Consultant Q&A: Kevin Cromwell, owner, Cromwell Consulting, Stoughton, Mass.

FE&S: Talk about the importance of water filtration in commercial foodservice.

KC: Water is the most important ingredient in foodservice and one of the most overlooked. Soups and sauces are up to 80 percent water; fountain beverages are between 78 percent and 83 percent water, not including ice, which is all water; and coffee and tea are 96 percent to 98 percent water. Plus, every dish, glass, utensil, pot, pan and food contact surface in a foodservice establishment is touched by water. Based on this, why would anyone not have water filtration?

FE&S: What should operators consider when purchasing a water filtration system?

KC: Water for each location needs to be tested, or the 
local municipality should provide a water content breakdown. Then, the proper water filtration system can be designed for the location and application. The filtration requirements of a coffee brewer are not the same as the requirements for a combi oven. The requirements for filtration are set forth in owner’s manuals and data sheets for most items that are water dependent, and failure to meet these requirements can cause a void in warranty — not to mention an increase in repair costs and operational down time.

FE&S: Is there equipment that operators tend to overlook when it comes to water filtration?

KC: A growing area of filtration is for warewashing equipment. Filtering the water before it enters the water heater can extend the life of the water heater, or filtering after with high-heat filters can reduce the costs and amount of chemicals needed in the warewashing process.

FE&S: How can an operator determine the appropriate system for their restaurant?

KC: As the terms used in the testing results and the water filtration industry can make you feel that you are back in chemistry class, the specifier of the system should work with the filtration company of choice to select the proper filtration. All of the major manufacturers that supply the foodservice industry have solutions for all types of water.

FE&S: What is a common misconception about water filtration?

KC: There is a common practice in the municipality to use chloramines as a disinfectant as this works better than chlorine. A chlorine filter will not remove chloramines, which will rust stainless steel, again voiding all warranties from equipment manufacturers.