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Sunday, Sep 25, 2022
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Fresh Water From the Countertop?

The drought is starting to turn up the heat on commercial bottlers of drinking water, such as Glendale’s Nestle USA, which has seen protestors calling for a shut-down of its local plants. So what’s a person to do for a great-tasting glass of H20 if buying bottles at the store isn’t a comfortable option? Tarzana businessman Peter Spiegel believes a purification machine that he plans to release later this year is the answer. AquaTru, a countertop system, utilizes the reverse-osmosis process used by water bottlers, but requires no hook up to a customer’s plumbing, as do similar home systems. The machine has been developed to work right out of the box and Spiegel believes his product will reduce the waste produced by plastic bottles while helping conserve water. “Bottled water is just not a good solution, and it makes a lot better sense for people to have the same type of purification used by all the major bottled-water brands sitting on their own counter,” Spiegel said. “And they save a lot more money.” Spiegel is the founder of Ideal Living, a Sherman Oaks company that makes Ionic Pro- and Therapure-brand air purifiers, which are sold on TV and online. His newest product has its origins in the $20,000 a year he was spending on bottled water for his employees. To cut cost, he installed reverse-osmosis filters under the sinks in his office – and then the idea struck him for an easy-to-use home system. The customer fills the container with tap water and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to produce three-quarters of a gallon of filtered water with the AquaTru system, which Spiegel claims is more effective in removing pollutants than a tap filter like Brita. The replaceable filters will cost $60 and are supposed to last three years for a family of four. Spencer Mackay, principal of M industrial Design in Burbank, worked on AquaTru and said it was a challenge to configure the containers and filters to make a compact product, which ended up about the size of a bread machine. “Most consumers are very sensitive about how much counter space they are willing to give up,” he said. Spiegel expects AquaTru, which will be manufactured in China, will be available by the end of the year for about $300. Plans are to sell it through major retailers and through direct-to-consumer television advertising. Rick Andrew, a water expert for NSF International, a non-profit product testing and certification firm in Ann Arbor, Mich., said that AquaTru’s claims on efficiency aren’t far-fetched. But he noted it’s a challenge for reverse-osmosis systems to process a lot of water. “They do have to be maintained in order to work properly, but in general the technology is pretty well-proven,” he said. “They are very, very effective at treating the water.” – Mateo Melero

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