Water treatment is the process of removing unwanted chemicals, biological pollutants, suspended solids and gases that pollute fresh water. The final result of the cleaning process is safe drinking water.
Drinking water in the U.S. is one of the safest and healthiest in the world. But even here, water sources might be contaminated and cause illnesses or sickness from germs, like E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Hepatitis A, Giardia intestinalis, and many other pathogens.
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Drinking water sources require appropriate treatment to eliminate harmful particles.
The most common ways for water treatment used by community water systems:
- Mechanical removing undissolved pollutants (litter, sand, rust, scale, coarse and fine suspended solids).
- Coagulation and Flocculation are the first steps in community water treatment. Positive charged chemicals are added to the water. The positive charge neutralizes the negative charge of dirt and other dissolved particles. Then, the particles form larger particles (floc).
- Sedimentation is a process in which the floc settles to the bottom, due to its weight. It acts both as a preliminary purification stage, at which the largest pollutants are separated, and as an intermediate stage.
- Filtration. After the floc settled, the clear water passes through various filters (sand, gravel, and charcoal) and pore sizes, to eliminate dissolved particles, such as parasites, dust, bacteria, chemicals, and viruses.
- Disinfection. After filtration process, a disinfectant (chlorine or chloramine) is added in order to destroy any remaining bacteria, parasites, and viruses, and to protect the water from germs when it goes through pipes to buildings.
Some water supplies may also include disinfection by-products, inorganic and organic chemicals, and radionuclides.
Types of Point-of-use Water Treatment Systems
Even though EPA controls standards for drinking water, many people use home water purification systems to:
- Eliminate specific impurities
- Take extra precautions because a family member has a poor immune system
- Make the taste of water better
So today, water treatment systems are used not only in large enterprises but also in urban dwellings and offices.
This trend has emerged for several reasons:
- State of the environment. At the moment, water from only 1% of the sources is drinkable and safe. The rest requires very good purification.
- The condition of pipes. Most of them have been serving for over 50 years, which negatively affects the quality of the water.
- State of water treatment systems. Despite the huge amount of reagents used, maintaining an excellent quality of large volumes of water is a hard task.
Point-of-use systems clean water in batches and deliver water to a tap (kitchen or bathroom sink) or an auxiliary faucet next to a tap.
The most widespread types of household water purification systems are:
- Filtration Systems removing harmful particles from water with the help of a physical barrier, chemical or biological process.
- Water Softeners are devices reducing the water hardness. It utilizes potassium or sodium ions to replace magnesium and calcium and ions creating “hardness.”
- Distillers. Distillation means a procedure in which water is heated and boiled and the steam is condensed in a container. This way, many contaminants are left behind.
- Disinfection is using chemical (chlorine or its dioxide, ozone) or physical (UV light, radiation, heat) methods to destroy pathogenic organisms.
Types of Water Treatment Systems:
- Carbon Filtration
- Ion-exchange Softening or Demineralization
- Neutralizing Filtration
- Iron Filtration
- Oxidizing Filtration
- Reverse Osmosis
- Pot Feeders
- Sand Filtration
- Chemical Feed Pumps
- UV Sterilization
- Sediment Filtration
Remember that there is no device that is a 100% cure for all water issues.
The most widely used methods to make the quality of drinking water better are:
- Sediment Filtration eliminates the largest particles to make the water look better.
- Carbon Filtration makes the odor and taste of water better. It absorbs chlorine and some organic contaminants like trichloroethylene, trihalomethanes, paradichlorobenzene, and many others from tap water. But it doesn’t eliminate total dissolved salts.
- Reverse Osmosis systems use pressure to eliminate TDS (dissolved salts) from the water. RO systems include a semi-permeable membrane, a sediment filter, and a carbon filter to produce good tasting water without extra minerals. Many manufacturers producing bottled water use RO to create their product. Reverse osmosis systems are also used to obtain fresh water from the sea. This type of cleaning is successfully used both in domestic conditions and in wastewater treatment. Reverse osmosis systems must necessarily contain activated carbon, as the membrane itself does not capture low molecular weight highly volatile organics (such as chloroform) and bacteria.
- Distillation evaporates the water so the steam is cooled and condensed in the collector and impurities are left behind. It is the process of removing the water from its contaminants. This is a less common type of water treatment.
- Using Bottled Water. You may order delivery to your home in 5-gallon containers, or purchase from vending machines or in gallon containers in grocery stores. Bottled water is always disinfected, usually by ozone or UV light.
- Ultraviolet rays kill micro-organisms is 254 nanometers (nm). The UV lamps are created specifically to have the highest amount of UV energy to destroy all harmful germs. The organisms die under this radiation due to damage of DNA and RNA molecules, that is caused by photochemical reactions that occur in their structure.
Installing a water filtration system provides you with healthy, drinking water.