5 Most Common Types of Water Purification
Distillation is an extremely effective, very simple, but high-energy method of water purification. It involves bringing water to a vigorous boil. The evaporated steam is then condensed in a separate chamber and stored for use. This method of purification can remove a huge variety of contaminants from heavy metals to microbes.
Sediment filtration is another very simple method of water purification. In fact, it’s the most basic form of filtration. These filters effectively remove suspended solids such as sand, silt, scale, and clay. However, sediment filters are ineffective in removing pathogenic microbes, heavy metals, pesticides, and nitrates (chemical fertilizers). In practice, these filters are often used in conjunction with activated carbon filters and chlorination treatment.
Activated Carbon Filtration
Activated carbon filtration uses either pellet or powdered activated carbon to remove toxins. The key to understanding its effectiveness is understanding its manufacturing process. Activated carbon is made by furnacing organic material (usually coconut husks) at temperatures in excess of 900°C. These exceedingly high temperatures cause microfissures and pores to form on the surface of the carbon particles. The pores and fissures render the carbon both absorbent and adsorbent meaning that it adheres both liquids and dissolved solids to its surface area. It’s highly effective at removing mineral contaminants and chlorine but cannot remove water-borne viruses or solid waste.
Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection
Ultraviolet light is effective at sterilizing water of microorganisms including pathogenic E. coli. UV light kills cells by damaging the DNA by initiating a reaction between two molecules of thymine (an amino acid forming part of the double-helix). Artificial UV light sources are relatively energy-efficient and highly effective. However, UV disinfection is only ever a step in a more comprehensive purification system because it cannot remove particulate matter or chlorine taste and smell.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration
Reverse osmosis filtration works by passing contaminated water through a semipermeable membrane. Semipermeable membranes are sheets with pores as small as 0.0001 microns. This is fine enough to remove almost all contaminants including microbes and heavy metals. These high-tech filters alone are not enough to treat highly polluted water since they cannot remove all pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in industrial effluent.
Which Water Purification System Is Right For Me?
Figuring out which water purification system is right for your particular situation needs expert analysis of on-site water quality, required usage, and municipal bylaws. Water Utility Solutions (WUS) experts have decades of experience in providing turnkey, fully integrated water treatment systems. They operate in Western Cape and are always ready for consultation.