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A critical review of point-of-use drinking water treatment in the United States
npj Clean Water  (IF9.378),  Pub Date : 2021-07-22, DOI: 10.1038/s41545-021-00128-z
Jishan Wu, Miao Cao, Draco Tong, Zach Finkelstein, Eric M. V. Hoek

Ensuring safe water supply for communities across the United States is a growing challenge due to aging infrastructure, impaired source water, strained community finances, etc. In 2019, about 6% of public water utilities in the U.S. had a health-based violation. Due to the high risk of exposure to various contaminants in drinking water, point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatment is rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. and beyond. POU treatment technologies include various combinations of string-wound sediment filters, activated carbon, modified carbon, ion exchange and redox media filters, reverse osmosis membranes, and ultraviolet lamps depending on the contaminants of concern. While the technologies are well-proven, highly commoditized, and cost-effective, most systems offer little in the way of real-time performance monitoring or interactive technology like other smart home appliances (e.g., thermostats, smoke detectors, doorbells, etc.). Herein, we review water quality regulations and violations in the U.S. as well as state-of-the-art POU technologies and systems with an emphasis on their effectiveness at removing the contaminants most frequently reported in notices of violations. We conclude by briefly reviewing emerging smart water technologies and the needs for advances in the state-of-the-art technologies. The smartness of commercially available POU water filters is critiqued and a definition of smart water filter is proposed.