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A point-of-use water quality improvement professional can recommend systems for improving taste, odor, and clarity of your water supply. Below are the most common methods available to improve the quality of drinking water. These systems may be used alone or in combination.


Removes suspended particles from water to improve its appearance.


Utilizes heat to evaporate water. Impurities are left behind and flushed to drain. The steam is condensed back into liquid form and is cooled to become distilled water. Ask your water quality improvement professional if their product water meets USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) standards.


Uses household pressure to separate water from dissolved mineral salts. The product water enters a holding tank for use through a special faucet on the sink. RO systems utilize a sediment filter, a semi-permeable membrane, and a carbon filter to produce a low-mineral, low-sodium, good tasting drinking water. RO is used by many bottled water companies to produce their high-quality product.


Used for drinking and cooking only – can be delivered to homes or businesses in five-gallon containers, or can be purchased from vending machines found outside many markets, or purchased in prepackaged gallon containers in most grocery stores.

Some bottled water is tap water or well water that is treated by reverse osmosis and/or carbon filtration. The law requires “spring” water to be water from a natural spring. Although it may or may not be treated, depending on its quality, all bottled water is disinfected, usually by ozonation or ultraviolet sterilization.


Improves the taste, odor and clarity of drinking water.

Carbon is most commonly used to adsorb chlorine and chloramines from city water.

Carbon is a recognized treatment technique for removal of certain organic contaminants such as trihalomethanes, trichlorethylene, paradichlorobenzene and others.

Carbon will not remove total dissolved mineral salts (TDS) from water.

Discuss the proper application with your water quality improvement professional.

If contaminants must be removed for health reasons, we recommend you obtain verification from your local Certified Water Professional that they can provide the safeguards you need.


Soft water is defined by American National Standards NSF/ANSI 44 and NSF/ANSI 330 as water containing <1 grain of hardness per gallon (or <17.1 mg/L hardness). 

Water hardness is demonstrated by scale in water heaters or on plumbing fixtures, by soap deposits on dishes and fabrics, and by soap scum in sinks and bathtubs.

Water can become “hard” as water passes through the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, dew, or fog, it picks up minerals along with gaseous and bacterial impurities. And, because water is the universal solvent, it picks up even more impurities in ponds, lakes, and rivers, as it percolates into the underground water table. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Your water utility company will tell you the hardness of your water supply, or your water quality improvement professional can perform a simple test for that information.

The most commonly used method is ion exchange softening which is relatively inexpensive and provides the luxury of using more natural types of cleaning products for household chores and personal care.


Many of our water quality improvement professionals can offer you a plan to allow you to enjoy the benefits of POU equipment before making a commitment to purchase. Many companies offer a variety of technologies, and will help you determine a product that is right for your family.

California law requires that an automatic shutoff valve be provided with every new installation of reverse osmosis equipment, unless the unit, through other equipment design specifications, achieves or exceeds equal or greater water savings than would occur with an automatic shutoff device. State law also requires companies to certify any drinking water equipment for which health claims are made. You should discuss compliance with these laws with your water quality improvement professional.

It is to your benefit, as a consumer, that all your water-using appliances are operating as efficiently as possible. Discuss ways to increase your water efficiency with your water quality improvement professional.

Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA)
2700 East Foothill Blvd. #209
Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone (626) 283-4464

 Consumer Information Line is open Monday – Friday 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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