Water treatment is a broad term that covers a wide range of techniques and processes that are applied to water sources. The definition of water treatment is: ‘Any process that makes water more acceptable for a specific end-use’. That means water treatment can cover a huge range of applications, including drinking water, water for industrial use (such as in producing paper, chemicals, and cars), and ultra-pure water, which is used for semiconductor and pharmaceutical purposes.
But what happens when water isn’t treated properly? When it comes to domestic use water (also known as potable water), it can have disastrous results if the water hasn’t been appropriately treated at the plant. There are many dangerous waterborne diseases that pose a serious risk to human and animal health if ingested. In the Industrial Revolution, many major cities like London, Paris, and Frankfurt began the construction of large-scale public sewer works to help effectively remove wastewater and sewage, and treat it in a much safer way than had been attempted previously, following several outbreaks of disease that became linked to contaminated water.
While there are many waterborne diseases, there are a number of processes that are used to treat water, many of which are used together in order to produce the best and most suitable results. Processes include:
Sedimentation – use of gravity to remove solid particles within the water.
Disinfection – use of chemicals such as chlorine to kill bacteria, viruses, and harmful substances in the water. Disinfection also uses filtration to help remove these from the water.
Filtration – filtering of water through sand or membranous filters.
Coagulation – adding certain chemicals to encourage particles to clump together making them easier to remove through sedimentation.
Boiling and distillation – heating of water to boiling temperatures to kill microbes and pathogens, although this method cannot remove particles or chemical toxins. Distillation is more effective due to the evaporation process and can be up to 99% pure.
These processes are used to remove harmful chemicals, bacteria, viruses, fungi, minerals and suspended solids to make sure the water is safe for use. Sedimentation, for example, is widely used in sewage water treatment to remove any solids (this is then turned into sludge), whilst filtration and disinfection are used across a variety of domestic and industrial water sources. Using a variety of methods, making water safe for use by people and industries is completely possible, although it needs careful monitoring.
The entire treatment method ensures that everything passing through the purification process becomes safe to drink and harmless for both people and the encompassing environment. Contaminated water is dangerous for your health, but treated water is essential for your wellbeing. If you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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