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#126263 - 03/04/08 04:31 PM Water purification...at work?

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?

#126264 - 03/04/08 04:49 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]
Nicodemus Offline

Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 1341
Loc: Virginia, US

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.

Edited by Nicodemus (03/04/08 04:50 PM)
"Learn survival skills when your life doesn't depend on it."

#126265 - 03/04/08 04:53 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
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.

#126267 - 03/04/08 05:16 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: Dan_McI]

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.

#126268 - 03/04/08 05:20 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]

I guess I could always get a new bottle too:

#126270 - 03/04/08 05:28 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
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

#126272 - 03/04/08 05:41 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
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?

#126273 - 03/04/08 05:53 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: Arney]

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.

#126274 - 03/04/08 06:19 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: ]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 317
Loc: Canada
Try drinking tea with water you boil!
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

#126276 - 03/04/08 06:41 PM Re: Water purification...at work? [Re: BruceZed]
aardvark Offline

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 109
Loc: So. California
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?

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