Water Filters

Do you need a water filter​?

South East Water believes that most customers do not need a water filter because of the high standard of Melbourne's water. In fact, if water filters are not properly maintained they can accumulate materials (build-up of bacteriological contamination) that could be released in a concentrated form when you use water from your filter.

However, customers with special needs, such as for allergies and/or special health requirements may want to install a water filter. It is essential in these instances that the filter is properly maintained (see manufacturers instructions) to ensure that safe, clean water quality is achieved.

If you are unhappy about the quality of your water and are thinking about buying a water filter, it would be worthwhile to contact South East Water first on 132 812, and notify us of a fault with your water quality. We will investigate the problem to determine the cause and attempt to rectify it.

Which one do you need?

There are many types of water filters on the market. Consequently, it is important, to choose a water filter which is suited to your individual circumstances. The types of filters fall into the following four categories:

​Filter type ​Suitability
​Element Type Filter or Sediment Filter ​Suitable for removing colour or sediment by trapping fine suspended materials in the filter element material.
​Activated Charcoal Filter or Carbon Filter ​Designed to remove and/or to absorb taste and odours such as chlorine or organics in the water.
​Ion Exchange ​Removes iron, flouride and heavy metals, but not organic chemicals.
​Reverse Osmosis/Distiller Filter ​Designed to remove all chemicals, both natural and added.

Details of filter types

Filter element

Filter elements may be made from porous ceramic, paper and wound fibre materials. Most require periodic replacement as they become loaded with suspended matter and sediment. Those that can be cleaned can only be partly restored to original capacity as material remains trapped in the filter element. The best devices are depth filters as they provide the most efficient filtration and last longer. Simple paper or membrane filters have very little storage capacity and are rapidly exhausted.

Activated Carbon (A.C.)

Activated Carbon (A.C.) is capable of absorbing or removing tastes and odours, sediment, chlorine, organic or chlorinated compounds. A.C. is generally not suitable for removing metals (lead, copper etc), fluoride or bacteria. The A.C. reacts directly with chlorine. Chlorinated by-products are absorbed, removing the taste found in some disinfected waters. However, concentrations of organic matter actually increase if the capacity of the filter is inadequate. The most significant drawback of A.C. is that the nutrients and organic matter that accumulate from even fully treated water provide a medium for bacterial growth.

Ion exchange filters

Ion exchange resins are most commonly used in water treatment processes to soften the water supply by exchanging sodium ions for "hardness" ions including calcium and magnesium. Ion exchange filters exchange the major ions present in the water, removing iron, fluoride and heavy metals. They are not generally suitable for the removal of organic chemicals such as pesticides or chlorine and do not work well when total dissolved solids are high. It is important to remember that the material absorbed from the water and the resins themselves provide sufficient organic matter and nutrients for bacterial growth.

Reverse osmosis

Impurities are separated from water by forcing the water under pressure through a reverse osmosis membrane. Larger ions and molecules are trapped and flushed away with the concentrated rejected water, which is about five times the volume of treated or product water. Often pre-filtration is required to prevent suspended matter blocking the membrane. Reverse osmosis removes most salts, heavy metals and organic molecules. They are slow and expensive and have a high water wastage rate.

Points to remember

If you decide to proceed with the purchase of a water filter, the following points should be considered:

    • South East Water believe filters are unnecessary.
    • Boiling water for five minutes is enough to kill all harmful bacteria with no ongoing maintenance costs.
    • Standing water at room temperature, or in a fridge, for two hours will remove chlorine related taste and odour.
    • Read the manufacturers instructions very carefully with regard to changing, cleaning of elements or filter cartridges, flow rates and water service connections.
    • Determine the level of back up service provided by the manufacturer or supplier.
    • Ensure you understand the ongoing maintenance costs.
    • It is essential to maintain your filter on a regular basis in accordance with manufacturers instructions. If the filter is not maintained, then it is possible that you will obtain a concentrated dose of the very materials you do not want.
    • Flush your filter before use, particularly if it has been standing for extended periods, such as overnight.

Customers should be aware that water filters only treat the symptoms of dirty or poor tasting/smelling water, not the causes.