The importance of water treatment process cannot be undermined. Water suppliers ensure that the tap water that you use undergoes stringent water treatment processes to ensure that it is safe for consumption.
Untreated water can be a breeding ground for potentially harmful micro-organisms. Properly treating the water will curb the spread of water-borne diseases. In addition, the disinfectant added to the water distribution system will also ensure that the water pipes do not get infested with harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
Water Treatment Process
The two major processes involved in the treatment of water are filtration and disinfection.
The first and foremost step in the water treatment process is the removal of particles. This is done through filtration. Since removing small particle matter in a large body of water can be a challenging task, coagulants are added to the water to help with filtration. The coagulant, such as ferric chloride, aids in bringing together the tiny particles in the water to form ‘flocs’ that are easier to filter and remove.
In some instances, a pre-oxidant (such as chlorine) is added to the water. It then helps to oxidise any metals present in the water, making them easier to remove. There are also instances where the water’s pH is manipulated, with the help of caustic soda or lime. Doing this helps make the coagulation and flocculation processes a tad bit easier to carry out.
Disinfection rids the water of micro-organisms. Apart from that, disinfection also ensures that the water that travels through the water distribution system to people’s taps remains uncontaminated. The most commonly used disinfectant is chlorine. Chlorine is added to the filtered water and acts as the primary disinfectant. Residual chlorine will keep the water disinfected as it travels through the vast water distribution system. Extra chlorine may be added at particular times and places if deemed necessary.
In some instances, ammonia may be used as a secondary disinfectant. When added to water, ammonia produces a disinfectant called mono chloramine, which is less reactive than chlorine. This, in turn, ensures that the disinfectant does its job effectively from the time the water is treated to the time it reaches consumer’s taps.
In cases where the water is too soft, lime and carbon dioxide may be added to adjust the water’s pH. So, how exactly does it work? Basically, the lime and carbon dioxide react with each other and form calcium bicarbonate. This, in turn, increases the hardness of the water, making it less corrosive.
Benefits of Water Treatment
One of the major benefits of water treatment is better health. When the water is rid of harmful pathogens, the risk of diseases and illnesses is reduced. This is very important, as a society can only function at its best when the health of its people is optimal. Treated water plays a crucial role in ensuring that we as a society enjoy better health.
Elimination of Toxic Metals
As mentioned earlier, dissolved metals such as iron and copper are removed in the filtration process. If left untouched, these metals can make their way into our bodies, leaving toxic metal residues in our bloodstream. But thankfully, water treatment processes ensure that they are removed, making the water safe for consumption.
Quick Response to Potential Hazards
Water treatment facilities constantly monitor the quality of the water. This ensures that the water quality is maintained and if there are any sudden changes to the water, it is immediately noticed and dealt with. Water, when left untreated, can be very unstable and susceptible to some adverse changes. So, close monitoring and proper use of disinfectants and pH balancers are required to keep the water safe.
Better for Appliances
Water that has been pH adjusted is better for your appliances. Be it the dishwasher or the washing machine, treated water is much less corrosive and will keep your appliances in good working condition. When the water is of good quality, your appliances last longer and work better. What this means is that your detergent or soap usage will reduce. It will also have a notable effect on your appliances energy efficiency. In short, quality water can help you save money by way of reduced energy bills (lesser need for using hot water for washing your clothes) and reduced usage of detergent and soap.
Keep Your Skin and Hair Looking Good
The skin is the largest organ in our bodies. The water that comes in contact with your skin gets absorbed by your body and enters your bloodstream. This means that the quality of water not only affects the surface of your skin but also impacts your body’s internal organs. Properly treated water will cleanse the hair and skin without damaging them or leave harmful residue on them.
One of the basic benefits of water treatment is that it makes the water taste good. Untreated water is full of particles and sediments that contaminate it and make it unfit for consumption. Not only does treated water get rid of those unwanted particles and make the water clean, it also helps improve the taste by eliminating minerals such as magnesium and calcium. These minerals tend to alter the taste of the water. Even when cooking, the taste of the water can have a big impact on the taste of the food prepared. Right from your coffee to paste or soup, you need water to make most of your food and beverage. So, better taste is a vital benefit of water treatment.
Water is a source of life. We cannot survive without water and quality water is central to our good health and wellbeing. Water should not be taken for granted. In many developing countries, water scarcity and the need for clean water poses a daily struggle for the people. If left untreated, harmful pathogens can travel in the water distribution system, causing widespread diseases and illnesses. For us to maintain a society where the people enjoy good health and a high quality of life, without a doubt, water treatment is a number one priority.