The Future of Drinking Water Systems

Oct. 3, 2009
Will they be filtration systems or appliances?

About the author: Frank A. Brigano, Ph.D., is vice president, technology for KX Technologies, LLC. Brigano is a member of the Water Quality Products Editorial Advisory Board. He can be reached at 203.799.9000 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Thomas A. Burke is product/marketing manager for KX Technologies, LLC. Burke can be reached at 203.799.9000 or by e-mail at [email protected].


Unless you are new to the water filtration industry, you are probably familiar with standard point-of-entry (POE) filtration housings. Commonly found in basements, utility rooms, garages or closets, these filtration housings are plumbed into the point of entry where a water line comes into a home or building. These units serve to provide filtration for water so that contaminants such as sediment, rust and chlorine taste and odor can be reduced from the main water supply.

Customers for years have been choosing a better solution. One of the first major trends along this line was to move filtration systems to the point of use (POU), often undersink locations in kitchens. More conveniently located for consumers and in a much cleaner environment, an undersink system puts filtration near the source.

While such a placement does not allow for whole-house filtration, it does serve to provide filtered drinking water where many choose to fill their drinking glasses—at the kitchen sink.

This undersink filtration system offers quarter-turn encapsulated filters for easy filter change-outs—no special tools are required and no housings are filled with water to spill as you change the filters. Placed under kitchen sinks where most consumers access water on a daily basis, the sleek design and wealth of features makes drinking water filtration a convenient and easy option for nearly everyone.

The most significant recent trend driving drinking water filtration systems has been designing these systems directly into the appliances where consumers use drinking water. They are no longer relegated to utility rooms or basements. In fact, drinking water filtration systems often drive the design choices that consumers make when they consider product upgrades or home remodeling. Such systems can be located where consumers store food, ice and cold water or in a refrigerator such as those manufactured by Sub-Zero of Madison, Wis., which feature technologically advanced microbiological drinking water filtration systems that offer 99.9999% bacteria reduction, 99.99% virus reduction and 99.95% cyst reduction using an extruded carbon block filter. This refrigerator filter will also reduce chlorine taste and odor, lead and volatile organic compounds.

Customer Convenience

Other systems can be conveniently located at consumers’ fingertips—at the end of a faucet, on a countertop or as a stand-alone unit providing filtered drinking water quickly and easily. The Tami4 plumbed-in water cooler is designed and manufactured by TANA Water of Israel. This water cooler unit features one of the highest-quality water filtration systems on the market, saves consumers the trouble of handling water cooler bottles, provides a range of cold and hot water options, occupies a compact space and features outstanding design and consumer-friendly options in a variety of designer color choices.

If the drinking water filtration system is designed to be plumbed into a location such as a utility room, new design concepts no longer have to mean messy filter change-outs or unappealing designs. The central water filtration system from EcoWater of Woodbury, Minn., features beautiful styling, is maintenance free, has a programmable high-flow backwash feature and media designed to last 12 to 15 years.

Water Systems of the Future

Concepts are being developed for drinking water filtration systems in automobiles, which would collect outside air and water, run it though filtration systems and deliver it to drivers, chilled, at the dashboard. And of course, on-the-go bottles with filtration systems offer consumers instant portability with their choice of filtration options. The future of drinking water treatment systems is advanced technologies in designer packaging.

Drinking water treatment systems that are either integrated into appliances or as stand-alone appliances have already heavily penetrated the consumer market. Product design and functionality are no longer second to product performance; in a consumer’s mind, product design often takes first precedence for purchasing decisions and may even reshape product performance definitions.

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