Lessons from the Chemical Spill in West Virginia

The chemical spill in West Virginia this month affected the water of 300,000 people and included an interesting lesson. The chemical is 4-methylcyclohexanemthanol and no one knew at first how to remove it from water. The first assumption was that it was a volatile organic compound but carbon filters failed to remove it. Venting also would not work.

Here’s what is known about it:


Because it is a hydrocarbon, I recommend a hydrocarbon filter to remove it. These are generally used to remove low levels of oil or gasoline that have found their way into private well water.

An article in the January 2014 issue of Water Technology Magazine confirms what I’ve been saying all along: most people buy the wrong water filter. A survey of 2025 consumers by NSF (the testing firm) learned that 44% of those surveyed owned a water filter. But 54% of those bought a filter without first learning which contaminants are present in their water. Instead, their reasons were as follows: 35% said the filter came with the home, 11% said it was recommended by a friend, and 8% said the filter received good online reviews. While these are all interesting reasons for buying something they present a problem when it comes to water filtration.

In order to have healthy water you must first identify the contaminants in your water and then buy the filter that will remove them. You can do this as described on my website. First you find your local water report and then call me and we’ll review it together. I’ll outline your options based on the goals you’ve set for your family.

The NSF survey found that 30% of those surveyed did read and understand (or said they did – that’s hard to believe) the local water quality report, also known as a consumer confidence report. 26% said they didn’t look at it and 18% didn’t know it existed.

So…if the affected individuals in West Virginia just go out and buy a home water filter they are still going to be drinking 4-methylcyclohexanemthanol because you have to first identify the contaminant and then figure out how to remove it from your water. This is a particularly difficult chemical to remove so it illustrates my point very well.

When you recommend my water purification systems or services to people you know the first thing we’ll do when they call is to review their local water report. Only then will I make a recommendation for which water treatment is appropriate for their particular situation.

No single filter removes all contaminants. By reviewing your water report we can determine which filter(s) or water purification system will remove the contaminants in your water.