Water-filtration utility companies typically do a good job of making tap water safe to use. However, even they are struggling with an issue that has been uncovered in recent decades. Researchers have discovered small amounts of pharmaceutical drugs—such as antibiotics and mood stabilizers—are surviving the filtration process and finding their way into the water supply. These remnants are having an adverse affect on animal and possibly human health. Here's what you need to know about ensuring your drinking water is safe for you and your family.

Contact Your Local Water-Filtration Company

Before you invest money and time in having a filtering system installed in your home, you should contact your local water-utility company to determine whether it is aware of the pharmaceutical drug problem and whether they're doing anything about it. Some water companies have installed new equipment (or upgraded existing equipment) designed to extract the minute amount of pharmaceutical drugs that aren't caught during the main filtering process.

For example, at the Orange County Water District, the company has a three-step operation that uses reverse osmosis to strip medication and illegal drug residue from the water before it's sent to the homes in the area. The Greater Cincinnati Water Works uses a granular-activated carbon-filtering system.

If your local water company already has a good filtering system in place, then you may not need to worry about this issue in your home. However, you can have your water tested by a local lab just to make sure it's free of contaminants.

Install a Home Water-Filtering System

On the other hand, if your local water-filtering company doesn't have a system in place that extracts pharmaceuticals from the water, you may need to install one in your home that does. There are a few different kinds available, and the best one for you depends on your needs and budget.

Possibly the easiest to install is a whole-house water-filtering system. These machines are typically installed at the point of entry (usually the water meter) and filter the water as it enters the home. The primary benefit is that the entire home gets treated, including water used in bathrooms.

However, most of these systems focus on removing general contaminants, so it may take a bit of effort to find one that can filter out drug residue without sacrificing efficiency. Water-filtering systems designed for commercial food businesses tend to eliminate a higher number of contaminants, so it's a good idea to look into these products first. These systems can cost anywhere from $400 to $10,000, depending on the brand and complexity.

For the most part, you only need to filter water in key areas in your home, such as the kitchen. Therefore, point-of-use systems may be your best option. These systems are attached directly to the sinks and filter the water as it runs through the access pipe or faucet.

The best point-of-use filter is one that uses reverse osmosis to clean the water of contaminants. These systems purify the water at a molecular level, so you get the cleanest and purest water possible for use in cooking, drinking, or personal care.

Be aware, these reverse-osmosis systems work by storing water in a container under the sink, which can become a problem during times when you're using water in a higher volume than the system can produce. However, they tend to be a lot cheaper than whole-house systems, costing around $150 to $1,000 per unit. The cost may be a little more since these systems require professional installation.

For more information about this issue or assistance with purchasing the best water-filtration system for your home, contact a plumber, such as one from A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.