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Mackinaw River Project



Jim McMahon leading a landowner tour on the Mackinaw River


Jim leading landowner group on tour


The Mackinaw River Watershed, a 1,100-square-mile basin in central Illinois, holds some of the most diverse aquatic communities in the state. This river ecosystem is threatened by a landscape that consists of 85% row crops. The Mackinaw River Project was funded by Illinois EPA and managed by The Nature Conservancy.

Jim was hired by The Nature Conservancy to manage the effort to engage with and involve local community members in development of a comprehensive watershed management plan. The project was extemely controversial and encountered serious resistance from local landowners. However Jim was able to build relationships throughout the watershed. The first year of the project was spent building relationships. Then the planning phase began. Jim recruited 30 landowners who were influential in the community. Professional facilitator Larry Huggins was hired and the 18 month process began. Together this group of individuals was successful in both writing a plan to reduce agricultural impacts on river and also in winning over the larger community. What started out being very controversial became welcome in the area. The project ran from 1994 to 1998.

Jim, aided ecologist Steven Apfelbaum and land steward Vern LaGesse, designed and constructed numerous conservation projects throughout the watershed. These demonstration projects on private land included constructed wetlands and both forest and prairie restoration.

At the headwaters of the Mackinaw an ancient grove of Burr Oaks still remains. Known as Sibley Grove, the land was donated to The Nature Conservancy. Restoration included the removal of drainage tiles and controlled burns of the forest understory and surrounding wetlands and prairie. Truly a symbolic donation Sibley Grove was a turning point in the Mackinaw River Project's success.

The Mackinaw River Project became one of TNC's premier efforts in community conservation, the notion of protecting landscapes by involving local stakeholders. Unfortunately the leadership of the Illinois Field Office did not have the patience to endure and once the watershed management plan was completed they were ready to move on to other things. This of course led to disappointment among the stakeholders who had worked so hard. TNC continues a minor effort in the watershed but failed to fulfill its promises to local landowners. 








Sweetwater LLC

Water Filtration Systems

designed by ecologist James P McMahon



You can enjoy healthy water by choosing the correct water filtration system.

Most people don't - in their haste to make a purchase and due to the massive confusion and mixed messages delivered by companies making false statements on the internet, most people buy the wrong filtration system. I know it.


When Choosing a Water Filtration System, you must consider the following:


If your water source is public water provided by a city or private company ...  the water will contain harmful chemicals intended to protect you, such as chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride. It may also contain numerous other carcinogens. You must start with a review of your local water quality report before purchasing any water filtration system.


If you have well water, skip this page and go to

Well Water Treatment Systems

Again, in order to know which whole house water treatment system or drinking water filter to buy you have to start by looking at your local water quality reportYou want to buy the water filtration system or kitchen water filter that removes the contaminants in your water. Most people make a huge mistake by not doing this. Just buying a filter does not protect you! It has to be the right one for your situation.


Are you ready to purchase the right water filtration system?


Here's what to do:

Have I made this point often enough yet?

Obtain a copy of your city's annual water quality report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report - here's how to find it: Water Quality Report - then call me and we'll discuss which whole house water filtration system or drinking water filter will achieve healthy water for your family. That is my focus: healthy water for you.


Pick up the phone and call me during the hours of

9 AM - 6 PM Mountain Time, Mon - Fri

866-691-4214 (toll-free) and we'll find your water quality report together!


First determine which contaminants are in your water and which type of water filtration technology will remove them. I do this by looking at the water report supplied by your local city or water company. You can do it all on your own by buying my Ultimate Guide or signing up for my free Five Steps to Healthy Water email series. Or you can call me.


Together we will look at your water report and determine which whole house water filtration system or drinking water filter will best meet your needs.  I cannot make a recommendation without speaking with you. And I can't make a recommendation without reviewing your local water report, unless of course you live in a city I sell to all the time.


These are some of my products which you will find in more detail on their own product pages as listed here:


My Urban Defender whole house water filtration system is as effective as systems sold by the major brands that cost four times as much.

To learn more about the Urban Defender please visit my whole house water filter page.


Or, you can request pricing and specifications here: Send me pricing and specifications for the Urban Defender.


You can combine the Urban Defender with other home water filtration options, such as specific contaminant removal, such as fluoride or arsenic or nitrates, and Ultra Violet light, for more complete protection from the contaminants in your water supply.

There is no better whole house water filtration system for municipal water. 


Terminator Whole House Filtration System

I also sell the Terminator whole house water filter which is intended for single person households or retired couples in small homes or homes with low water use. The Terminator is far more effective than the cheap downflow without backwash or the upflow carbon filters offered by some major brands.  The


Don't be fooled by the low cost whole house water treatment systems that don't backwash. Read my blog on how these companies are deceiving you: They're junk. You get what you pay for.


Read why a downflow system with backwash is better than the upflow carbon filters which cost less.



“My Urban Defender whole house water filter has changed my life. I love it!”

Aileen Gee, Falmouth, MA

"...not only is our water clean, fresh and smooth tasting but it even feels better. Beyond the physical attributes supporting the quality of our new water, there exists a real sense of confidence and peace of mind in knowing that the water we consume and absorb in a variety of ways each and every day is pure and healthful. Your recommendation of The Urban Defender whole house water treatment system along with the polishing affect of the triple water filtration Kitchen Defender under sink water filter really seems to fit the bill."

John Ciulla; Airmont, NY

"The best tasting water I've ever had. It's way better than any bottled water.

Jim has provided impeccable service. His genuine interest in the quality and taste of our water is reassuring. Additionally, Jim has continued to follow through to check on our service needs and has responded quickly to all of our requests. My wife and I give him our very highest recommendation."

Dan Walden; Corona, CA

 "We bought a whole house water filtration system from Jim and now our water is perfect!"

Beckie Moses, Lilburn, GA


Kitchen Defender® Kitchen Water Filter:

There is no better under sink water than my Kitchen Defender - effective yet affordable. Learn more about it on my kitchen water filter page.


Independent testing showed total removal of chloramine, chlorine byproducts, and fluoride. Other tests have shown only a reduction of fluoride, which depends entirely on local water chemistry.

The Kitchen Defender water filter is also available with UV light and in a commercial version for use in restaurants, hotels, and businesses.

The Kitchen Defender produces high quality drinking water that is reminiscent of a natural spring water.



"Dear James, Thank you for your prompt attention and service in my recent purchase of a water filter. I am in the customer service profession, so it is especially nice to work with someone who understands what it means to ‘exceed expectations’. You certainly did that for me. I appreciate the knowledge and help you provided me in my unique water situation and could not be more thrilled with the performance of the unit you had custom built for me. I am looking forward to sending all my friends and clients your way as I truly believe pure drinking water is the #1 foundation for good health. Warmest regards,"

Meredith Martin; San Francisco, CA

"I just had my Kitchen Defender under sink water filter installed. It's FANTASTIC! After flushing the system for a good 20+ minutes I am excited to say I LOVE THIS WATER. It is hard to believe that the nasty county water was transformable into such great tasting water. I did a lot of research on choosing the proper water system for my home and really appreciate your approach. It makes sense to buy a system that targets the specific problems of my water rather than a generic system. Thank you for all of your help and fantastic customer service."

Pam Velez, Tampa, FL

Just a note to let you know we got the new carbon filter for our Kitchen Defender. We already had the calcite replacement and I installed them both today with no problems. You had asked about the Ph of the water. I tested it before the replacement and it measured at 6.8. After it tested at 7.6 which is the highest the test kit I have can measure. The water now tastes great again. Thanks.

Duane Orlaske, Windsor, CT

I've been meaning to write and let you know that the water tastes great! The difference in the water is just amazing! We are so happy with the Kitchen Defender under sink water filter, and showers are awesome without feeling like you're in an indoor swimming pool (with the chlorine smell, I mean). Thanks again for all your help! Best wishes,

Monica Ely, Lafayette, CO


Sweetwater's Custom Reverse Osmosis System and Water Purifier:

I sell a 5 stage custom Reverse Osmosis water purifier that I recommend for removing nitrates, removal of some metals including chromium 6, fluoride, arsenic, radioactive metals, and unregulated pharmaceuticals in drinking water.

You may learn more about it on my reverse osmosis system and water purifier page.

Many people object to the use of reverse osmosis because it removes the natural minerals in water along with the contaminants. I invite you to read my article: 'Minerals In Water' to learn why you may need a reverse osmosis system. Really, you have to remove these contaminants and the minerals can be replaced through diet.

Click here to request my Reverse Osmosis System and Water Purifier Specifications and pricing.


"Before getting a whole house water treatment system from Jim, I used a pitcher water filter and would occasionally drink tap water. With my new RO water purifier from Sweetwater, I fill bottles to carry with me wherever I go and LOVE the water! I’m HOOKED on pure clean water and my body can feel the difference!"

Stephen Pierce, Monmouth, OR

"Jim -we did the “water test” and it was a no-contest winner for the RO water! The Urban Defender whole house water filter does a good job but the RO water purifier takes it up another notch to truly, bottled water quality, or should I say better than bottled water?"

Craig Umphrey, Terre Haute, IN


In some cities a whole house water treatment system is all you need. In others, the contaminants in your water require that you have both a whole house water filter and a under sink water filter or water purifier. If you must prioritize for budget reasons, then I suggest you start with the kitchen under sink filter.  Learn more by emailing me for this short discussion:


Equipment for Specific Issues

For people who have a specific home water filtration problem they wish to solve, I provide a full line of high quality water treatment systems to remove iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide odors, neutralize acid water by raising pH, Ultra Violet light for bacterial contamination, arsenic, mercury, nitrate, fluoride or other specific contaminant removal.

You can learn more about many of these water treatment systems on my well water treatment page. I also have a wide variety of water filtration, sediment filters and water softeners.

If you're thinking of buying a water softener, email me for a tip on how to buy the right softener for your needs: How to buy the right water softener or call me and I'll sell you the right one.

The systems I sell uses natural methods to remove specific contaminants. Call me for product details, specifications, and cost. In order to help you with these products we must be able to discuss the details of your water quality. If you have a well, see my well water treatment page. If you have a special water filtration problem, call me to discuss your needs. I also have extensive technical support backing me up so we can be sure to provide you with the whole hose water treatment system that will meet your needs.


Energy and Holistic or Natural Water

For those clients who are interested in a holistic approach and the concept of revitalized or restructured water, I carry the Water Revitalizer. I use this product in my home. The concept behind its design is based on the theories of Viktor Schauberger, an Austrian whose work was published in 1932 and 1933. His theories maintain that water holds an energy in its natural state. If you've ever sat and watched the water in a stream, perhaps you'll agree...the water swirls and turns, always shifting in a circular motion. Schauberger suggests that this natural flow form is eliminated by putting water in pipes and treatment with chemicals such as chlorine. Water with this natural energy is thought by some to be more healthy.


Reading Your Water Report

OK, so I've told you to obtain your water report and perhaps you've done so and you have no idea what it means. You're welcome to call for my free 20 minute phone consultation to figure out what to do. Or, if you plan to purchase equipment from someone else but want my opinion of what to buy, you can pay my consultation fee of $150 for a city water report. (Purchase it here: Water Consultation) and we'll make sure you buy the right system. And for those who want a third option you can listen to a recorded call of me interpreting the Durham, NC water report for a customer here: Reading Your Water Report

NOTE: You are most welcome to email a copy of your water report to me. Be sure to follow up with a phone call so that we may review it together. I will gladly go over it and tell you which whole house water treatment system or under sink water filter I recommend specifically and what they cost. I do not analyze water reports by email as I need additional information from you in order to make a recommendation.

You can email your report to me at


Installation and Service

I work with clients across the country. I represent a variety of manufacturers and assemble custom water treatment systems when appropriate. We'll look at your water report and determine what you need. I won't sell you the wrong product. A licensed plumber can install the equipment I sell. I recommend that you work consistently with one plumber and use that person for all your system maintenance. If there is ever a problem with any of the home water treatment system that I sell you, then I'll work with that plumber and you to resolve it, taking advantage of the manufacturer warranties. This is precisely the same approach that you would use to deal with a water heater or any other fixture in your home.

I provide phone support during installation. I will make myself available to assist you and your plumber and I am most certainly interested and available to aid you should any equipment problems develop in the future. The equipment I sell is intentionally straightforward and not inclined toward operational failure.

Perhaps the number one reason people choose to do business with me is because of my approach. I sell high quality effective water filtration systems to people who want healthy water for their family. Sometimes people still feel that dealing with someone locally can provide them with better product support. It has been my experience that your local provider will often sell you the wrong product for your needs and service will be by someone who knows nothing about the home water filtration system you bought. To think that a local provider is a better choice is truly an illusion. It might have been true at some time in the past, but not anymore. If you find a local person who can provide an equal product and service, use him.

“I am 100% satisfied with your service. A local person would not have done as much. I have to admit that I was concerned, ordering from a person online, giving you my credit card, that the product would show up at all. When it did I could see that the construction of the product is good. The aluminum housing is strong and durable, the UV cylinder is stainless steel, the plastic is schedule 80…this unit will last for a long time. I’m pleased all the way around”

Joe Provenzano, Chalmette, LA


Call me and we'll review your water report and determine what you need. I don't charge for this.

I do charge if you want to call up and use me to provide a second opinion (like going to a second doctor before surgery). I provide a one time consultation by phone for $150. You may find this extremely useful when you are reviewing equipment proposals from local companies. You may ask me questions about your water and if I can help you or direct you to an answer I will.

If you then purchase your whole house water treatment system from me I will deduct this fee from your purchase price. You may purchase a consultation here:

Water Consultation

Purchase the consultation and then call or email me to set up an appointment.

I am also available to solve problems or design water treatment systems for you on a consulting basis. This might be appropriate in the case of problematic water supplies or commercial applications. My fee is $150 per hour with a four hour minimum. This is more typical with private well water or unique commercial appliactions. Call if you'd like to discuss this.

"Jim shows a remarkable interest in improving our water - anybody's water.

He researched my water filtration problem through his own and outside resources and helped me determine what was wrong with my water and what was needed to improve the quality.

Thanks for your help, Jim "

Mary Leathers; Pine Grove, CA


All sales are by phone. I maintain personal contact with every customer. That way I can be certain that you are ordering the correct product. If you want to buy something online, you've come to the wrong place.

The water treatment systems I sell provide the most thorough level of contaminant removal available, using proven technologies. Whatever your situation: appropriately filtered, clean, healthy water is available to you for just pennies a day. You may obtain complete information on pricing and specifications for each of the systems above by emailing me using the appropriate link above.



My Ultimate Guide

I wrote The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect Water Treatment System to aid people in identifying the contaminants in their water and the treatments to remove them.

The guide sells for $14.95 and you may purchase it here:

Purchase my Ultimate Guide


I have a blog where I answer questions posed by clients. A huge number of water quality issues are discussed on this site:


Replacement Filters - if you're a current customer looking to replace your filters you do that by calling me during business hours. I look you up in my files and sell you the correct combination of filters. I have no automated system to do this. By speaking with you the possibility of errors is eliminated.


“Don’t be the best in the world at what you do; be the only one in the world who does what you do.”

~ Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead


What's in YOUR Water?


James P. McMahon ecologist

My name is Jim McMahon and I help people achieve healthy water in their homes.

Let me help you solve the water filtration issues in your home.

"I appreciate your knowledge and passion for what you do and believe in. You analyzed my problem and found a solution. You have gone above and beyond what most companies today provide in customer service. And, all with a smile and can do attitude. You're the greatest!..."

Francine Hughes; Kayenta, UT


When you call, you'll reach me directly.

Together we will solve the water problems in your home.

866-691-4214 (toll-free)


Monday - Friday Try between 9 AM - 6 PM Mountain Time



My Pledge to You:

"Honesty and Integrity in providing what you need, along with good old-fashioned service and values."



The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman - A reminder about what's important



Sweetwater's Custom

Reverse Osmosis System


 Sweetwater's custom reverse osmosis system


Sweetwater's Custom Reverse Osmosis System is designed to provide high purity water


There are situations where the appropriate drinking water treatment consists of reverse osmosis. This is generally due to the presence of pharmaceuticals, radioactive metals, nitrates, arsenic, fluoride, or high levels of total dissolves solids (minerals, aka tds). These contaminants can only be removed by the use of a reverse osmosis system.

I start with a 5 stage NSF certified reverse osmosis system manufactured by Watts Water. I modify this by adding a KDF/catalytic carbon filter to oxidize arsenic 3 and remove chloramine and a calcite filter after the system to raise pH and improve taste. The tds of the reverse osmosis water will be about 30, similar to mountain water in Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, or NYC.

Reverse Osmosis is poorly understood by most consumers and some individuals feel the need to say negative things about the technology. Two issues stand out:

Doesn't a reverse osmosis system 'waste' water?

This is a very human centric view. We only find water to be used efficiently when we pee in it. Reverse Osmosis systems do use more water than simple water filters and have a waste stream. The waste stream cleans the membrane while purified water is being produced. The 'waste water' is carrying the contaminants which you do not want to drink down the drain. The following illustration shows the technology:


Some people object to the use of reverse osmosis systems due to the alleged water 'waste'. My view is that the water is used to provide you with highly purified water for drinking and so it is not wasted anymore than any other water you may use. Your choice is often to either purify the water or drink extremely harmful contaminants. You can read more here. There are tools, such as pumps you can use to reduce the waste water stream but I generally recommend against buying them - because plumbers often install them incorrectly and they add to the complexity of a system that is otherwise pretty simple and easily maintained by a homeowner/consumer.


The second objection relates to the first one. That is, that reverse osmosis water contains no minerals and drinking it will strip minerals from your body. This is nonsense. The body does not work this way. Reverse osmosis systems do remove minerals from water, along with dangerous contaminants. This will result is a sharp, crisp tasting water with low pH. I counter this objection with the addition of a calcite filter that raises the pH, adds alkalinity and a bit of calcium. Minerals in water do not matter. Just think for a minute about the citeis I mentioned above; Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Portland, and Denver all have extremely low levels of minerals and there are no health concerns in those cities that are related to their water.


Still others claim that reverse osmosis water is 'dead'. This is more nonsense. There is no such thing as dead water. Please read my comments on this topic here.


In fact, Sweetwater's customized product provides water with a high level of purity. It eliminates contaminants from your water that ordinary water filters do not. In many situations reverse osmosis water is your only option: either that or continue to drink contaminants in your water that may lead to cancer or other cellular disorders. Please take a moment to read this article about the dangers of drinking water containing pharmaceuticals. Be sure to look at the European studies which show these to affect cell function. Pharmaceuticals in drinking water are not regulated in the United States yet. And they are present in your water anytime your water source is a river with cities upstream.

Sweetwater's custom reverse osmosis system consists of a total of six stages, though I often refer to it as five stages plus calcite filter. This is because almost everyone asks about pH or remineralizing filters so by mentioning it separately I hope to point out that it is included. The stages are as follows:

5 micron sediment filter - removes dirt from pipes

KDF/catalytic carbon - creates an antibacterial environment, oxidizes arsenic 3, and removes chloramine

Coconut carbon block - removes the remaining chlorine and chlorine byproducts

reverse osmosis membrane - this is the actual reverse osmosis process. It removes numerous impurities including metals, nitrates, pharmaceuticals, etc.

The water then goes in to a storage tank which holds up to 3.2 gallons. After leaving the storage tank:

Inline carbon filter - to remove impurities and improve taste

Calcite filter - to raise pH and improve taste

Read my comments on my competitors 'remineralizing filters'.

Sweetwater's custom reverse osmosis system sells for $675 plus shipping.

You may request the specifications for the reverse osmosis system I sell here:

 Send me your reverse osmosis specifications and pricing


Here are two examples of mounting options for Sweetwater's custom reverse osmosis system. The first photo shows a typical under sink installation:



This next photos shows an installation in the basement just below the kitchen sink:


If you're wondering whether you need a reverse osmosis system or a simple water filter stat by looking at your local water report. The contaminants i've mentioned above can only be removed using a reverse osmosis system.


Request my reverse osmosis system specifications and pricing here



My name is James P McMahon and I bring healthy water to people one family at a time


ecologist James P McMahon




9 AM - 5 PM Mountain Time

Monday thru Friday


Sweetwater's Kitchen Defender®

Water Filter

KD kit 2020 web

3 stage Kitchen Defender® water filter


Are you looking for a water filter that is effective at removing the contaminants in your city water? 

Sweetwater's Kitchen Defender water filter is designed to remove the contaminants added by public utilities to otherwise reasonably good water. The 3 stage system will remove chlorine, chloramine and their carcinogenic byproducts, the trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids (look for these in  your local water report), pesticides and other volatile organic compounds (vocs).

Cities add chlorine to water in order to eliminate water borne diseases. When chlorine interacts with organic material in the water (leaves, debris, etc.) it creates a group of carcinogenic compounds known as the trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAA5). An effective filter will remove these carcinogens as well as chlorine. Learn how dangerous these are here.

Some cities are now adding chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, in order to reduce the level of the regulated byproducts (THMs and HAA5s). Unfortunately chloramine creates its own byproducts which are equally toxic but currently unregulated (and therefore not listed in your local water report which you can find here). In any case if your goal is to drink water free of carcinogens then you need a filter that is designed to remove all of them, not just chlorine. Most companies brag about their filter's ability to remove chlorine and fail to mention these other harmful compounds. You need more carbon to remove these chemicals which is why I use a 3 stage system. Some people wonder about having two stages of carbon but I am using different types of carbon in each stage and they are performing different functions. You can read more about this below in my description of each stage.

Many cities also add fluoride. Unless you want to drink fluoride you want to look for a product that claims to remove or reduce fluoride. This metal is difficult to remove and effectiveness can be limited by other characteristics of your water.

Generally unlisted in a water report will be other chemicals added by cities generically refered to as coagulants. These can contain sodium, alumina, ammonia or other chemicals which they will not mention specifically.

The Kitchen Defender water filter is designed to remove these chemicals while leaving in minerals and having no affect on the natural physical characteristics of the water. Physical characteristics include mineral content, alkalinity, hardness, and minerals.

Examples of locations where the Kitchen Defender is ideally suited would be Seattle, San Francisco and East Bay, Portland, Boston, and New York City. Such locations have protected water supplies which are renewed by rain and melted snow. We can check your local water report to see if you can use the Kitchen Defender where you live.

The Kitchen Defender does not remove contaminants such as nitrates, pharmaceuticals, radioactive metals, or high levels of dissolved solids (aka minerals or tds). If your water contains these contaminants you need to use Sweetwater's custom reverse osmosis system which you can see here.

The Kitchen Defender is an effective water filter because it consists of three stages and four technologies as follows:

Stage 1: An alumina oxide filter intended to remove (or reduce) fluoride. It will also reduce arsenic and barium if present. Fluoride is a difficult metal to remove and actual results will depend on factors beyond your control, including the presence of bicarbonate, as well as pH, water temperature, and flow rate.

Stage 2: starts with one pound of high quality KDF® media. KDF consists of copper and zinc granules which create a tiny electrical charge when in solution (water). This electrical charge creates an anti bacterial environment within the filter system. I do this because bacteria tends to build up on granular carbon surfaces. KDF also eliminates selected heavy metals and creates an oxidation/reduction reaction which ionizes the water. The alumina oxide filter does not release aluminum, in case you're wondering, but if it did the KDF would pick it up.

Also in stage 2 is granular catalytic carbon. This is the ONLY carbon that will remove chloramine. GAC filters do not remove chloramine. Catalytic carbon is the most effective carbon on the market.

Stage 3: consists of a coconut carbon filter with 5 micron filtration. This sweetens the taste of the water by polishing it, by that I mean removing any remaining chlorine and chlorine byproducts or pesticides.

Together these combine in a synergistic effect to create the most effective water filter on the market today. Bar none. Customers tell me that their water tastes sweet and delicious. I am quite proud of what I have developed.

Don't be Fooled!

Most single stage and refrigerator water filters only remove chlorine. Water filters are only tested for the removal of chlorine and companies touting thier effectiveness will talk about chlorine removal. Removing chlorine will make the water taste better but it will not make the water healthy to drink.

The Kitchen Defender water filter comes in a kit ready to assemble. The system also includes its own separate faucet as treated water is delivered to a drinking water faucet that is separate from your regular kitchen faucet.


The Kitchen Defender fits under your sink, connects to your cold water supply and delivers filtered water it's own designated faucet. You can see it here:

Kitchen Defender water filter


The under sink dimensions are 17" long, 13" tall, and 6" wide and easily fits under any sink.

For detailed specifications and pricing please request them here:

Yes! Send me your Kitchen Defender specifications


When choosing a water filter to treat city water with chlorine or chloramine and fluoride, the Kitchen Defender is an excellent choice. It is reasonably priced and effective at removing the contaminants added by cities in their attempt to protect you. The Kitchen Defender is far more effective than single stage filters which may remove chlorine and make the water taste better but they will not remove the other carcinogens in city water, including the trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, both of which require more contact time with the filter media (carbon) to acheive removal.

Request my specifications today and you'll be quite please with the results.

My name is James P McMahon

and I provide healthy water one family at a time

All orders are by phone


9 AM - 6 PM, Mountain Time

Monday thru Friday



Only natural, only the best



My Bottled Water Review

This is a list of the bottled water I would personally choose to drink when traveling.

First and foremost I recommend that you drink bottled water that comes from the region in which you live.  This eliminates excessive energy costs associated with transportation.

Next, I recommend natural spring water that has certain physical characteristics that I think are healthy.  To compile this list I have reviewed each of the company’s water quality analyses and looked for contaminants I would be concerned about.  Absent these, I look at pH, which in my view would ideally be 7.2 or higher (up to a point) and total dissolved solids (TDS) which in my view should be between 30 and 220.

Finally, if you can find a local spring water packaged in glass then I think that is better than plastic.  The benefit of plastic and the reason it has become so common is that it lightens the payload of the trucks that move the product around, thus saving transportation energy.  And it doesn’t break.  Still, glass won’t leach chemicals into your water.  Plastic might.  Pthalates and Bisphenol-A may leach from plastic bottles.  These contaminants should be taken seriously and drinking water from plastic bottles should be limited. To be on the safe side, keep any water bottled in plastic out of the heat.  In my view, low pH increases the likelihood of leaching.

There are numerous criticisms of bottled water and in particular water bottled in plastic.  I think that bottled water has an appropriate role when traveling and in a few other instances.  These suggestions are not meant as an endorsement of bottled water or to belittle the criticism, though some of the criticisms are exaggerated or biased.  Drinking bottled water is a lot better for you than drinking soft drinks.

The following are spring waters that I recommend you drink when traveling:


Northeast –


Summit Spring – Natural Maine Spring Water – apparently this water is untreated in any way.  The test results show a pH of 6, which is low, and a tds of 59.


Poland Spring Natural Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, bottled from springs in Maine. pH may be acidic to slightly alkaline. TDS is low.

Nestle Bottled Water Brands



East and Southeast –


Deer Park Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, was originally bottled from a spring in Deer Park, MD, but is now bottled from springs ranging from Maine to Florida and Tennessee.  pH is acidic to alkaline. TDS is good. Nitrates are marginal in one or more of the sources.





Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, bottled from 3 springs in Florida. pH is alkaline. Tds is good.  Nitrates are marginal at 2.1 in one of the sources.



South – Georgia and Alabama


Springtime Artesian Water – apparently still a relatively small bottled water company, Southern Beverage Packers, Inc. in Appling, Georgia, bottled from ‘the deep crystalline rock aquifer’ in the Appalachian Foothills.  They provided me a test (via snail mail) which shows a pH of 6.5 and tds of 120.  Traces of fluoride, manganese, and barium.



South/Midwest –


Mountain Valley Spring Water – bottled in glass, originates from springs in Arkansas. pH is alkaline (8) with a tds of 220. pH is a tad high.

Based on their water quality report and glass packaging they would receive my highest rating.


Ice Mountain Spring Water – originates in a variety of springs in MI, PA, MD, and TN.  pH varies from acidic at 6.2 to alkaline at 8.2. TDS varies from 40 to 230.  These characteristics are all acceptable although it would be nice to have a specific report for each local source.



Upper Midwest –


Arctic Sol – originates from springs in Jackson County, MI.  A family owned business. pH is 7.2 and tds is 320 (somewhat high).   More info at:



Rocky Mountain States –


Biota Colorado Pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water, sourced from a spring outside of Ouray, Colorado. pH is 7.3, TDS is 200, calcium and sulfates are a tad high but Biota gets my highest rating.


Eldorado Natural Spring Water, sourced from a spring in Elodorado Canyon outside of Denver, pH of 7.2, TDS of 88, would qualify this water for my highest rating except that it is bottled in plastic.


AquaVista - owned by Aqua Vista Bottling Company in Worland WY. Water is from an artesion well at the base of the Big Horn Mountains. I'd seen a water report in the past that made me decide to add it to this list but I do not find it now on their website.





Ozarka Spring Water, now owned by Nestle’, bottled from a number of springs in east Texas. pH is low, tds is good, nitrates are borderline at 2.0 in some of these sources.



California –


Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, originally bottled from springs in the San Bernadino mountains, but now sourcing from numerous springs in California. pH is slightly acidic to alkaline and TDS ranges from low to 260, which is slightly high.    


Northwest -


Earth H2O, owned by Sweetwater Co Inc, a small business based in Culver, OR. Water is bottled from Opal Springs. pH is 8.2, so alkaline, and TDS is 100. Distribution region is the Northwest. The water is in 100% recycled PET bottles that we produce here at Earth2o.



Notes to the Reader:

I have not been paid to develop this list. 

The Nestle’ company owns a number of the bottled waters I recommend due to their having purchased independent brands over the years.

Water reports for bottled waters by Nestle’:

While this is unfortunate it has nothing to do with the quality of the water and therefore has not influenced my selection. I am not endorsing Nestle' or any other company or thier practices. What I am doing is letting you know which bottled waters I would drink based entirely on their contents.

Another company, DS Waters, has also been buying up local spring water companies. Unfortunately I’ve called this company at least a half dozen times and can only reach a salesman.  They have one generic report for all of their bottled water and are apparently incapable of providing greater detail. Therefore I am unable to recommend any of their brands even though some might be good.

The idea of bottled water has been criticized heavily by some environmental groups including Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  Both of these groups exaggerate greatly the alleged dangers of drinking bottled water and have really scared the public into thinking it is dangerous.  Bottled water is rigorously tested and generally safer to drink than tap water, which is carcinogenic. My view is these groups should focus on criticizing soft drinks which really are harmful to your health.

Drinking bottled water is expensive both economically and environmentally.  I only drink bottled water when I travel and then only when I don’t take my filtered water from home with me.  It is for this reason that I have provided you with this brief guide on the waters I would select myself.

There are numerous bottled waters.  If a particular brand is not on this list, then I do not recommend that you buy it.  If you know of a brand that you think should be on the list you can email me the link to its water quality report and I’ll consider adding it unless I’ve already considered it but I don't have time to respond to individual queries about bottled water. In my view the best water is appropriately filtered water from your tap. 

Here is a more detailed description of the differences between various types of bottled water. I use these criteria in determining what I recommend:


Which Bottled Water Is The Best?


I don't take American Express