Bridge over troubled water

Sitting on the dining room table last night.

YOU MAY RECALL last January’s post, A better way for water, in which I bragged about our new filtration system. Prematurely, it seems.

It was simply a small gizmo that connected to the end of the faucet, but it had rave reviews on Amazon, which is where I bought it. One for the Hacienda, one for my child bride’s pastry kitchen, one for the Downtown Casita and one for the Mexico City condo, and they were not cheap, $1,500 pesos each.

Almost immediately, my wife started to have urinary issues that were misinterpreted by three gynecologists and one internist as a mysterious female problem. This went on for months till she finally took herself to a lab and discovered she had a bad bacterial infection. That was solved by antibiotics.

In April, I began to have problems with my digestive system, which led to a colonoscopy in May where a bacterial infection was found in my colon. That too was solved by antibiotics.

* * * *

A lightbulb appears

New ImageA lightbulb went on over my head, and we returned to bottled water.

Whether that simple filtration system was the culprit remains unknown because I took a water sample that had passed through that filter to a lab in the nearby capital city, and an analysis found no bacteria.

No matter. All four filters have been removed. However, I am getting too long in the tooth to sling around those five-gallon bottles. I am sick of it.

Enter our new filtration system. See the photo. Significantly bigger and higher tech. The water even passes through ultraviolet light that kills bacteria and Lord knows what else. We installed one at the Downtown Casita, the pastry kitchen and, just this morning, here at the Hacienda.

At the store in the capital city where I bought the new system, I also purchased a small gizmo that measures water quality, and grades water at seven levels from Ideal to Stuff You Don’t Want in Your Mouth.

It measures TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) but it does not measure bacteria. I measured the water we buy in the big jugs. It registered as ideal.

The next level down is water akin to “carbon filters, mountain springs, aquifers.” Then comes “hard water” followed by “marginally acceptable,” which it says is the average U.S. tap water. The two following levels are not for drinking.

The previous little filter registered TDS at the borderline of mountain streams and hard water. The new one registers just a tad higher into hard water, but both are below the average of U.S. tap water. And only the new system kills bacteria.

Let’s see what happens now. Pray for our tummies.

15 thoughts on “Bridge over troubled water

    1. Beverly: Didn’t even try. We had them for too long before the lightbulb went on. And, in all truth, there is no proof they were the culprits, especially after the lab test showing there was no bacteria.

      Sometimes you just gotta move on. C’est la vie.


  1. I have a filter in the house for the well — our only source of water. But no fancy bug-killing light. As always, you have upped the ante on me. Even though it is filtered, we do not use the tap water for drinking. That is what bottled water is for. Santorini from Kiosko. The only Pepsi product allowed to cross our threshold. That is not much of a boast since all Coke products have also been banned here since June. Omar and I go through a garafon of water every other day. And the contents go through us — as is the natural order of things.


    1. Señor Cotton: I would stick with bottled water if I ever heard the guys in the trucks passing in the street hollering “Agua!” I could get them to bring the heavy things inside for me. But I almost never hear them. It’s due to the location of the house, the house design, something or other. I don’t get it. But I rarely hear them. So it’s up to me to drive to a nearby abarrotes, lug it to the car, bring it home, lug it inside, etc. That is not sustainable as the years creep up on me.

      So, the high-tech filter. After the questionable experience with the previous, I’m still a bit hesitant to use the new one.

      So what’s up with you and Pepsi and Coke?


      1. I have dropped my diet Coke habit. It just did not seem to fit with everything else I was doing in altering my meals. Pepsi, which I have never liked as a soft drink, owns Santorini, my preferred brand of bottled water.


  2. I might suggest you take a sample before and after your installation of the new filter assembly. Then for the first few months do an monthly test also before and after the filter. We have checked our water a few times and depending on the time of year and noticed differences which I attribute to sloppy maintenance up stream on our viaduct,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tancho: The system is already installed, since yesterday. But if I want to test the water before and after the filter, I just have to turn on the regular tap for a “before” and then the new, additional, filtered-water tap that was not there before yesterday for “after.” But your experience shows something we cannot ignore: Water quality fluctuates.

      But now I have far more extensive filtration, plus the ultraviolet killer of bacteria. I remain optimistic … for now.


  3. Felipe: In my long and checkered career, a couple of years were spent at one of the first companies to manufacture UV filters, Trojan Technologies, who used to get numerous phone calls inquiring about bulk sales of condoms.

    We made UV filters for both drinking water and sewage treatment. It replaces chlorination. The UV should be installed after the filters, because the filters will become a breeding ground for bacteria.

    The ones we sold worked well, and we made some for Third World countries that were combined with a Honda gas generator/pump combo. We also provided treatment filters to all of the ships in the U.S. Navy, and some major brewers. The lightbulbs have a life span, and lose their ability even though the light isn’t burned out.

    Hope the filters solve all tummy issues.


    1. Kris: Interesting, thanks. Yes, the UV light is installed following the water’s passage through the filters. We were told the lightbulbs last about a year, plus there is a signal light to indicate when they need to be changed. As for the tummy issues, they were resolved a few months ago. Just don’t want to see them return. Saludos.


  4. Felipe, just got back NOB, after three weeks in SMA, where the house we stay in has a very similar system up by the cistern on the roof. Never had issue with the house water over the last 10 years! You made a great choice! Congrats! And enjoy the benefits!


    1. Dan: I hope to enjoy the benefits. So you drink the tap water in that house? All of the filters I’ve seen with the big cylinders that are near the roof tank just filter course particles from the water.They are not intended to make drinking water. But I imagine the more thorough systems could be installed on the roof. Never seen it.


  5. So I gather from the comments that these filters are designed for a single faucet, and not the entire house. I have often wondered about the practicality of creating a water system that would purify the water for the entire house. No, I don’t really need drinking-quality water for the toilet, nor the washing machine. Still, germy water is one of the drawbacks of Mexico, and it’d be nice to have Gringo-quality water everywhere. (If I live in CDMX, I’d also like to have a water softener.)

    Though it’s likely not a problem in your neck of the woods, I do wonder about the possibility of non-biological toxins — heavy metals, PCBs, other chemicals — in CDMX water. I always used to drink bottled water, but would stoop to boil pasta in tap water. And I don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects, but then those things are cumulative and slow-acting.

    But hauling drinking water home is a big pain in the ass. Unilever makes a countertop water purification system called “Pureit,” which I’d have bought if I lived there any longer. Did you consider that? WalMart sells them in CDMX, probably in Morelia too.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we wonder if part of your response will have something to do with worrying too much.


    1. Kim: Yes, our new system is designed for a single faucet, which is a separate one that was installed on the other end of the kitchen sink. And yes, I agree that whole-house systems don’t make much sense. I too have long since used tap water to boil pasta, but I put disinfectant in it beforehand. Plus, it gets boiled. Plus, it gets poured off before serving the pasta. I imagine all those steps eliminate most, possibly all, potential problems. Don’t worry, be happy.

      As for Unilever’s system, there are a number of companies that produce these things. They can be installed atop the counter or hidden below the sink. That’s where ours is. Looks better out of sight.

      Anyway, you worry way too much.


      1. Well, I never put disinfectant into pasta water, which sounds yucky. But I (mostly) figured that the boiling would be enough to kill whatever nasties might be there. Still (and this applies to you too, up there on your mountaintop) water in CDMX boils at something like 197°F, not quite as hot as sea-level boiling. I’m hoping there aren’t nasty bacteria or similar things that can survive 197° but not 212°. But my lack of any type of infection suggests that there aren’t.


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