know that our drinking water is extra safe. We live in a hot climate, and often our cold tap water is merely lukewarm, so I know that water has been steeping in our PVC pipes since I last turned the tap on.
I’m all about doing things in the most frugal way possible. Cheap would be my middle name, if it didn’t cost money to get it changed at the courthouse. Berkey really shines here. The model we purchased has two black filters, which each filter 3000 gallons (so I get 6000 until I need new filters.) If the filters start to run slow, all you have to do is take them out and give them a quick once over with a Scotchbrite pad and they’ll be as good as new.
A new set of two filters costs $99, so each gallon of filtered water costs less than two cents. No other filter on the market can beat that price!
For emergency use, FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon per person per day. If my family used this amount, my first set of filters will last 20 months. I only use it for cooking and drinking, not for dishwashing or bathing, so we use far less than that.
My husband isn’t the research nerd that I am. I start spouting off about pathogenic bacteria and EPA standards and his eyes glaze over. But, he loves our Berkey because it’s the only water he’s used that doesn’t give him little white flakes in his ice. Our tap water is rated high grade, but it doesn’t make clear ice like our Berkey does. Oh yes, my friends, at my house the quality of the water is based mainly on the Floatie Factor.
The only thing I don’t love about my Berkey is that it is tall, too tall to fit underneath a cabinet of stored on a countertop. We had to put ours lower than countertop height, anyway, so the kids could reach it. Just a little something to think about if you have a tiny kitchen.
I enthusiastically recommend a Berkey to anyone looking for better tasting or safer water. I didn’t get paid for this post, it’s just my honest opinion. Although if Berkey wants to sponsor me as their glamorous spokesmodel, well, I’m available. I’m guest posting it for Katie because I just can’t tell enough people about my Berkey. Also because I like her blog plus she played to my vanity by asking me to plaster my writing all over her site.
So tell me, have you ever thought about water safety?
Lisa Stauber is the mother of (almost) nine blogging from Houston, TX. She’s disorganized and discombobulated, but she muddles her way through homeschooling and working from home without losing her mind. Yet. Read more from Lisa at Mama Says.
P.S. If you want more information about removing pharmaceuticals and hormones in our water, I got in touch with the makers of Berkey filters and this was their response:
To be specific about drugs in the water is very impractical because there are literally tens to hundreds of thousands of drugs on the market. Since the tests for each drug costs about $1,000.00 dollars per test, the best we can do is talk generalities.
Drug compounds typically fall into 3 categories. One is inorganic compounds, such as minerals. One is organic compounds. The last is a combination of the two (inorganic and organic compounds).
As you may know, pharmaceutical companies spend inordinate amount of money sending people around the world to collect various plants, which are obviously organic, to test them for their medicinal properties. This would indicate to us that most drugs are organic or combinations of organic and inorganic compounds.
The testing of our Black Berkey purification elements indicates that they are very powerful at extracting organic compounds which would give us the expectation that they should be effective at removing or reducing drugs derived from organic compounds. Further we would expect that they would reduce or remove the organic portion of compounds that are composed of both organic and inorganic materials.
Since it’s unlikely that anyone has specific testing results on all the drugs that are potentially out there in your water, it seems to us that the best strategy would be to obtain the most powerful water purification system available. The most powerful systems are typically those that are capable of purifying raw, untreated water.