Frequently Asked Questions About General Ecology Drinking Water Systems.
Does this system remove Covid 19?
General Ecology’s proprietary water purification technology have been independently tested and documented to meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) microbiological standards for drinking water purifiers, which encompass pathogenic cysts, bacteria and viruses.
Customers have been using our systems to protect their health and enhance the quality of their drinking water for over 45 years in residential, commercial, recreational and emergency preparedness situations.
According to EPA, CDC and WHO guidance, the risk of COVID-19 virus in drinking water is low. However, homeowners who are concerned about pathogens such as viruses in drinking water may consider approaches that remove bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, including certified home treatment devices.1
General Ecology’s purification systems continue to be an important component in protecting and enhancing the quality of your water for drinking, food and beverage preparation and personal hygiene.
1 EPA.gov. 2020. Corona Virus in Drinking Water and Wastewater
Are General Ecology Drinking Water Purification Systems NSF certified for lead removal?
Seagull®IV Select and Nature Pure® Select systems provides NSF-certified water treatment options designed to tackle specific contamination issues. Building on General Ecology’s long-standing excellence in water filtration and purification, Select provides performance certified by NSF International. Please note that Select systems are for use with microbiologically safe water sources.
How can I tell if my drinking water really is safe?
There are so many different types of contaminants that it is impossible to be completely sure on all possibilities. You can, however, have your water tested for bacteriological safety and for specific contaminants. The NORS (National Organics Reconnaissance Survey) showed that essentially all treated water supplies have at least trace amounts of chemical contaminants, such as THM’s, present. More importantly, Giardia and Cryptosporidia pose very serious health threats with more cases of illness occurring in “city” water than in the wilderness. There is no known treatment except prevention for many of these problems.
What can I do about my drinking water?
You can filter or purify your own water at the point and time of use, or you can purchase bottled water. General Ecology Drinking Water Systems are economical to purchase and operate, simple to install and convenient to use.
What is a Seagull® IV Drinking Water Purification System, and what is it supposed to do?
Simply stated, the Seagull® IV Systems is a truly unique, compact, point-of-use appliance designed to change virtually any treatable non-salted water into delicious drinking water that is both safe and enjoyable to consume.
Because the Seagull® IV unit was developed with aircraft, yachting, and recreational vehicle applications in mind, it is especially rugged, dependable, simple, and easily serviced. It requires no additions of chemicals and no electricity. The Seagull® IV is a chemical free drinking water purification system.
What is the “Structured Matrix™” and how does it work?
There are three mechanisms which work simultaneously and synergistically to give the systems outstanding effectiveness over a broad range of contaminants. These mechanisms are (1) ultra-fine submicron filtration, (2) molecular capture and broad-spectrum absorption and (3) electrochemical separations, incorporated into a “Structured Matrix™” to provide uniform flow and reliability and to prevent channeling.
The first mechanism strains bacteria, Giardia, Cryptosporidia, and other larger organisms and particle matter from the influent water, much like a window screen keeps flies from entering the house.
The second mechanism is an integration of pharmaceutical grade, high quality adsorption and molecular sieving materials into the microstructure for high efficiency in removing trichloroethylene, PCB’s, pesticides, herbicides and many other commercial contaminants.
The third mechanism consists of negative and positive electro-attractive forces, which are permanently induced into the matrix to attract even smaller particles that cannot be removed by microfiltration alone. Because of its unique microstructure matrix in combination with organic removal mechanisms, the Seagull® IV cartridge does not have the pathogenic bacteria buildup problems common to GAC, carbon block, extruded carbon and other coarser charcoal filters.
To our knowledge, General Ecology’s “Structured Matrix™” is the only technology formally certified to meet the EPA Standard for “purification” to protect against cysts, bacteria and viruses instantly without multiple pass through, added chemicals, electricity or hold time.
Isn’t it necessary to add chemicals to destroy bacteria and viruses?
Normally, yes. Chlorine, bromine, iodine, ozone and sometimes silver and other pesticides (economic poisons) are frequently used in efforts to destroy bacteria and viruses. Because it is General Ecology’s goal to remove chlorine and other economic poisons, it simply makes no sense to add even more of them during the so-called purification process. The Seagull® IV system does not rely on chemicals and is well known as the ecologically friendly, chemical free water purifier!
How do I know when I need to change the cartridge?
Relative to particular matter, including bacteria, algae, cysts and other sediment, the cartridge microstructure will load up and clog, resulting in a flow rate which will decline and eventually stop. The cartridge should also be changed when saturation from certain chemical contaminants such as hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur forms, tannin, lignin, and some other offensive materials of this type are evidenced by foul tastes, odors, or colour in your drinking water. We recommend also that the cartridge should be changed at least annually to prevent over accumulation of chemical contaminants such as EDB, PCB’s, TCE’s and so forth (since many of these chemicals are otherwise odorless and tasteless). If in doubt, please consult your General Ecology distributor or the company directly for advice. Cartridge life varies from area to area depending upon the amount and characteristics of the contamination in the water and the water usage rate. In Los Angeles, for example, a six-month life for a cartridge serving a family of five for normal drinking and other food uses is an acceptable capacity. In Philadelphia, New York, and other locations where the water is less loaded with particulate matter, a life of approximately one year can be expected.
Can I change the cartridge myself?
Cartridges are easily changed by the homeowner. Complete instructions are packed with each cartridge. No tools are required.
What bacteria should I be aware of in my drinking water, and what happens to them after they’re removed by the Seagull® IV or Nature Pure® system?
Fortunately, there are only a few strains of bacteria you normally need to be concerned about relative to drinking water. These are salmonella, of which S. typhosa, or typhoid fever, bacteria is the best known, shigella, which causes diarrhea and cramping, the dreaded cholera of the Middle Ages and some foreign countries at the present time, and the well-known E. coli. Additionally, some bacteria, such as campylobacter jejeuni, which formerly were considered to be non-pathogenic to man, have been found to be human pathogens. Bacteria, like people, need food to exist and multiply. Bacteria also have relatively short life spans (measured in hours not days or years).
Typically, this food comes from organic contamination in the water. Since bacteria are removed on the outer surfaces of the cartridge matrix and the nutrients (food for the bacteria) are absorbed in the interior of the matrix, the Seagull® IV cartridge effectively isolates bacteria form an essential food base. Bacteria, without food, are unable to reproduce, and die within a relatively short time. Also, in many situations, incoming water will contain contaminants such as chlorine, phenols, pesticides, etc…, which are hostile to, and help kill, bacteria concentrated on the outside of the matrix.
What model of the Seagull® IV system should I, as a homeowner install?
Typically, the Seagull® IV X-1F “auxiliary or dedicated pure water faucet” system is used for residential applications. The X-1 has a flow rate of 1 gallon per minute provided through General Ecology’s ceramic disc faucet mounted on the sink ledge next to the faucet group. This permits maximum economy since only water that is to be used for drinking or food preparation need to be purified. Incidentally, these faucets are “top mounting”. Connection is made to the faucet before it is mounted to the sink, alleviating the need to make connections in the dark recesses of a sink cabinet while lying on your back.
The X-1F models include installation accessories so homeowners can install the unit with relative ease. The kit includes high-pressure flexible braided stainless steel sheathed or engineering thermoplastic tubing. The faucet sometimes can be installed in a “knockout” hole in the sink ledge, or in place of the spray hose, which many homeowners don’t use. Otherwise a ¾ inch hole should be drilled. Instructions for drilling both stainless steel and porcelain sinks are included with the units.
General Ecology also provides a manual pump model (X-1P) with a durable, high capacity pump for use with non-pressurized systems, and a convenient diverter model (X-1D) for counter top applications in apartments, vacation homes and other temporary or semi-permanent residences. This diverter valve can be attached directly to the faucet in place of the normal aerator in a matter of a few minutes.
Basic models (X-1B) are available on a special order basis for installation on drinking water coolers, coffee urns, and other similar applications.
The Seagull® IV “Designer Series” units are high flow (2 gallon per minute), high capacity systems. Our X-2K model is available in a variety of faucet types for added elegance to designer kitchens and galleys, while the X-2KB is intended for direct connection to the normal cold water tap, and for commercial and larger installations. The X-2K units are distributed “factory direct” through kitchen design showrooms and other kitchen design specialists.
How big is a Seagull® IV unit?
The Seagull® IV unit is very compact, with the X-1 and the X-2K models being less than 6 inches in diameter and, in the case of the X-1, less than 6 inches high. The X-2K model is less than 11 inches high. These sizes easily fit alongside disposals and other equipment normally installed beneath the kitchen sink. And because they typically are installed with flexible tubing, they can be removed from the hanging bracket and brought out from underneath the sink for servicing.
The X-6 model, a high flow rate and high capacity system, is considerably larger but still is very compact for its capabilities. For specific measurements please see our X-6 specification sheet.
What maintenance is required?
Seagull® IV and Nature Pure® systems have been designed to be essentially maintenance free. In the case of the X-1F installation, the only moving parts are the faucet, and these are essentially no moving parts, maintenance is quite minimal. Cartridges should be replaced as indicated, usually once a year.
With so many different water products appearing on and disappearing from the market, how can I be sure I’ll be able to get cartridges and warranty service on a General Ecology drinking water system?
You’re right; “new” products seem to come and go quickly in this market. General Ecology is a well-founded, privately owned company incorporated over 45 years ago. We developed the “Structured Matrix™” technology and remain the only source for this advanced technology even though many companies have attempted to copy it. We are broad based and supply major air lines around the world including United, Delta, American, TWA, Cathay Pacific, QANTAS, Mexicana, and dozens of others. Out FIRST NEED XL Elite® portable units have been market leaders for almost a decade. Besides meeting the needs of the individual, we’ve supplied many expeditions, medical research teams, major corporations, and government agencies including army field hospitals. Our products are tested worldwide and are distributed into dozens of countries. We believe you can judge a company by its customers, and ours include some of the most sophisticated and discerning in the world. Replacement cartridges are also available globally. Call or fax us to find the distributor nearest you, or you may purchase directly from us.
It sounds convenient enough, but I’m concerned about asbestos and have been told that ordinary filters don’t remove this potential carcinogen. What about the Seagull® IV or Nature Pure® systems?
You’ve been told correctly that ordinary filters don’t reliably remove asbestos. But the Seagull® IV and Nature Pure® systems, rather than being a mere filters, are sophisticated microstraining devices that readily removes asbestos fibers. Because of the depth type microstructure, the Seagull® IV has been tested on asbestos fibers as small as 0.01 microns nominal or 0.4 microns absolute in diameter and has shown complete removal within the detection capability of the testing equipment.
Why are General Ecology systems the best value and so much better than other systems on the market?
Because they do more, do it better and consistently work effectively, longer than other products. In fact, to our knowledge, General Ecology’s “Structured Matrix™” is the only technology independently certified to meet U.S. Federal Guide Standard for Microbiological Purifiers, without the use of chlorine or other chemicals, “hold time”, electricity or multiple processing. Our purifiers also remove many chemicals, even in trace quantities, and foul tastes and odors, to provide “bottled or better” quality at fraction of the cost.
How much does it cost, and how does the cost compare to bottled water?
Surprisingly, General Ecology systems is quite inexpensive. Many ordinary aluminum and plastic-housing, charcoal filters, which must be used only on previously treated waters and are largely inefficient, cost almost twice as much for the unit and several times as much for replacement cartridges. Bottled water, which can be of questionable quality, can cost up to two dollars per litre or more. The present cost of the Seagull® IV, including equipment, installation, operation and maintenance, averaged over a 10 year period, is less than 10 cents per litre.
In view of Canada´s water shortage, how can I justify installation of one of these drinking water units? I’ve heard they waste several gallons of water for each one processed, and that long backwashes are needed
This is true for some units, particularly those relying on reverse osmosis (“RO”) where several gallons of precious water can be wasted. The General Ecology systems waste no water, requires no backwash and has no reject water. General Ecology systems rather than wasting water, helps conserve it. Also, as water shortages continue, water quality is bound to deteriorate as aquifers and reservoirs are drawn farther down, sometimes reaching the sludge material on the bottom. Water is a natural resource like petroleum, and like petroleum, unfortunately, we are rapidly depleting known fresh water reserves.
How can a small unit under my sink do more than a large well-run municipal treatment plant?
The Seagull® IV and Nature Pure® systems are specifically design for today’s contamination problems and incorporates sophisticated separation technology not available or not practical for use in large-scale treatment. Most municipal treatment plants are well operated but were designed and built decades ago to handle what, in many ways, were much simpler problems. They were not designed to handle chemical contamination, Giardia, Cryptosporidia, asbestos, etc. It will be decades in the future before these plants can be upgraded. Also, even if plants were upgraded, the distribution systems can contribute to the contamination in your drinking water.
Why shouldn’t I purify all my water?
Only about 2% to 5% of all water entering your household is actually consumed directly or through foods. It would be wasteful and uneconomical to micro purify water needed for scrubbing, toilet flushing, and laundry.
What about my icemaker and instant hot water units?
General Ecology provides handy icemaker installation kits permitting purified water to be directed to your refrigerator for chilled water and icemaker requirements. Similarly, a hot water dispenser inlet line can also be connected to the water line from your General Ecology drinking water system.
Can we take our General Ecology system with us when we relocate to a new home?
Yes, the General Ecology systems are readily removed and reinstalled. A cover plate may have to be purchased from the local hardware store to cover the hole in the sink ledge, but this should not be a problem. Contact your General Ecology distributor for new installation accessories that may be necessary for re-installation. Also, many people are able to sell their units to the new homeowners and purchase a new unit after relocating.
Who else makes a product like Seagull® IV or Nature Pure®?
General Ecology developed the Seagull® IV and Nature Pure® drinking water technology after significant research and testing and is the sole manufacturer of the product. Many companies have tried, without success, to duplicate the outstanding effectiveness of the Seagull® IV and Nature Pure® systems. Don’t be mislead by companies making claims that they’re “just as good”, or “better than” Seagull® IV. A better product simply doesn’t exist.
What about the electrode “test” gadget, used by high-pressure sales people, that shows a dirty green or brown scum on the top of General Ecology microfiltered water…what’s the gimmick?
This so-called test really is a demonstration of electrolysis. It is well known that an electrical current flowing from one electrode to another can dissolve and erode the electrode material into water surrounding it. In other words, these folks are adding contamination to the water, and fraudulently implying that the contamination has come from the Seagull® IV system.
In a positive sense, because electricity will flow only if dissolved minerals such as a calcium, etc., are present in the water, this gadget demonstrates that General Ecology water does retain these desirable minerals. Alternatively, the gadget shows that water processed through distillation and R.O. units, and D.I. (deionized) waters are seriously depleted of desirable minerals because electricity will not readily flow unless dissolved minerals are present.
What about these small charcoal filter gadgets that attach to the end of the faucet or are installed in a plastic pitcher? They seem to be quite inexpensive.
Actually they’re quite expensive, since they cost good money and do essentially nothing to improve the quality of your water. These units typically contain just a few grams of loose granular charcoal and have demonstrated as little as 5 to 10 percent effectiveness (i.e. 90 to 95 percent of contamination comes through). Many of our customers are people who have become aware of the need for water quality improvement, have purchased one of the faucet-attaching or pitcher gadgets, and then sought an effective product that really works.
I’ve heard that recent research shows that more contamination can enter the body through pores in the skin than enters the body through ingestion. What can I do about this problem?
We’ve seen some of this information also, and it makes sense because skin is quite porous – that’s how we perspire. General Ecology’s SPARK-L-PURE® micro-filtration unit can easily handle the flow requirements for an entire household to provide excellent quality water for bathing, dish-washing and other higher flow requirements. These stainless steel units are very compact, convenient and easily installed. Ask your distributor for details.
What can I do when I travel? I know resorts use rooftop catch basins and that many countries have very serious water-borne disease problems.
We offer a whole range of portable drinking water equipment under our FIRST NEED® product line. These include the well-proven FIRST NEED® XLE Elite, Trav-L®-Pure and Base Camp™ configurations. The Trav-L®-Pure unit is so “user friendly” that it’s a pleasure to use…no hoses or dangling lines and prefilters. Its completely self-contained, neat and convenient to use even in restaurants.
How can I ensure I have drinking water in emergency situations?
Power outages resulting from natural and man-made disasters can result in a loss of water pressure. Our Seagull® IV X-1P is an excellent manual pumping system for use in non-pressurized water environments whether in a remote local or your own home during emergencies. In addition, we offer an Emergency Preparedness Conversion Kit for use with our X-1F, X-1FP and X-1D configurations. This Emergency Kit quickly and effectively converts these Seagull® IV models to manual pumping system for times of emergency, then just as easily back again to the original configuration when the emergency is over. General Ecology also manufactures the FIRST NEED® series, a full line of portable water purifiers.