Water Filtration for New York City Buildings Clean, Cost Effective and Efficient

 According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New  York City currently has the largest unfiltered surface water supply in the  world. Every day, some 1.3 billion gallons of water are delivered to more than  eight million New York City residents, a million more consumers in four upstate  counties, and hundreds of thousands of commuters and tourists. The system  includes a watershed of 1,972 square miles across eight counties north and west  of the city. The system’s 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes contain a total storage capacity of  580 billion gallons. Approximately 97 percent of this total water supply is  delivered to the residential and commercial populace by gravity—the remainder is pumped upwards to maintain the desired pressure.  

 Central and Local Filtration

 As the impact of pollution and waste caused by the plastic water bottling  industry becomes more common knowledge and people seek alternatives to bottled  water, building owners, managers and residents are looking for assurance that  the water from their taps is clean, safe and healthy. Truth is, there are no government standards that require bottled water to be any  better, purer or safer than tap water. And while people who choose to buy  bottled water deserve the assurance that it is safe, the long-term solution to  water quality is to ensure that safe, clean, good-tasting drinking water comes  right out of the tap. Most water requires some type of treatment before use,  even water from deep wells or springs. The extent of treatment depends on the  source of the water. Simple, readily available, water testing can help  determine the level of filtration desired. New York City tap water is some of  the best in the nation in terms of taste, purity, and safety, but anyone  concerned about the quality of their tap water can take action to insure it by  implementing a filtration program.  

 The road to water quality assurance is twofold—usually involving a central water filtration system that serves the whole  building, and a series of local systems that serve individual units. Central  systems are installed on a building’s incoming water supply, and represent a long-term solution to eliminating  sediment and other contaminants. Unlike in the past, today’s central systems require minimal maintenance and no added chemicals. Central  filters provide the foundation on which a complete filtration system is based.  

 By contrast, local filtering systems perform a singular function—such as a dedicated drinking water spout—or serve an entire block of fixtures, such as a kitchen or pantry. Because  different geographic areas are prone to different types of contaminants,  specialized filters are available to produce the desired water quality in a  given area.  

 One caveat when it comes to filtration, however: while improving taste and  purity are both good reasons to install filtration systems, it's also important  to note that filters can sometimes be too efficient, resulting in the removal  of healthy trace minerals that our body needs. All the more reason to do your  homework and consult a filtration expert before installing a system in your  building or in your apartment.  


 Aside from producing better-tasting water, by removing sediments and other  solids, a cleaner water system also relieves stress on a building's piping  systems and plumbing fixtures, which in turn decreases utility bills and  operating costs while increasing equipment life. A further benefit is that  building occupants can reduce or even eliminate the use of bottled water, which  in turn reduces the detrimental environmental effects of manufacturing and  disposing of plastic bottles.  

 In conjunction with a filtration program, buildings should also consider  installing low-flow fixtures and faucets to reduce occupant usage of water. By  using more water-efficient products and practices, consumers improve health,  save natural resources, reduce water consumption and save money.   

 Neil Skidell is managing director of Par Green Solutions at The Par Group, a New  York City-based provider of plumbing, mechanical and fire protection services.


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