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If your water source is a river and there are cities upstream of where you live, then it is very likely that you are drinking water that contains trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. Studies have shown that these can form a toxic mix of chemicals that affect human cell growth. And one chemical, methadone, can turn into cancer causing NDMA at levels that may cause cancer.


People call me every day to review their water reports and discuss the type of water purification system they may need. i base my recommendations on local water reports because, in my view it is the only way to know what you need. Some people call and say they want to remove everything, but 'everything' may or may not be in your water. To buy the correct water filter for your home it is advisable to start by studying your local water source. And that is the first thing I look for in a water report. Where is your water coming from? Water comes from mountains, it comes from lakes, it comes from rivers, and it comes from wells. Each of these sources has a different set of issues.

This article discusses the issue of river water.

If your water source is a river and there are cities upstream of you then there are trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in your water. Because these amounts are very low, at present the government considers them to be of little consequence to your health. However, a number of studies now contradict this and suggest that even trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in drinking water can affect human cell growth. This illustration highlights the problem:

Drugs in Drinking Water, Pharmaceuticals in Water


This is a serious national issue...not to be taken lighly. When your water source is a river and there are cities upstream then I recommend you use reverse osmosis at the kitchen sink to remove these contaminants.


Cities with pharmaceuticals in water


Read this article. If this is true in Puget Sound then it is likely true in cities across America whose water source is river water where there are cities upstream. This study finds 81 unregulated contaminants entering Puget Sound from waster water treatment plants:

You can check out these studies showing the impact of this mix of pharmaceuticals on cell function for yourself:

How Meds In Water Can Impact Human Cells:

Drugs In Our Drinking Water:

Scientists Trace Cancer Causing Chemical:

Scientits Say 60% of Male Fish Bear Eggs:

Another serious issue on rivers in agricultural areas is the presence of numerous unregulated pesticides. Because these chemicals are not regulated, just like the pharmaceuticals, they don't show up in your local water report. But studies have shown them to be present in every river in the midwest so you can assume they are present...because they are.

Pesticides block male hormones:

Unregulated Pesticides found in midwestern rivers:


James P McMahon at Zion National Park

My name is Jim McMahon and I bring healthy water to one family at a time.

Call and you'll reach me directly


9 AM to 6 PM Mountain Time


ecologist James P McMahon


James P McMahon

Bringing You Healthy Water

Water softening is something I only recommend when it seems an absolute necessity … I do offer water softeners and scale reducing equipment. Unlike traditional water softener sales people I do not believe that softening is critical at low levels of hardness. In fact, I like hard water. Hardness consists of calcium and magnesium and generally results in an off white colored build up on fixtures or spotting on glass.

Traditionally water with a hardness of 5 grains would lead to a recommendation of softening. My threshold is 15 grains. At that level or higher I don’t think you have any choice but to manage water hardness because it will be damaging.

Water softeners use salt, either sodium or potassium chloride, to cleanse a resin bead media. The resin attracts calcium ions and releases sodium into your water. A backwash then cleanses the resin replacing the calcium with more sodium and washing the calcium and the chloride down the drain. Water softeners will also remove magnesium, iron, and manganese at very low levels. I do not use water softeners to treat iron.

My water softener is constructed to match my Urban Defender whole house water filter:



Urban Defender on the left and water softener with salt bin on the right in photo above. Prices start at $1372.


Many people buy the wrong water softener and are then disappointed with the results. You have to match the capacity of the softener to the hardness of your water. You may request my short paper on this topic here: How to Buy the Right Water Softener.


There is both consumer and environmental pressure to move away from water softeners to systems which don’t use salt. I’ve tried a number of these and found that most don’t work. But a review of a study by ASU that compared various systems led me to start selling the Scalenet system by Watts Water. The technology is proprietary so I don’t at this time know exactly how it works but the basic idea is this: the calcium is not removed but somehow modified so that it is less likely to stick on fixtures and more readily removed by cleaning. The system is very low maintenance with media being replaced every three years. Of course this depends on water use and is only an estimate.


Urban Defender and Scalenet:



Urban Defender on the left with Scalenet on the right in photo above

Prices start at $1118 plus shipping for a single family 4 person home.


As always, any sales with me are by phone so you can call to place an order.

 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

I take weekends off


My Pledge to You:

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


Bud Booster Water Filter


Bud Booster water filters for home and grower

The Bud Booster water filter will enhance the growth of flowering plants by eliminating chloramine and fluoride*.


I’m excited to bring you a brand new filter designed specifically for the horticulture industry.

Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia used by an increasing number of cities to disinfect drinking water. It is thought to interfere with plant growth and may cause necrosis in leaves Like chlorine, it kills bacteria and will therefore kill microorganisms in soil. Both chlorine and chloramine also produce carcinogenic byproducts that may also affect plant growth and/or be absorbed within the plant.

Fluoride is known to inhibit phosphorous uptake in plants at levels typical in public water supplies. So by reducing or eliminating fluoride you can increase the size of your flowers. There is extensive research on this issue within the horticulture industry.

Many flower production facilities and greenhouses use reverse osmosis systems to remove both chloramine and fluoride. Unlike reverse osmosis the Bud Booster has no waste water. It filters all of the water as it passes from source to plants.

The first Bud Booster was put into production in June (2014) and the result was a 33% increase in flower weight compared to one of the most popular chloramine filters.

The Bud Booster is intended for use where the water source is surface water and the total dissolved solids content is below 300 ppm.


Click here to request specifications for Bud Booster - please specify which system you are inquiring about.


Bud Booster for Home Grower $350.

This system is intended for the horticulturist to use at home in a small greenhouse. It uses 1/4" tubing and flows are a rate of 1 gpm:

Bud Booster water filter for home


Bud Booster for Retail Grower: $450

This system is intended for a small commercial horticulturist or farmer with a large greenhouse. It uses 3/8" tubing and provides filtered water at a rate of 3 – 5 gpm:

Bud Booster water filter for grower


Commercial Bud Booster System - I can provide custom systems for warehouse growers to provide pretty much any desired flow rate. The system pictures provides up to 10 gpm of filtered water.
This photo illustrates both fluoride and chloramine filter systems. Call to discuss.


Commercial Bud Booster System, for chloramine and flouride removal


As with all of my water purification systems it is best to first locate your local water report and then call me to determine which system will suit your needs. Using this approach we can be sure we're providing you with the highest level of appropriately filtered water.

* Fluoride removal can be dependent on local water conditions including the presence of bicarbonates. Flow rate is another critical factor.


The Best Home Water Purificaiton System

Do you want the best, most effective home water purification available anywhere?

For the higheest level of protection available against the many contaminants in city water I recomend this combination of treatments:

Sweetwater's Urban Defender with pre-filter: $1800.

Whole house fluoride filter: $350.

Whole house zeolyte filter: $325.

Custom reverse osmosis for the kitchen sink: $451.



Sweetwater's Urban Defender with catalytic carbon and 5 micron pre-filter

 Sweetwater's Urban Defender


Sweetwater's 5 stage custom reverse osmosis plus calcite to raise pH:







Purchase the most effective home water purification system by first learning which contaminants are in your water


If you're serious about having healthy water in your home...

You need help determining which Home Water Purification System removes the contaminants in YOUR water


Water - you drink and bathe in it every day. Your health depends on it. And yet, until now, you've taken it for granted, assumed it was good, or relied on those who told you it was safe. Unfortunately, it's not...


Here you are, searching the internet to learn what you can about home water purification systems and finding out that it's very confusing. Every site claims to have the best home water purification system and you don't know how to tell fact from fiction. There's this technology and that technology and high prices and low prices and you can't tell one from the other. You have no way of knowing which home water purification system you need. Perhaps you've called a local company and don't know what to make of that experience.


Sweetwater LLC provides custom home water purification systems for the health conscious water consumer. An ecologist with more than 30 years experience working in environmental science, Sweetwater founder James P. McMahon specializes in water quality and designing systems for the discerning health conscious consumer. Based on the premise that water purification systems must vary according to where a person lives as well as the contaminants present in the water, Sweetwater is committed to creating custom solutions. We start by identifying the contaminants in your water specifically (not all water sources are the same) and then I advise  you which of my systems will remove that group of contaminants.

Making right decisions in selecting a water filtration system for your home from a science-based skill set is the Sweetwater advantage.


You Need Someone You Can Trust

I am James P McMahon, an ecologist with over 30 years experience dealing with environmental issues, including a great deal of work on water quality, river restoration, and home water purification systems. It is my work with rivers that led me to understand the extent to which we've polluted our drinking water and to help people like you achieve healthy water. Even if you studied your water issues extensively, you are still likely to buy the wrong water filtration system for your home. To make the right choice you have to choose the person or company you trust. I help you make the best choice for your family.


I separate fact from fiction and my work is rooted in science.


Whether you’re looking for a whole house water filter, a water purifier, a filter for city or well water, or you’re just trying to figure out what’s wrong with your water, I can help..

I work with customers throughout the United States. My approach is to identify the contaminants in your water and then prescribe the proper water filters. Sometimes a whole house water filter is needed and other times a simple kitchen water filter will suffice. Most often you need both because each may remove a different set of contaminants. Either way, I will work to make sure we meet your needs within your budget. My focus is on providing healthy water for your family. Learn more about my services below. If you are outside of the United States I cannot help you due to the high cost of shipping.



Here are 3 ways I can help you...

If you are on public water: first find and email me your local water report and then call me and we’ll review your water report and determine which of the systems I sell will best meet your Kitchen Defender® water filter is the best kitchen water filter you can buy and my whole house Urban Defender® is more effective than popular systems that cost four times as much. I have developed these using the most current and effective technologies. They are both custom built to my specification - and can even be modified just for you! And both are far superior to the cheap upflow systems offered at lowered prices. Don't be fooled! Request my specifications and study the differences.

If you have a private well: our process starts when you call me to purchase a well water test. Once we determine what's in your water we can discuss which well water filtration system or well water filter will resolve those issues. If you've already had your well water tested, call me with that test in hand to learn what well water purification system or well water filter you need.

You can purchase my Ultimate Guide and determine what type of filtration you need all on your own...


Home Water Purification Systems

I work with numerous manufacturers and carry a number of high quality products that address most water quality issues for city or well water. I have whole house systems, drinking water filters and reverse osmosis filters. My Urban Defender® whole house water filtration system and Kitchen Defender® water filter are incredible products at a great price and they can be modified just for you. I provide the highest quality reverse osmosis system . that can be modified if necessary. This ability to modify components enables me to provide you with the best water purification system for your water while meeting your personal goals.


Click on the links to the right to learn more about the complete line of home water purification systems, air purifiers, and services I provide.


You won't find a shopping cart for equipment on this site. I deal with every customer individually ... by phone. That way I make certain that you buy exactly what you need. You can either call me, or request specifications and pricing by email from the links on the water and air purification pages. I'll gladly email you greater detail on the products that interest you. I will only make a recommendation when we are speaking on the phone while reviewing your local water report together.


The Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect Water Treatment System helps you make the right decision. You may purchase my Ultimate Guide for just $14.95. If you follow my Five Steps to Pure Water as outlined in the Ultimate Guide, you'll know that you're buying the home water purification system that solves your problems and achieves your goals - resulting in the perfect system for you! Even people overseas are welcome to purchase my guide.

I Guarantee It!

At $14.95 my Ultimate Guide is a bargain and the best place to start.

Purchase The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect Water Treatment System

It's no longer reasonable to assume that you can rely on government agencies to provide you with healthy water at the tap. If you want healthy water for your family, you must take responsibility for treating it yourself. The mistake most people make is to buy a water filter without first learning what's in their water. Before you go out and buy anything you need to know what you're trying to achieve. I have seen local equipment sales people confuse consumers with water tests that confound even me. By knowing what's in your water and setting your goals you can avoid the confusion.

Read the Ultimate Guide. My Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect Water Treatment System walks you through an easy, five step process, Five Steps to Healthy Water, during which you learn the candid truth about your water and what you can do to make the best decisions to protect your family.


Before you purchase owe it to yourself to make sure you're making the right decision.

My Commitment to You

My commitment is to always come from a place of integrity. I will never sell anyone anything they don't need. I'll always suggest a lower priced option if it will accomplish your goals. And I am committed to a life of principle in which my role is to make the world a better, healthier place to live one person and one family at a time...




Regardless of your need, you can count on me.


What's in YOUR Water?

water purification systems, home water purification systems, water filter, healthy water

James P. McMahon, ecologist

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

When you call, you'll reach me directly.


Together, we will solve the water issues in your home.


I look forward to hearing from you!

866-691-4214 (toll-free)


OPEN 11am EST/8am PST

970-259-2171 (direct)


"Do what you do so well - and so uniquely - that people can't resist telling others about you."

- Walt Disney


I don't take American Express