Bacteria & Viruses


What Are Bacteria and Viruses?

Bacteria and viruses are undesirable in drinking water, serving as vectors for infectious diseases and sickness. The known presence of bacteria and viruses in water supplies cause emergency alerts, “boil water” notices, and often prompt consumers to seek out a water filter for bacteria and viruses.

A virus is a type of microscopic infectious organism that consists of an acidic nucleus in a protein shell. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not consider living organisms, as they do not grow or make their own energy; viruses are more like unauthorized blueprints, forcing other cells to create more viruses. Viruses that infect human cells and cause diseases are called enteric viruses; of these, the viruses that are waterborne and considered of significant public health concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) are adenovirus, astrovirus, hepatitis A and E, rotavirus, norovirus, and enteroviruses. Other viruses, such as influenza and coronaviruses, may be transmittable through drinking water, but the evidence is currently inconclusive, and more health information is required.
Although not all bacteria and viruses can survive and spread via water, it is still important for individuals to consider whether they require a bacteria water filter or virus water filter. Furthermore, drinking water filters that remove bacteria or viruses are not common, as such capabilities are beyond many inexpensive water filters you might find on a supermarket shelf. When it comes to general consumer-grade water filtration, bacteria and viruses are not a high priority. This means that viruses and bacteria that may be present in drinking water may easily pass through a run-of-the-mill water filter.

How Do Bacteria and Viruses Affect People?

The presence of bacteria in water does not necessarily make the water unsafe to drink, but the harmful bacteria – the pathogens – can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headaches, among other symptoms.

Many harmful (enteric) viruses have been associated with gastroenteritis, which can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and fever. Some of the more severe illnesses associated with viral infections include encephalitis, meningitis, myocarditis, cancer, and hepatitis.

For both pathogens and enteric viruses, young children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the diseases and symptoms they create.

What Are Some Indicators of Possible Bacteria and Virus Water Contamination?

  1. Turbidity – cloudy water – is a visible indicator of possible bacterial or viral contamination of water. Particulates in water that make it appear cloudy can hinder disinfection, allowing for the growth and reproduction of bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms.
  2. Another indicator is the presence of coliforms in the water. Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment, and their presence indicates that other, potentially harmful bacteria may also be present (a warning sign is if coliforms are found in more samples than allowed).
  3. A third indicator is the presence of what are known as fecal indicators. Fecal indicators – enterococci or coliphage – are microbes linked to the presence of human or animal wastes in water; their presence can cause short-term human health effects.

How Do Municipalities Treat Bacteria and Viruses in Drinking Water?

Municipal water treatment plants disinfect water before it travels through the pipes to homes, although the efficacy of disinfection may be hampered by excessive water turbidity. Chlorine and chloramine are common disinfectants added to the water to treat the presence of bacteria and viruses as the water is distributed throughout the municipality. Despite the presence of disinfectants, cross-contamination of the water can still occur throughout the miles of water infrastructure itself. The efficacy of municipal disinfection will vary, depending on the specific pathogen, the pH of the water, the water temperature, the presence of particulate matter, the presence of protozoa, and the water turbidity. Because of this, municipal disinfection – while generally effective – is never a 100% solution.

Why Do I Need Water Filter to Remove Bacteria and Viruses?

Because the symptoms from exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses includes gastrointestinal issues, meningitis, hepatitis, and other very serious diseases, it is important to consider a water filter for bacteria and viruses.

What Are Some Methods to Filter Bacteria and Viruses in Drinking Water?

Some of the most commonly used forms of viral water filter and methods to filter bacteria include ultraviolet (UV) treatment, chlorine and chloramine disinfection, and mechanical or adsorptive filtration. UV treatment involves the production of UV light when an electric arc is struck in mercury vapor. Exposure to UV light through cylindrical mercury arc lamps can disinfect water by destroying bacteria and viruses present in the water. High water turbidity can lessen the effectiveness of UV treatment as a water filter that removes viruses and bacteria, because the cloudiness can block the UV rays. Chlorine is commonly used by most municipalities as an effective treatment for bacteria/viruses. Much like UV treatment, high turbidity in the water can lower the effectiveness of the disinfection. Chloramine is an increasingly used alternative to chlorine in municipal water treatment plants. A compound consisting of chlorine and ammonia, it is less potent than chlorine at disinfecting water.

How Does Multipure Protect Me from Bacteria and Viruses?

Although the core of our drinking water systems' incredible performance is our exceptional solid carbon block filter, the key to Multipure’s water filter virus and bacteria treatment is our Aqualuxe drinking water system and our proprietary PureBlock technology. This powerful additional layer of protection offers 6-log (99.9999%) removal of bacteria, 4-log (99.99%) removal of viruses, and 3-log (99.9%) removal of live cysts from drinking water. In addition, the filter utilizes mechanical filtration, physisorption, chemisorption, and catalysis to reduce the presence of other harmful chemicals and contaminants.
Multipure's Aqualuxe is NSF-certified according to NSF/ANSI Standards 42 (Aesthetic Effects), 53 (Health Effects), 401 (Emerging Contaminants), and Protocol P231 (Microbiological Purifier) for the reduction of dozens of contaminants. NSF certification is a very high standard of quality, so you can be confident that our filters do exactly what we say they do.
The result is a drinking water purifier that filters bacteria and viruses with the third-party verification that comes from NSF International.

This high level of protection, and the certified performance claims that verify it, are the most important considerations when considering a bacteria and virus water filter.

Order Your Water Purification System Now

If you are interested in home water filtration, bacteria and viruses should definitely be a consideration for the type of drinking water system you purchase. Whether you are considering Multipure's Aqualuxe drinking water purifier, or if you are interested in any of our other exceptional water filtration products, please contact your local Multipure Independent Builder for more information, or check out the Multipure Aqualuxe.