Solutions to the Problem
There are two solutions to this problem. Point-of-use treatment involves treating water just before use. Two examples of point-of-use treatment are chlorination and filtering. A solution for homeowners to consider is point-of-use treatment for their drinking water or buying commercially. Some point-of-use systems and some methods for choosing them follow.
Purchasing a System
Once the type of system(s) has been chosen, shop around. Always ask dealers if the model they are trying to sell you is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) or Water Quality Association (WQA). These are non-profit, watch-dog organizations which independently test products relating to water quality. Their certification is a good indication of a reliable product. You may also want to check with the local Better Business Bureau before making a purchase from any dealer. For information comparing specific brands, the January 1990 issue of Consumer Reports contains an article comparing point-of-use treatment systems.
Once the system is installed, be sure to follow the recommended maintenance procedures. Most systems cannot work properly if not maintained regularly. For example, carbon filters can harbor microorganisms if not changed according to manufacturers direction. Chlorine only works if it is actually present in water; so, if it is not replenished, no treatment can take place. Reverse osmosis filters can become clogged, slowing their already sluggish production of consumable water. For every system, there is some maintenance required for effective treatment. Bottled water is an option.