When learning of the presence of arsenic in the water of a home that one is about to purchase, some disappointment and anxiety is expected. That is followed by a period of research, which is often followed by a negotiation process. The negotiation may be between two people in a couple (if applicable) if they have differing desires. It could also be between the seller and the buyer about who is going to pay for what kind of treatment.
One of the big decision points is whether to treat for the whole house water or to treat the drinking water at the kitchen sink and refrigerator, and/or bathroom. This decision is often more emotional than scientific, which is OK because many purchase decisions are, but it is important to understand all the future ramifications of this decision.
The health impacts of arsenic at the levels commonly found in the Northeast are associated with ingesting the arsenic, not absorption through the skin. Many studies back this up. The health risk that is present is the result of long-term ingestion of contaminated water, not just a glass here and there.
For more detailed information on the health risks of arsenic in the water listen to the New Hampshire Public Radio piece highlighted in this post, and take a look at the EPA’s information on arsenic in drinking water.
Homebuyers will often request or demand whole house treatment because they have a negative response to the idea of bathing in water with arsenic in it. They especially worry about the exposure of children, and this is understandable.
Whole House Treatment
The important thing to remember about a whole-house treatment system is that it processes thousands of gallons of water, and looks for parts per billion of a contaminant. Keeping the whole-house arsenic below 10-parts-per-billion takes several treatment steps and a fair amount of maintenance. This system treats all the water used in laundry and to flush toilets. A price is paid in order to obtain the emotional benefits of removing arsenic from all the water used in the home.
Point of Use Treatment
A point of use system treats only the water that matters, and only at any point where consumption is likely to occur. A properly chosen point of use system is extremely reliable over the very long term, with very little maintenance. The trade-off is that children should be trained to use the Reverse Osmosis (treatment) faucet for drinking, and there may be some negative emotion associated with knowing the arsenic still exists in the home.
The ultimate correct choice is different for every person or family, but should be made after clearly understanding both approaches. We are here to help. Contact us today and we will help you navigate the entire process and help put your mind at ease.