Memphis Water Quality Report
Sources Of Drinking Water in Memphis, Tennessee
Where does Memphis get its water from? Many people think that Memphis' water comes from the Mississippi River, but that is not true. The water supply for Memphis and Shelby County comes from natural reservoirs hundreds of feet below the surface of the Earth. Most of this water is located in sand aquifers that are sandwiched between layers of clay. The sand acts as a natural filter, slowly removing many of the water's impurities. There are four sand aquifers under Shelby County: the Memphis Aquifer, Fort Pillow Sand Aquifer, the 2500 Foot Aquifer, and the Coffee Sand Aquifer. According to Memphis Light Gas, and Water, the Memphis Aquifer holds 100 trillion gallons of water that “fell to the earth as long as 2,000 years ago”.
Is Memphis water safe to drink? Does Memphis put fluoride in its water?
Contaminants Found in Memphis, TN Water Supply
(Detected above health guidelines)
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Bromodichloromethane is one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) that formed when disinfectants, such as chlorine, are used to treat tap water. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Bromodichloromethane? Cancer, Kidney & Liver Damage. Bromodichloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy. In recent animal studies, the main effect of eating or drinking large amounts of Bromodichloromethane is injury to the liver and kidneys. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Radiological contamination of water is due to the presence of radionuclides, which are defined as atoms with unstable nuclei. In an effort to become more stable, a radionuclide emits energy in the form of rays or high-speed particles. This is called ionizing radiation because it displaces electrons, which creates ions. The three major types of ionizing radiation are alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Radiological contaminants? Cancer. Over and over again, regardless of the source, long-term exposure or brief exposure in high doses, leads to cancer. Cancers of the bone, liver, stomach, lungs, skin, kidneys, thyroid gland, and most other tissues are common, and medical science is still discovering other maladies that may be cancer-related. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) are the result of a reaction between the chlorine used for disinfecting tap water and natural organic matter in the water. At elevated levels, TTHMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes. Now a study by government and academic researchers adds to previous evidence that dermal absorption and inhalation of TTHMs associated with everyday tap water use can result in significantly higher blood TTHM concentrations than simply drinking the water does. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)? Cancer. Studies from around the world including the United States & Europe have found that drinking tap water that carries Total Trihalomethanes increases the risk of developing cancer. In animal studies, all trihalomethanes cause liver, kidney and intestinal tumors. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants
Health risks of Radiological contaminants in excess of health guidelines
Cancer: Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.
Health risks of trihalomethanes in excess of health guideline
Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.
What are the best type of filters to remove these contaminants?
Water sources can contain contaminants that impact your long term health, the taste & smell of the water and other microbiological contaminants that can actually make people sick shortly after drinking. Fortunately, there are water filtration products that remove many of the impurities from water. These filters often use carbon. Two dominant carbon filter choices are solid carbon blocks and granular activated carbon filters.
Granular activated carbon filters have loose granules of carbon that look like black grains of sand. Solid block carbon filters have blocks of compressed activated carbon that are formed with the combination of heat and pressure. Both filters are made from carbon that’s ground into small particulate sizes. Solid carbon blocks are ground even further into a fine mesh 7 to 19 times smaller than the granular activated carbon filters.
Less Contact Time
Flow channels also develop between the granules in granular activated carbon filters, leading to less effective filtration as there’s less contact between the water and carbon. Solid carbon blocks are much tighter and won’t even let through microbial cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium. However, solid carbon block filters are so tight that they can often get plugged up with matter, forcing owners to replace them on a more regular basis. This is why when you are using a Brita water pitcher filter (granular carbon), the filter will keep going and going long after it has stopped removing any water contaminants. Why bother?
The solid carbon block filters like the one used in the Epic Smart Shield remove more contaminants than the granular activated carbon filters due to the larger surface area and the tighter filters, this is why Epic Water Filters has standardized on the solid carbon block design for our water pitchers and our under the sink water filter. Granular activated carbon filters do not do enough to reduce contaminants and they are cheap to make. They are truly not "Epic" so that is why we have passed on this design and let our competitors like Woder, Brita, Pur, and Invigorated Water use these loose packed carbon filters for sub-par contaminant removal.
With solid carbon block filters the contaminants are in contact with more carbon for a longer period and therefore have more time to remove stubborn contaminants like lead (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.9% removal), fluoride (Epic Pure Pitcher 97.8% removal), and PFCs (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.8% removal). Carbon blocks can remove chlorine more effectively, eliminate undesirable odors, and removal endocrine disruptors like volatile organic compounds. The granular activated carbon particles move around, so the filter does not have as much uniformity throughout, unlike the solid carbon blocks.
Solid carbon blocks have millions and millions of different sized pores that cause the water to take a long slow path to get through the filter, increasing the contact time that the contaminated water has with the carbon. During this contact time is when contaminants adhere to the carbon and are removed from water. This happens during a process called adsorption, the other filtration method that carbon blocks use is called depth filtration where the thickness of the filter comes into play to help remove contaminants as they have to pass through this carbon walls.
Carbon Block vs Granulated Carbon
The granular activated carbon filters are cheap and simple to manufacture, which is why most water filtration companies choose this method for manufacturing (ex: Brita, Woder). Solid Carbon Block Filters on the other hand take longer to manufacture and are more expensive but with this expense, you get superior contaminant removal because the water must take a tortured path through thousands of layers of compressed carbon before it reaches your drinking glass.
A hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...
- April Jones