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Contaminants in Drinking Water: PFCs & PFAs

Contamination of fresh water supplies in the United States is an ongoing problem, and whether you have a private well or you are connected to your city’s municipal water supply, it is possible to have any number of harmful substances present in your drinking water at higher than the recommended “safe” levels. One of the most recent water quality concerns has been the presence of PFCs and PFAs in the water supply, due to suspicions that they can harm human health, though their effects are not yet fully understood.

What are PFCs & PFAs?

Perfluorinated chemicals or polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are closely-related chemicals that are used in many applications as surfactants, water repellents, stain repellents, non-stick coatings, and more. They are used widely in industrial processes, such as textile coating and chromium plating operations, and they are also found in numerous consumer products, such as:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Water and stain resistant clothing
  • Water and stain resistant upholstery
  • Stain resistant carpeting
  • Water resistant tiles
  • Carpet cleaning solutions
  • Pipe thread sealant
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Fire-suppression chemicals
  • And more…

Surfaces coated with PFCs and PFAs often shed small amounts of the chemical during normal use, which can end up in groundwater supplies, or in some cases, it can be directly ingested. Because PFCs and PFAs are extremely stable and can bioaccumulate, or be ingested faster than the body can eliminate them, any potential health threats they represent can worsen over time.

The Dangers of PFCs & PFAs

PFCs, PFAs, and related chemicals have been linked with a number of health problems in humans, including:

  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver toxicity
  • Endocrine system disruptions
  • Immune system problems
  • And more…

The long-term effects of exposure to PFCs and PFAs are not yet fully understood and are currently being studied, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set drinking water limits for these chemicals at 70 parts per trillion.

How to Protect Your Drinking Water From PFCs & PFAs

A number of studies have shown that PFCs and PFAs in drinking water can be reduced to safe levels through certain types of water treatment solutions, including:

  • Reverse osmosis systems
  • Carbon filtration systems
  • Anion exchange systems

Carbon filtration systems are a cost-effective solution, though they cannot remove as many types of water pollutants as reverse osmosis systems. Using a specially-designed membrane and high pressures, reverse osmosis systems can remove 95 to 99 percent of contaminants from the water supply, making them one of the best all-around solutions for healthy, clean water.

Water Testing & Treatment Solutions in Maryland

At Water Doctor, we are a leading provider of water testing and treatment solutions throughout the state of Maryland. We offer reverse osmosis systems, carbon filtration systems, UV sterilization systems, water softening systems, and more. Our experts can test your water supply for contaminants like PFAs, PFCs, lead, and arsenic, and we can recommend the best treatment options for your needs.

For quality water testing and treatment solutions, call Water Doctor today at 877-677-9275 or contact us online. We have been proudly serving the residents of Maryland since 1979!

When Do I Need to Replace My Well Pump?

Replacing a well pump can be a rather large job, especially if you have a deep well. With a typical pump lasting 15 to 25 years, however, it is not something that has to be done often. As a well pump approaches the end of its service life, you may start to notice problems with your plumbing system, such as changes in pressure or higher utility costs. It is best to replace the pump as soon as you start having trouble with it to avoid a sudden failure in the future and the resulting lack of water.

Signs That Your Well Pump May Need Replacement

Well pumps use an electric motor to lift water out of the well, and as they age, heat, friction, and corrosion can cause wear that gradually leads to failure. While a well pump can break down at any time, often there are warning signs that can give you a bit of notice beforehand. These can include:

  • Higher utility costs – If your pump is having trouble moving water efficiently, or it is running constantly, it can drive your utility costs up by a significant margin.
  • Low water pressure – When the pump transports the volume of water that it has in the past, you may notice decreased water pressure in your home.
  • Dirty water – A pump or screen that is physically damaged may allow sediment into the plumbing system, and that sediment will also accelerate the failure of the pump itself.
  • Air in the lines – If your faucets gurgle or release air when turned on, it could be a sign that the pump is not supplying enough water and air is entering the plumbing lines.
  • Odd noises – If you can hear the pump running constantly near the well, or it is making strange noises, the pump may be on the verge of failure.
  • Tripped breakers – When a well pump is not operating properly, it may require more current than normal, tripping the breakers. If this happens often, have the well and pump inspected.

Though well pumps can last up to 25 years, other problems in the plumbing system can cause premature failures, such as excess sediment in the well, plumbing leaks, pressure tank failures, a faulty pressure switch, or electrical problems. These examples can also be mistaken for a pump failure, so if you notice anything abnormal, it is wise to have your well professionally inspected as soon as possible.

Whether you have a well pump that has failed, a leaking pressure tank, or water quality problems, our team at Water Doctor can help. We offer well water solutions throughout Maryland, including well pump installation and replacement, pressure tank repair, well water testing, treatment solutions, and more.

Call Today to Schedule Well Pump Replacement in Maryland

If your well pump has failed, you can count on our team at Water Doctor for a timely, cost-effective well pump replacement. Since 1979, we have been serving customers all over Maryland, including the Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, and Owings Mills areas. We provide quality water testing and treatment services, including water softening, reverse osmosis, and UV sterilization systems, as well as well water services, commercial water treatment, and more.

Contact us today at 877-677-9275 or visit us online to schedule a well pump replacement or to learn about our other well water services!

How to Spot Counterfeit Water Filters

In the last several years, counterfeit products from foreign manufacturers have become common on large internet auction and shopping sites that offer merchandise from third-party sellers. While most of the questionable goods are things like clothing that present little danger to consumers, the manufacturers are now offering items like batteries, electronics, and even water filters, which could pose safety concerns if they are not manufactured to proper quality standards.

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Which Maryland Counties Are Requiring Homeowners to Test Their Backflow Preventers?

Clean, healthy water is important for both your family and the entire community. One of the most significant dangers to a public water system is backflow, or contaminated water entering the potable water system. Special devices called backflow preventers are used to stop contaminated water from flowing back into the public water system, and they are required on most new or recently remodeled homes in Maryland. For homes with testable backflow preventers, they should be inspected and tested annually—and in Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County, this is required by law.

Continue reading Which Maryland Counties Are Requiring Homeowners to Test Their Backflow Preventers?

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Whether you are making coffee, cooking a meal, or enjoying a beverage with ice, pure water is important to achieve the best-tasting results. If your home has water quality problems, one of the best, most consistent solutions is a reverse osmosis system. It goes beyond simple filtering to remove 95% to 99% of common water contaminants, from excess calcium and salt to chlorine, fluoride, and organic materials.

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Why Does My Water Smell?

Water that has an odd odor can be unappealing to drink, and it can often leave you wondering if it is healthy to consume at all. In most cases, unusual smells are perfectly harmless, but on rare occasions, they can pose health problems. Identifying the cause of the odor is an important first step in determining the risks to your health and your available treatment options.

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What Are the Sources of Water Contamination?

The quality of your water can have a significant effect on your health and comfort, and whether you are connected to a municipal water system or you have a private well, contamination is possible from a number of sources. Although private wells are especially vulnerable, as treatment is the responsibility of the well owner, even municipal water systems can contain contaminants, either from insufficient water treatment or from post-treatment contamination in the delivery system or a building’s plumbing system.

Continue reading What Are the Sources of Water Contamination?