Southern Nevada company stays ahead of the curve on water filtration


Brian Ramos

Zachary Rice, President at Multipure in Las Vegas explained and demonstrated a chlorine test with unfiltered water and why having clean drinking water can be very important and beneficial for your health. Multipure has been working to improve water for over fifty years and as the original manufacturer of the solid carbon block filter, they aim to provide affordable access to high quality drinking water in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

Mon, Apr 8, 2024 (2 a.m.)

Multipure has been in the water filtration business for more than 50 years. Like most industries, there has been one constant: change.

“As time has gone on, more and more contaminants are identified, ways of measuring those contaminants have to be developed. Standards have to be developed,” says Zachary Rice, president of Multipure.

Rice is the second-generation owner of Multipure, a company based in Las Vegas that manufactures and sells water filters for use in individual consumers’ homes.

The company was founded in 1970 by his father and uncle. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded the same year.

Fifty years ago, most consumers accepted their tap water without question, Rice said. Things like water filters and bottled water were not yet commonplace. But gradually, the EPA began identifying contaminants in tap water and developed monitoring strategies.

Rice says Las Vegas is a younger city with relatively newer water infrastructure, meaning concerns with drinking water are minimal but not nonexistent.

“We are located on the mountainous part of the United States, so there’s arsenic,” Rice said. “Anytime you’re in a mountainous region, usually you can find naturally occurring arsenic.”

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is responsible for keeping urban drinking water under the federal limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for arsenic. Rice estimates that urban drinking water in Las Vegas contains about 2 to 3 ppb of arsenic, but Multipure’s filter can reduce that number to zero.

Residents of rural, mountainous areas in Nevada and California often have elevated levels of arsenic in their well water. These communities struggle to meet the EPA standards for arsenic.

“There are small communities around the western part of the United States where it does not economically make sense for them to have to install equipment to be able to meet the EPA’s requirement,” Rice says. “So what they do is they identify the kind of consumer-ready products, and they just buy everyone in the community that product and that’s how they can meet the standard.”

Multipure fills this need, as it’s one of the only at-home filters in the United States that is able to remove arsenic from drinking water.

And the company continues to push the limits in the water filtration industry, now one of few certified to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, from drinking water, Rice said.

Over 10 years ago, Multipure entered its filter into a study about PFAS in drinking water.

“Here’s the thing: We hadn’t even engineered them at that time to really target PFAS,” says Kenton Jones, vice president of operations at Multipure. “But it was found that the filters at the time, as they came from the factory, were already taking this stuff out of the water.”

Concerns have mounted nationally over the presence of PFAS as a “forever chemical” in tap water and bottled water. Rice says the drinking water industry is working to determine the standard for safe levels of PFAS, as well as the health risks associated with exposure.

And, he says, using a system like the ones his company provides is better for the environment because the widespread use of single-use plastic water bottles contributes to pollution.

Multipure filters are carbon-based and last an average of one year—about 750 gallons—before needing to be replaced. In addition to its under-the-sink filtration system, Multipure also offers a showerhead attachment filter to reduce potential skin and hair issues caused by contaminants found in Las Vegas’ hard water.

Multipure’s water treatment system is recognized by NSF International—the public health standard certification group—for being able to remove viruses, bacteria and protozoan cysts. Therefore, Jones says, consumers could use this product to safely drink water straight out of Lake Mead or the ponds at Sunset Park—after some preliminary straining of the large particles, of course. He has done this himself before.

“Having companies like Multipure whose mission is to make a tangible improvement in the quality of people’s lives in terms of their health … I feel incredibly proud to be just a tiny little part of that equation, to be a tiny little part of that effort,” Jones says.

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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