Sunday, February 17, 2008

Water Filters

We recommend that birds be given bottled water (please check for quality) or water from a good home-treatment system. Home-treatment systems can be confusing, though. Here is a brief description of several types.
The type of treatment system to acquire depends on what problems your water supply has; therefore, it is best to have your water tested. Alternatively, public water departments should have an analysis on file, and you can request a copy of it.
In general, the types of contaminants to be concerned about include:
  • Bacteria, Giardia/protozoa, cryptosporidium
  • Inorganic chemicals (such as nitrates)
  • Organic chemicals (such as pesticides, industrial chemicals)
  • Chlorine and fluorine
  • Minerals (hard water)
  • Sediment, particulate matter

Reverse Osmosis: Filtration generally removes inorganic contaminants, such as nitrates.

Mechanical Filtration: Removes sediment and microbes, such as Giardia, bacteria and cryptosporidium.

Activated Charcoal: This is best for removing organic materials such as pesticides, herbicides and the trihalomethanes formed by chlorinating water. Some systems combine all of these types of treatment and would be the right choice if your water supply has problems in all three areas.

Water Distillers: These are available as well, but we do not recommend them. They tend to remove healthy minerals and may not remove volatile organic compounds (pesticides) and microbes, such as Giardia cysts.

The last type of water treatment is a water softener. This is good at removing minerals, including lead and iron, but does nothing for bacterial contaminants, Giardia cysts, nitrates, or pesticides. If the only problem you have is hard water, these devices are effective. But the advice would be to check with the public water deparment for a water analysis

To determine the best type of home-treatment system for your specific needs, please ask your public water department for a water analysis or have it professionaly tested yourself.

Reference: "Holistic Care For Birds" by David McCluggage, DVM and Pamela Leis Higdon