Source of Volatile Organic Compounds in Water: Volatile organic compounds (VOC's) is a general term for chemical compounds that come from different sources. VOC's are man-made, and when they are found in water it is often a sign of a chemical spill or industrial pollution from a manufacturing site. Chlorinated solvents and fuel components are included in VOC's as are some pesticides. MTBE and benzene are two VOC's that can be found in drinking water.
Symptoms of VOC's: There are lots of different VOC's, and each one can have different health effects on humans. Carbon tetrachloride increases the risk for liver cancer. 1,2 Dischloroethane is also a carcinogen. Benzene can cause anemia, and trichloroethylene causes kidney and immune system problems. Most VOC's are carcinogens, and have serious health effects. The EPA has strict maximum contaminant levels for many of them. Well owners may be especially at risk as they must test for the presence of VOC's.
Filtration Solutions for VOC's: The best choice for removal of volatile organic chemicals is Activated carbon filtration. The adsorption capacity of the carbon will vary with each type of VOC. The carbon manufacturers can run computer projections on many of these chemicals and give an estimate as to the amount of VOC which can be removed before the carbon will need replacement. Aeration may also be used alone or in conjunction with the activated carbon filters. Reverse Osmosis Water Systems will remove 70 to 80% of the VOCs in the water. Electrodialysis and Ultrafiltration are also capable of reducing volatile organic chemicals.
The Watercheck includes a 75 item check for: Bacteria (presence/absence of coliform and E.coli) (4) Trihalomethanes (5) Other inorganic chemicals (5) Physical characteristics (15) Heavy metals and minerals and (44) Volatile organic chemicals...