Filtering water free of impurities and contaminants is a necessity for the many communities where clean drinking water may not be easily available. Even in countries or areas wherein the tap water is safe to drink, there is still a possibility of the house plumbing being contaminated with traces of harmful particles. This is why you must know the best ways to filter water or purify it so that your home and community will have a clean supply of water.
Fortunately, there are a lot of methods at your disposal to filter water; some are traditional while others are modern and high-tech. Most water purification methods are quite feasible to be applied at home since you will not need to filter a large quantity of water every day.
The easiest and the most traditional way to get rid of impurities and germs is to boil your water. Many people in the developing countries employ this method to obtain drinkable water. All you have to do is put water in a pot over a stove top and bring the water to a boil for a few minutes. Once boiled, you can use this water for drinking purposes without needing to filter it again.
Even though boiling the water is the easiest and most affordable way to filter water, it is not a very effective way of ridding the water of impurities. High temperature can kill the germs in the water, but it cannot filter out metals and other contaminants. In fact, it increases the density of such impurities because some of the pure water evaporates. In addition density of of the impurities in the water, handling and moving boiled water can be quite a hassle and also very dangerous. That is why we are very fortunate to have modern filter systems today.
Water filters are devices that filter and free the water from any contaminants quickly and cost-effectively. There are many different kinds of filters to choose from for tap water, and some of them are:
These type of filters can be used and are very effective to filter out water on a small scale. The performance and working mechanisms for most of these filters are the same. However, the results are not exactly the same. Some may be more susceptible to clogging than others, and may consume a little more time to manage. Also, certain filters may only target specific contaminants, while others target a larger spectrum of contaminants .
Chlorination is a traditional way to purify water and is still used today. Chlorine is a strong element that is capable of killing germs, bacteria, and other pathogens from the water and makes it safe for use. You can find chlorine solutions or tablets to add to your water tank as these are cheap and readily available almost everywhere.
Both of these methods require the water to be at least 21°C or almost 70 degrees fahrenhite. However, there are a few drawbacks to this method. First, it may not be able to clear out all contaminants. Secondly, water treated with chlorine is also considered to be unhealthy and can be hazardous for people with thyroid issues as well as causing other health problems in large doses.. Not to mention that chlorine is also know to dry out your skin and hair and makes the water taste terrible.
This is a natural way of filtering out heavy contaminants in water through sedimentation. Water is treated with certain iron salts or alums that bond with large dirt elements. This is called flocculation as it forms a floc that allows the water to be stagnant so that sediments stay at the bottom. This is another relatively inexpensive way to rid your water of contaminants but may require a lot of time and labor to do so. This method is usually not commonly used for filtering water in entire households.
Activated carbon bonds with water to remove selective contaminants and is especially effective way of filtering and removing chlorine. Activated carbon may even be able to remove harmful elements such as lead or mercury. However, activated carbon is not able to totally remove any inorganic contaminants like arsenic, nitrates, and fluorides. Activated carbon come in block forms, granules, or it may be integrated into activated carbon filters.
This process removes salts by promoting ion exchange. Those ions that are not charged are removed by the filter. As a result, salt contaminants are left behind. This method is not as viable as it can only remove salts and not viruses and bacteria.
When there is a need to filter gallons and gallons of water for community use we need special plants that can fight the contaminants on a much larger scale So, here are some of the most common methods used to filter water on large scales.
Distillation is the process of removing salt from seawater and is pretty effective at doing so. Seawater contains a lot of salt that renders it unfit for drinking. The easiest way to get rid of salt is to evaporate water and then condense it to the pure form. In distillation, this is done on a big scale in special chambers.
First, the water is heated to evaporation temperature. The vapors are then moved to a coolant chamber where they are cooled to the liquid state. This water is now free from salt and any other impurities. This process is very costly as it requires a lot of fuel for heating and then coolants for cooling it back.
Many countries have distillation plants near the shores to filter out the salt and produce drinkable water. This is because they do not have ample fresh water sources to meet their needs.
Reverse osmosis is a very popular way of filtering out the water on a large scale. The water treatment plants that clean water before it reaches our taps typically use this method. The water is sent through pipes that have filters in them. There is then hydraulic pressure applied to the water, and as a result, the impurities are trapped by the thin membranes of the filters while pure water passes on through.
Reverse osmosis filtration is less costly in comparison to distillation but still requires some energy. Also, this form of filtration is very effective of ridding the water of most of the total dissolved substances.
Drinking water that has harmful contaminants can have an adverse effect on your body and cause diseases. Fortunately, there are many ways water can be treated to filter out salts, contaminants, bacteria, and viruses.
Many modern homes are now equipped with some kind of filter systems to make sure water is fully purified. If you still do not have one, it is also recommended to add at least one filter to your tap water faucet. A lot of filters today are quite cheap and easily available online and in retail stores. You can even install them without needing a plumber. So, why not make sure of your family’s health?
Jack Wilson is a water treatment consultant as well as a topic researcher and post editor for all posts on bestpurifiation.com.