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Home > Filtering Water 101 > HOW WATER FILTERS WORK

HOW DO DRINKING WATER FILTERS WORK?

Drinking water filter and treatment systems utilize different technologies to remove or reduce unwanted contaminants from water and treat water conditions to make the water safe and more suitable for everyday use. Several different water treatment methods are commonly utilized in the water filter industry:

  • Mechanical removal or filtering
  • Absorption
  • Adsorption
  • Ion exchange
  • Bacteriostatic media
  • Ultra violet
  • Water softening
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Other specific application treatments

Benefits and descriptions of a variety of technologies are provided for your understanding below.

Mechanical Removal

Utilizes Methods for Separating Solids from Water Mechanically

Various permeable methods are used such as screens, floss, fiber, spun fiber, permeable plastics, RO membranes, ceramic, diatomaceous earth, and even formulas of small immobilized particulate are used to screen or remove solids of all sizes. Some mechanical methods are much better than others. Ceramics are very tight or small porosity which causes them to clog very quickly. Mechanical filtration is not recommended as a standalone technology, but works well in systems and formulas that use mechanical means to reduce flow rates and increase retention times for catalytic adsorption and other time- and contact-related reductions.

Another mechanical filter is called a carbon block. Carbon block filters are made from very small sized ground carbon and plastic molded and formed to specific shapes for various filter designs.

Clearbrook produces filters made from block but contains multiple technologies blended to a perfect ratio for optimum performance and claims. Clearbrook does not melt the plastic to make their block filters. Melted plastic clogs the micro pores in catalysts and reduces effectiveness. Clearbrook sinters plastic, a process of heating a specific plastic to a specific time/temperature profile. Heating and cooling to specific temperatures over specific times to create a perfect filter product with contents completely ready to work as intended in our water filters. Clearbrook is able to create any pore size and we are able to blend any formula to produce filters specific for any application. The filter block can be manufactured to any thickness. When surface porosity is extended or made into a thick cross section or various depths...we call the resulting permeability "tortuousity." Clearbrook creates a surface porosity and builds that porosity into whatever thickness is required for the filter to meet the design criteria demand or said claim.

Clearbrook filters are subject to referee laboratory testing for specific claims and widely accepted protocols such as several NSF, and the EPA's protocol for microbiological purifiers. Other ASTM and water testing protocols are used to prove each filter formula capabilities. Few if any filters can compare worldwide.

Absorption

Utilizes materials engineered to remove water from any liquid.

Typical uses of absorption media are for removing water from fuels and other liquids where water is not wanted. Absorption is not typically used in water filters or applications where water is being prepared for drinking.

Adsorption

Utilizes materials designed to remove specific contaminants from air and water

Since the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act...many impressive catalysts and reduction media have been developed for industrial usage.

These new discoveries have led to the development of highly effective formulas for air and water treatment and filtration. In addition...these new catalysts and materials are micro ground and are specifically engineered to remove Volatile Organic Compounds, Semi Volatile Organics, Micro Organisms and Cysts such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Fecal Coliform and other Coliform Bacteria, E coli, , Lead, Arsenic, other Heavy Metals, Radioactive Contaminants such as Radionuclides, Alpha Emitters, Combined Radon, Disinfectants, Nitrates, Nitrites, Fluoride, PCB, MTBE...a list of over 90 natural and industrial contaminants commonly found in America's drinking water sources.

Adsorption is probably used more than any other method in water filtration. Catalyst can be engineered for very specific uses and the reduction of common and uncommon contaminants found in water and air. Some filters use carbon and only reduce chlorine, taste and odor (CTO Filters.) These are pretty good filters for general use depending on the quality and type of carbon used. Other companies may combine two or more catalyst for a combined purpose and claim. One Company has perfected the use of combined catalysts and other technologies to formulate filters for virtually any water condition, world wide. That Company is Clearbrook...formulating since 1994.

Clearbrook can formulate filters for any application and capacity. Clearbrook Research and Development has been testing filter media for air and water for many years. We are the beneficiary of years of testing and results based knowledge making our filters some of the best available anywhere. We have engineering and CNC machining for making custom molds and automatic injection molding, transfer molding, roto molding and other methods for developing and manufacturing any water filter for any application, worldwide.

If your looking for the best water filters...be sure to review Clearbrook

If you want to develop a private label and product for water treatment or filtration on any scale...please contact Clearbrook.

Ion Exchange

Anion and cationic media

There are many reasons to consider Ion Exchange media depending on your water problem or condition. Typical household filter uses are sulfur and iron reductions and some heavy metals. Ion Exchange polymers blend well with other filter materials and is used for pH control, water softening. and metal separation. Combined alternating Ion Exchange resins or polymers are used for ultra purity water applications such as semi conductor industry etc. Clearbrook utilizes Ion Exchange technology is some of its filter formulas.

Bacteriostatic Media

Prevents mitosis or colonization of organisms

The EPA or Environmental Protection Agency considers and classifies most any material capable of corrupting or killing microorganisms as a full spectrum biocide. Included in that classification is common silver, silver nitrate and colloidal silver.Many companies have chosen not to utilize this type of media in their formulas because of Federal Regulations and Reporting Requirements. However, there are materials that only add electrons to pathogens and utilize no chemical in the process. There is no leaching or leach aid contamination processed from its use. In fact, electrolysis can provide a constant state of bacteriostasis and is utilized on metal bulk heads to stop corrosion and prevent sea life from multiplying on its surfaces in the US and world wide. Testing proves that changing or corrupting the valence electron structure of pathogens causes destruction of the organism. This process requires intimacy between the pathogen and a corruptive element or process. These processes are extremely proprietary and typically not divulged.

The EPA does require Establishment Registration anyone formulating or selling any anti microbial contents and or processes with very few exceptions.

Filters claiming to remove organisms are not safe unless they provide a bacteriostatic or anti microbial content.

Any filter that collects or filters organisms from water also removes and collects the food of those organisms found in the same water. Organisms cannot live and multiply without food. Wherever pathogens and other organisms are found, their food supply is also found. There is a remediation process that utilizes bacteria to reduce certain industrial contaminants called bio-remediation. In this process, a catalyst similar to that used to make water filters is used as a condominium complex or residence for growing the bacteria. Bacteria attach to the catalysts and eat the food that passes through the filter. They continue to proliferate or regenerate in a process of multiplication called mitosis. Organisms grow into "Lawn Cultures" or off the numerical scale in a short amount of time when provided a residence like a water filter, proper food and conditions. Eventually, the organisms will move from the outside of the filter to the inside where the flow of water will cause organisms to sluff off or mobilize into the flow of filtered water and contaminate the drinking water you think you are filtering.

All Emergency use water filters and any water filter claiming bacteria reduction should be bacteriostatic or anti microbial to ensure long term use and water are not corrupted from organisms captured.

Clearbrook Formulas do corrupt the valence electrons of all pathogens and micro organisms so your water filters are safe and effective.

Ultra Violet Treatment

Ultra violet light is used to destroy bacteria and other pathogens

Ultra Violet Light is commonly used in air and in water applications to kill and or to prevent micro organism contamination. UV is effective when used properly. UV requires clear or non turbid water. Solids reflect light and prevent perfect treatment so water should be properly filtered prior to UV treatment. UV is energy intensive and does require electricity for most uses and applications. Solar is a source of UV but can only be utilized while light exists and has no function in low light and dark environments.

Water Softening

Water softening reduces the concentration of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, metal cations, lime, and hard water conditions from coral, and other causes depending on location.. Water hardness causes a many problems including galvanic corrosion of metal pipe, valves and pumps. Hard water causes soap build up and scale from lime on faucets and plumbing fixtures. Water-softening is achieved with a combination of Ion exchange resin regenerated by Sodium Chloride.

Reference, a few contaminants and their size in microns:

  • Giardia lamblia - 6 to12 microns
  • Cryptosporidium parvum - 3 to 6 microns
  • Bacteria (such as E. coli and salmonella) - 0.2 to 4 microns
  • Viruses - 0.004 to 0.1 microns

When using a personal water filter or purifier, it is best to use two drops of iodine, bleach or peroxide to every 12 fluid ounces of water, shake and wait 20 minutes prior to drinking. Use a filter known to remove VOC's and iodine so your immune system and natural chemistry are not subject to the chemical toxins.