Source of Volatile Organic Compounds in Water: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a general term for chemical compounds that come from different sources. VOCs 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 VOCs as are some pesticides. MTBE and benzene are two VOCs that can be found in drinking water.
Symptoms of VOCs: There are lots of different VOCs, and each one can have different health effects on humans. Carbon tetrachloride increases the risk for liver cancer. 1,2 Dichloroethane is also a carcinogen. Benzene can cause anemia, and trichloroethylene causes kidney and immune system problems. Most VOCs 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 VOCs.
Filtration Solutions for VOCs: The best choice for removal of volatile organic compounds is Activated Carbon Filtration. The absorption 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 compounds.