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    Tern Water: How To “Know Your Water” With New Test Kit

    Bottled water is notoriously bad. Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.

    The sustainability argument is simple. For anyone living a sustainable lifestyle, it’s one of the first things you should cut out and make an easy switch to a stainless steel or glass container.

    But despite the repetition of stories, how much oil is used to create the plastic bottles (more than 17 million barrels of oil annually), bottled water isn’t regulated and shady companies privatizing water, bottled water use continues to grow. With a recent event like Flint Michigan, people are concerned about using their tap water.

    One local company is trying to make tap water awesome again.

    It’s been one week since SustainPHL 2017, but we recently caught up with Mohamed Zerban, a SustainPHL Business Innovation  2016 nominee for his company Tern Water to see what’s happened in the past year.

    Tern Water: The Idea

    Mohamed Zerban had the idea to create Tern Water when he was 15. His passion began to build efficient products and services, but he got Tern going in early 2016. After working for Philadelphia Water, he saw firsthand how water infrastructure needs attention, and how to increase accessibility and awareness to water. 

    Since Tern started, the team has grown to six members (from three). They’re also working with advisors and piloting with retailers in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.

    Know Your Water: Tern’s new product

    “People want to be sustainable, but they lack the level of awareness makes them incapable of doing so.” – Mohamed Zerban

    To switch demand back to the tap, Zerban recognized that people need to feel confident that their water is healthy. And there’s not a one-size-fits all solution: Each municipality has different water problems. For example, Philadelphia uses wells, so residents should watch for a higher level of chlorine (used for purification). Certain districts may have a problem with Chromium.

    In response, Tern recently launched Know Your Water.

    Know Your Water is a test for what contaminants are in your water. Eight tests measure the most critical levels – the amount of TDS, PH, Chloride, Chlorine, Fluoride, Lead, Chromium and Total Hardness. At a $25 (currently on sale for $15) price tag, Know Your Water is the cheapest and convenient way to test your water: alternates include a $130-200 test through a plumbing service.

    Putting Know Your Water to the test

    After questioning what’s in my water, I put Know Your Water to the test. After ordering the test kit, I received two plastic vials, envelope and a couple of inserts in the mail.Know Your Water Test Kit

    I filled the vials with my tap water and sent it back to Tern’s office in Old City. A few weeks later, I received the report via email.Know Your Water Report Tern Water

    Underneath the water report, Tern also provides customized recommendations to correct these contaminants. For example, boiling your water for 15 minutes before you cook or which type of filter to use.Know Your Water tips - Tern Water

    According to Zerban, users only have to be concerned if the levels are above the health standards. Also, Tern will reply if you email any questions about your water test kit.

    Tern faucet & Next Steps for Tern Water

    Tern Faucet will be announcing new products later in 2017. The big debut will likely be the Tern Faucet, which will include a discount for Know Your Water customers. The Tern Faucet will provide real-time data on your phone about how much filtered water you’ve used, how many bottles you’ve saved, when your replacement is needed and more.

    Once the Tern Faucet debuts, they’ll be able to monitor irregularities and help customers adjust their filters accordingly. For example, if an area had a chromium problem, Tern will deploy a testing capsule to customers and send an adjustment to the filter.

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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