Water purification...at work?

Posted by: Anonymous

Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 04:31 PM

I work in a downtown high rise and events in the last decade have led me to wonder if I should have some form of water purification at work in case I'm stranded inside without running water...or worse. My 'Itcouldneverhappentome-itis' has kept me from pursuing that line of thought thinking that what I carry in my personal kit is enough...but today I came up with another reason...let me know if this makes sense to you:

The only sources of water here are from the a water cooler around the corner, taps in the bathroom or from a single, nearly always 1/2 empty, vending machine (I rarely buy water). I typically fill my bottle from the cooler...who wouldn't? It's a special kind that takes tap water and filters it like an under counter filter into the refrigerated part of the cooler. Lately I've been noticing that this water smells funky...I'm pretty sure it always did and I'm just noticing now as when the water warms, it gets funkier. I also notice that there are very few people who use it...I can guess why. There is a sticker on the aparatus which clearly indicates that 'Mo' inspected the system recently but I'm not so sure he actually tested anything. The alternative is filling my bottle in the bathroom and that just goes against everything my mother taught me as a child. Makes me want to pop out the MIOX pen or some tablets before I get sick...but it seems strange to me to use 'emergency' stuffs in every day life like that. It's not an emergency after all...not yet anyhow wink

Am I being paranoid?

Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 04:49 PM


I don't think so, but then again, I prefer not to drink from coolers where any part of a person's reusable water vessel (cup, glass, bottle etc.) can touch the spigot directly. A lot of people tend stick the spigot in their water bottles and allow it to touch the rim, use unwashed hands to hold it there and so on. Worse still, these water bottles don't appear to be washed on a regular basis and are used for a long time.

According to a few news reports that I've seen these reused bottles grow some gruesome molds and bacteria. I'm not talking about urban legend goops, just regular everyday nasties that I'd rather not ingest.

I wonder if it's possible to catch the cold or flu this way. I'm not taking any chances though.

As for the smell, that could be many things. It's disturbing.
Posted by: Dan_McI

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 04:53 PM

I think the water that is coming out of the tap is probably not different at all from that which many people across your city drink daily, from a quality perspective. So, plenty of people are drinking the stuff that comes out of your tap. The building's piping could make a difference, but that's not that likely.

If you are really worried, get a pitcher of some type, stick in the water boil it, use the microwave, and save it for you.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 05:16 PM

Just to clarify a few things:

My main concerns are:
- I won't buy my 2L+ a day from a vending machine...I'm not made of money.
- I'm concerned that the filter in the cooler is filled with nasties and needs replacing
- I KNOW the bathroom is filled with nasties but I'm unsure of the chances that could get into my water if I filled my bottle there.

I don't get sick easily but I'd hate to catch something when it was preventable.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 05:20 PM

I guess I could always get a new bottle too:
Posted by: Dan_McI

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 05:28 PM

I think the filter in the cooler is probably not much different from the tap. Filters can be breeding grounds, but usually not at room temperatures do they get nasty. Crank the heat up to 100+ F, and legionella may breed.

The tap on the water filter is probably of more danger than the filter. You might want to have something to keep the mouth of your bottle wiped.

If you are worried, why not get something along the lines of a Brita pitcher, fill it up for the day and let the filter clean it for you. See: http://staging.sftribalddb.com/brita/index_ca.html
Posted by: Arney

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Hacksaw
Lately I've been noticing that this water smells funky...I'm pretty sure it always did and I'm just noticing now as when the water warms, it gets funkier.

I'm curious, does the water from the bathroom tap smell funky if it warms?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 05:53 PM

Good question Arney. You'd think the bathroom would have the same smell if it did...but I'm going to test now that you bring it up.
Posted by: BruceZed

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 06:19 PM

Try drinking tea with water you boil!
Posted by: aardvark

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 06:41 PM

Brita filters only improve smell and flavor, they don't filter or kill germs. I think the issue with your cooler may be that if not enough water is run through it every day, the water inside will stale and smell and taste bad. Also, the filter probably also should be replaced and some descaler run through the machine. At least that's whats done on plumbed in coffee machines we have here.
I'm not sure what the concern is regarding getting water from the bathroom. It's supplied from the same pipes as the kitchen water and in our case, the bathroom has more water usage and is cleaned more often than the kitchen! I personally don't like this practice, but many people wash their cups and stuff in the bathroom instead of the kitchen and they aren't always getting sick.
As far as bacteria breeding in plastic bottles, i think these are just stories that the 11 o'clock news likes to carry because they have an 'ick' factor that raises ratings and gets people talking. They never actually go into what kind of bacteria are bred and whether they are in fact harmful and how many are needed to cause illness etc. And they usually have some droid from the 'bottled water marketing council' talk about how bad it is for you, never mind how bad it is for their profits if people just refill a reusable bottle.
For that matter, if this is such a problem, why are open Sparkletts trucks allowed to drive around and deliver water all day in the sun? Wouldn't that be a bigger source of contamination and bacteria growth?
Posted by: teacher

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 07:47 PM

Carry water from home ( filtered there) or use a filter bottle?

Posted by: Joseph13

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 07:54 PM


One some of, if not all, the stand alone water coolers (that hook into the buildings water supply) there is a storage bladder that can also go bad. As the bladder starts to breakdown the smells can get quite nasty. Eventually the bladder rots through and you get no water.

The two main types of "office coolers" are Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) or simple carbon filter units. The R.O. units only filter down to about 10 microns, so the R.O. system is chemically pure but not biologically pure (see ETS: Gear & Equipment, Basic Wilderness and Survival Equipment under the filters heading for more info).

On the unit there should be a contact phone number for the company that services the product. I would try calling them and ask what the TDS (total disolved solids) reading is from their last inspection, along with the date of inspection. Also, ask what the tap water in the area (or unfiltered water's TDS reading typicaly is.) If they say they don't take a TDS reading the unit is only a activated carbon filter for smell and taste.

As both of the above mentioned units age, they will go bad and need to be replaced. Some companys will swap out the old unit and rebuild it with new parts, so you get a rebuilt replacement.

Just some of the useless info I felt like sharing.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/04/08 10:22 PM

I found an identical cooler on another floor. I cleaned my bottle out using a purification tablet followed by a good rinse with soap and water. We'll see in the morning if it's funky.

I just realized that maybe my bottle is now funky and will always smell...hmmmm...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/05/08 07:37 PM

No funk...it's the cooler around the corner which is the cause. I think I'll phone the company and let them know.
Posted by: teacher

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/06/08 05:21 PM

also, use generic denture cleaning tabs once in a while to keep your personal water bottle funk-free.
Posted by: bigmothertrucker

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/06/08 06:56 PM

generic denture cleaning tabs once in a while to keep your personal water bottle funk-free.

does this really work? If so this is an awsome tip. I can never get a brush to fit good inside my waterbottle so I may try this.

I wonder if it will work inside a camlebac bladder?

Posted by: AyersTG

Re: Water purification...at work? - 03/08/08 01:12 PM

Eh, I think you're a little paranoid about the bathroom tap, but perhaps you know something I don't.

Split this into 2 situations: 1) Every day 2) Emergencies.

For every day, just get a Pur pitcher and the municipal water from the tap once a day - first thing when you arrive at the office. <shrug> you could use a Brita, but IMHO the Pur is better. Don't leave the filtered water standing out at ambient over a weekend - the municipal treatment chemicals are stripped out by the filter, so there is no residual microbiotic inhibition.

Since neither the Pur nor the Brita can claim to reduce bacteria or virus, if you are concerned about those there are a couple of things that that you could do (call these stage 0 and stage 2, with the pitcher stage 1):

Stage 0: Stash a bottle of plain bleach and a small non-metallic cup at work. Before filling the pitcher, a) run the tap for 10 seconds and turn it off; b) pour some raw bleach into the cup and hold the cup on the faucet so the bleach covers the spigot to a depth of about an inch (depends on faucet style) and hold it there as long as you don't feel like an idiot - 10 to 60 seconds; c) dump the bleach, run the tap a second or two, and fill the filter. This addresses any occult gross cross contamination by hands, mouths, and dish rags.

Stage 1 - water drips thru your Pur pitcher filter.

Stage 2 - add treatment chemical to the filtered water and let sit 15 minutes. Hardly matters what you use at this point, so pick something economical - cheapest would be (you guessed it) a measured amount of the bleach from stage 0.

Personally, I would skip stage 0 and 2 and just use the Pur pitcher; YMMV.

- - - -

Situation 2 - Emergencies. You probably already have this covered... perhaps you might add an Ex Stream or Ex Stream XR to your desk drawer.

HTH give you some useful ideas for your circumstances.

Posted by: teacher

Re: Water purification...at work? - 05/17/19 05:16 PM

Have your tried a filter bottle?
Posted by: WesleyH

Re: Water purification...at work? - 06/09/19 11:50 AM

As someone noted, the most likely cause of the problem is the filter needs replacing. Sadly, most commercial sites such as offices, put filtration systems in break rooms, but then promptly forget them. The filters are never changed out.