Sales of Water Purifying Systems Alert

Niagara Region and Niagara Regional Police Service Warn Residents
About Questionable Door-to-Door Sales Practices

Niagara Region and Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) are warning residents about questionable practices involving sales of water purifying systems. Niagara Region would like to reassure residents that the water produced by its treatment facilities, and delivered to their homes by their municipality, meets or exceeds strict provincial guidelines and is safe to drink.

The Region has become aware that residents are being approached by door-to-door reverse osmosis water purification sales people who are making use of a 'precipitator' or 'jam jar purity test' to supposedly prove that all water, except for the water produced by their purification equipment, is impure and unsafe for human consumption.

The water test, done in a resident's home, usually results in a brown substance forming in the water. This happens during the test when the naturally occurring minerals in the water are activated by an electrical current. Water purified with a reverse osmosis system has very few or no minerals present in the water and will therefore not conduct electricity - so no brown substance appears. But it is not any safer to drink than treated tap water.

"This sounds like a good grade school science experiment on electrical conductivity," said Mike Janas, associate director, Water Operations. "The test says absolutely nothing about water quality - and in fact is being used to mislead residents into believing there is something wrong with their municipal water - which is absolutely not true."

Some sales people may also be testing residents' water for 'total dissolved salts' (TDS). Tap water and purified water will usually show a higher TDS count than reverse osmosis water - which the sales person tries to have residents believe means their water is unsafe.

"This test also doesn't prove anything about water quality or safety," said Mr. Janas. "TDS alone just tests the mineral content and residents should be aware that there are naturally occurring minerals in all water."

Residents are asked to be wary of such sales pitches and report any such activity to the NRPS. Residents concerned about the safety of their water are asked to contact the Public Works Department of their local municipality or the Region's Water & Wastewater Division at 905-984-3690.

View the Niagara Region and NRP media release

View the Ministry of Consumer Services Water Testing Information