Things to Check on Your Refilled Water Bottle
Water refilling stations are becoming a common fixture in almost every community, especially in the metro. About 60% of households in the Philippines get their water from these refilling stations, according to surveys.
If we look at it based on each refilling station’s purification process, their water is safe enough. Reverse osmosis, distillation, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, and other technical terms give us the re-assurance that the water is safe.
But no matter how advanced the technology is, we can never be sure of water safety. This is not because their purification process is lacking, but because our suki water refillers are likely doing a lot of things wrong.
To ensure the safety for the whole family, here’s what to check when you get your refill water bottle at home:
1. What does the refilling station look like?
Water refilling stations need a Sanitary Permit to operate, but this isn’t just about their filters and purifiers. Sanitation also includes how they maintain the equipment, workstations, and containers.
Most contamination happens not inside the tanks, but outside. Your suki refilling station should keep their counters, equipment, and other surfaces clean. Having dirty grout, dusty countertops, and even unclean floors should raise a few red flags about how your container is being handled.
2. Are the staff wearing protective gear?
It’s common to see the personnel at our local water refilling stations wearing casual clothes, if not pambahay. But according to Department of Health standards, they should be wearing a set of protective gear.
They should be wearing face masks, scrub suits, an apron, and gloves. This is to minimize human contact, which then minimizes risks of contamination.
3. Is it really clean?
The plastic, light blue containers must be properly sanitized before refilling—that is, these undergo sterilization and must be washed without detergent or dishwashing soaps (as what happens at most refilling stations). The same goes for the caps and spout, if applicable.
Moreover, it’s not enough to just blast the inside of the container with high-pressure water to clean it. Sterilization is really the best approach to this.
4. Is it sealed?
As with most labels, do not accept your refilled container if the seal is broken. A broken seal means it could have been tampered with. Most of us, however, will just let it go as we don’t want to be a burden to others.
It’s important to be picky when it comes to your drinking water, though. For an unsealed container, the cap could pop out any time during delivery, which could pose contamination risks. If you have the container with a spout, its tap should also be sealed to avoid contact with human hands and other contaminants.
5. Does it smell clean?
We’re not talking about smelling chlorine or bleach. But you’d know what fresh, purified water smells like.
Certain water (often depending on your area) needs trace amounts of chlorine to guard against bacteria. While this is acceptable based on health standards, it could still pose a problem in the long run.
Also, most filtered water still contains microorganisms and minerals. If stored for a long time, it could give off an unfamiliar scent.
As a general rule, if your drinking water smells like anything other than fresh or odorless, you might want to throw it out.
6. Is it dusty?
Your water should be delivered as soon as possible after refilling. The more time the container spends sitting in a corner, on the floor, or on an open sidecar or mini truck bed, the higher the risk for contamination.
This isn’t just about contact with human hands, but also air pollutants. Dust, smoke, and other debris are all possible contaminants that can get into your water. This scenario also points out another common mistake by refilling stations: containers should be stored and delivered in sanitized transports, not bikes or other similar open-air vehicles.
7. Is it warm/hot?
Heat, water and plastic do not mix. This is why a lot of food and drink products say these should be kept away from direct sunlight or should be kept in a cool, dry place.
Some plastic containers could release certain chemicals when heated, which then goes to the water. Sunlight and water could also encourage bacteria growth.
Spilling the Bad Water
As consumers, we can demand sanitary permits and monthly lab results from water refilling stations. You know your suki can be trusted if they have a track record of consistently complying with all requirements and standards set by the DOH and other concerned agencies. Also, if the refilling station is not clean, that should already tell you something about how they operate.
As an answer to this need for a safer, more reliable source, we have recently introduced the Pureit water purifier that gives you back the control over your water source. Being an in-home purifier system, you control how the equipment is used, managed, and cleaned, and how water is purified.
When it comes to your family’s safety, they say you can never be too sure. With Pureit, now you can.