Water is an essential resource that all living organisms rely on. But the water available in abundance at the moment is actually a limited resource and the majority of water sources are not even safe for use. As water can contain chemicals, sediment and all sorts of impurities that affect the smell, taste and overall quality of water.
Since water has the property of dissolving other substances easily into it, it becomes difficult to remove them without the use of specialized treatment methods. While water has the capacity to self cleanse, this capacity is not strong enough that would make water safe for human consumption.
While the contaminants and impurities that are already existing in water naturally are might not be that harmful, it is actually the industrial, agricultural and other human activities that causes water contamination. This discovery was made in the 1970’s and immediately after that measures were adopted to prevent water pollution.
The wastewater discharged into water bodies must meet legal standards before they are released into them. Also, to make water safe for drinking and appropriate for other usage, companies have to treat water to eliminate the impurities and contaminants.
Here we discuss all things essential related to water treatment. Keep reading till the end to find out.
Common Types of Water Treatment Methods
Water that flows through our taps when we open it, is the water that has been purified and distributed by municipal corporations. The tap water that we consume and use for several other domestic/commercial purposes, goes through various steps of purification where the contaminants and impurities are removed or reduced to make it suitable for use.
The composition of water along with several other factors are considered when choosing the ideal water treatment method. Some of the most common types of treatment methods available are –
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration
Reverse osmosis is one of the treatment processes where water pressure is employed for forcing water to go through a semipermeable membrane. When the water passes through this type of RO membrane surface, the dissolved materials in water are repelled.
The water molecules are diffused molecule by molecule through the membranes resulting in purified water on the other side. The reverse osmosis method is a popular treatment method for reducing contaminants in water and is extensively used in desalination of water as well.
It is a chemical-free and economical solution when it comes to improving the odor and taste of the drinking water. With an RO system installed the product of filtered and clean water is possible. By forcing the untreated water through the semipermeable membrane, the treated water is directed towards the storage tank where the water is stored.
The impurities that are trapped by the membrane are separated from the water molecules and are flushed down the drain. RO systems generally consist of pre and post filters which offer additional contamination removal capacity.
Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilization & Filtration
Sunlight has long been used as the powerful source that kills microorganisms. The sunrays comprises of UV spectrum that is utilized in ultraviolet water treatment systems, however, in much lower intensities. It is also referred to as Frequency or Germicidal Spectrum.
The frequency that is used in this type of system for killing microorganisms present in water is 254 nanometers (nm). The UV lamps that are used in this water treatment system are specifically designed to have the maximum UV energy at this frequency.
This UV water treatment system helps in deactivating certain viruses, bacteria and cysts that may be in the water. The untreated water travels through the system’s UV chamber where UV light exposure works on the water to sterilize and kill the microorganisms.
This water treatment method is basically a chemical-free disinfection activity conducted in a safe and effective way. It is capable of destroying 99.99 percent of disease-causing microbes. Some of the microorganisms that the UV water treatment method is able to kill are – E. coli, salmonella, coliform bacteria, polio, giardia, hepatitis, typhoid, viruses, cholera and more. This is the most recommended water treatment option for the disinfection of water and making it safe for drinking.
This is the water treatment method in which the water passes through the system that may include one or multiple filters. These filters for the purpose of eliminating taste, turbidity, color, odor or iron.
The design of the system can be loosely media tank-type or cartridge devices. Typically, the process may include adsorptive, mechanical, catalyst/oxidizing and neutralizing filters.
It is a process in which the water is converted into a vapor, heated and the vapor cooled and condensed to a liquid state and accumulated. In this process where water is removed from its contaminants or constituents, in comparison to other processes where the impurities or contaminants are eliminated from the water.
Distillation is the process in which the water is treated and purified by passing the water through one or more than one evaporation – condensation cycles and get water that contains essentially no dissolved solids. However, one major drawback of the distillation treatment method is that it requires major energy consumption in order to produce a small quantity of purified water.
Common Challenges In Water Treatment
While there are many water treatment methods available, it would be absolutely wrong to assume that water treatment is from challenges. Some of the common problems that the water treatment industry faces are –
Most water treatment plants are usually small sectors present in larger operating systems, for instance, a RO system designed to supply water to a 16-stage facility. The working team is large and the treatment process involved is greatly technical.
Management of such systems might require ongoing, extensive personnel training that too at every level within the team. Without offering the right training, the team might be incapable of understanding the complex aspects of their sector.
Therefore, only with quality ongoing training the water treatment industry can avoid this issue and assist employees across the facility to grow as industry experts with updated knowledge.
There are plenty of other challenges involved and the companies are doing their best to overcome them. Afterall, water treatment is a vital industry that needs further improvements and advanced solutions.