A Cyst is a closed pocket or pouch of tissue; a cyst can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material. Common water-borne microbiological cysts are Cryptosporidium or Giardia cysts.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that enters lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. It causes cryptosporidiosis, a mild gastrointestinal disease. However, the disease can be severe or fatal for people with severely weakened immune systems.
Giardia lamblia is a parasite that enters lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. It causes gastrointestinal illness (e.g. diarrhea, vomiting, cramps). Giardia outbreaks can occur in communities where water supplies become contaminated with raw sewage. It can be contracted by drinking water from lakes or streams where water-dwelling animals such as beavers and muskrats, or where domestic animals such as sheep, have caused contamination.
Three excellent methods for removing cysts and pharmaceutical drugs from drinking water is to super chlorinate the water, boil the water for one minute or use a one micron absolute acid wash coconut shell carbon filter. Some "1 micron" and most "nominal 1 micron" filters will not work against Cryptosporidium.The absolute 1 micron filter will more consistently remove Cryptosporidium than a nominal filter. Some nominal 1 micron filters will allow 20% to 30% of 1 micron particles (like Cryptosporidium) to pass through the carbon pores. The pore size of filter media is identified by the diameter of the particle that it can be expected to retain with a defined, high degree of efficiency. Pore sizes are usually stated in micrometer or microns for short (m), which equals one millionth of a meter. Pore size ratings refer to the size of a specific particle or organism retained by the filter media to a specific degree of efficiency. Ratings can be stated as either nominal or absolute pore size.
Absolute - An absolute pore size rating specifies the pore size at which a challenge organism of a particular size will be retained with 99.9% efficiency under strictly defined test conditions. Among the conditions that must be specified are: test organism (or particle size), challenge pressure, concentration and detection method used to identify the contaminant. Absolute micro-filters are used for critical applications such as sterilizing and final filtration.
Nominal - A nominal pore size rating describes the ability of the filter media to retain the majority of particulate at (60 - 98%) the rated pore size. Process conditions such as operating pressure, concentration of contaminant, etc., have a significant effect on the retention efficiency of the filters.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A 1 micron absolute coconut shell carbon filter will remove 99.9% of most organisms found in water, except some smaller bacteria and all viruses, which are smaller than 1 micron. The typical organisms that might be found in water include:
There are three ways to treat smaller bacteria and viruses: distillation, chlorine disinfection and UltraViolet light:
Distillation - Energy input required for distillation involves a higher operating expense than other methods and the maintenance factor is extremely high. Impurities remain in the boiling chamber and are either automatically or manually flushed out depending on the system. Air cooled distillers produce one gallon of distilled water for every gallon of tap water. Water cooled units produce one gallon of water from eight to 15 gallons of tap water. The costs of producing a gallon of distilled water ranges anywhere from 20 - 40 cents per gallon because they use about 3 kilowatt hours of electricity for one gallon. Distillation also produces "flat" tasting water.
Chlorination - Chlorine is probably the most effective method to eliminate all categories of microbes: protozoa, cysts, bacteria and viruses, regardless of micron size. The trick is to have sufficient chlorine in the water and a long enough dwell time to kill the microbes. Many water treatment facilities now use Chlorine and/or Chloramines (chloramine is formed by combining chlorine and ammonia), because chloramine lasts longer in the water. Chlorine and/or chloramines can then be removed from the water using the appropriate media.
UV Light - There is a lot of misleading information about using Ultra Violight (UV) light for treating microbials in water. First, not all UV lamps are alike in quality and some are more powerful than others. Second, the kill zone for any UV light technology lies within a 2-3 inch radius of the lamp. And, most important, there are water quality factors that inhibit a UV light's performance, such as,
- Turbidity must not exceed 5 NTU
- Suspended Solidsmust not be higher than 10 mg/l (ppm)
- Ironmust be lower than .3 mg/l
- Manganese must be lower than.05 mg/l
- pHmust fall within 6.5 to 8.5
- Hardnessmust be less than 6 grain
If you are on city water, it should be the responsibility of the water treatment facility to take the appropriate measures to remove microbes from your water. If you are on private well water, it is your responsibility. We offer Chlorine Injection systems to help you treat microbials in your well water. Call us toll free at 866-875-4386 for more information.
As recently reported in the news, analysis of tap water supplies in major metropolitan areas conducted by the Associated Press has revealed that the water supply in 24 major U.S. cities -- serving over 40 million people -- are contaminated with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, pain medications and even caffeine. The upshot of the report is that we now know that tens of millions of Americans are unwittingly being subjected to a bizarre medical experiment with unpredictable results. No scientist can say for certain whether long-term exposure to micro doses of multiple pharmaceuticals is safe because such an experiment has never before been conducted on any population. Acid Washed Coconut Shell Carbon can remove pharmaceutical drugs, but because there are thousands of drugs on the market, it is unknown how much or how many drugs are removed using a 1 micron carbon.
NOTE: Flow capability usually drops off as the micron rating gets smaller, especially if the water has a lot of sediment, which well water often has. A sediment prefilter can solve the problem and extend the life of a 1 micron carbon filter. Unless you are sure that cysts or pharmaceutical drugs are a problem, you might be happier with the 5 micron countertop or under-counter water filters.
Penn State Agricultural and Biological Engineering has a great article about cysts and their removal: Cyst Removing Giardia Cysts From Drinking Water (pdf file).
The CuZn Refillable Countertop Cyst/Drug Water Filter system treats all incoming cold water that goes to the kitchen or bathroom sink. Turn on your cold water faucet for an uninterrupted supply of fresh, clear, filtered water. The CuZn Countertop can also filter hot water, provided it is flushed with cold water afterward to release the heat that would otherwise be trapped within the filter housing.
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