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Water Treatment: How It Works and Why It Is Needed

Water is indeed one of the most important resources here on earth. Despite having large global water resources, humans can only access around 213 000 cubic kilometres of water. A typical household can consume around 200 litres of water a day for basic purposes like washing, cooking, and cleaning. This amount can vary depending on their location and access to water.

Aside from households, many other industries need water to function. Depending on the specific need, water treatment may need to be done to utilize water effectively for its desired purpose. This process allows the elimination of contaminants and other undesirable elements contained in the water. Not only is it crucial for industrial systems, but it is also important in ensuring public health and safety.

How Water Treatment Works

The presence of contaminants and pollutants in the water contribute to the development of deadly bacteria and viruses. Without proper decontamination, harmful water can end up in many households, putting millions of lives at risk. Luckily, water treatment methods have been developed to produce safe and usable water.

The standard processes of water treatment are described as follows:

  1. Coagulation/Flocculation – In this process, alum or liquid aluminium sulphate is added to the untreated water. This causes all the dirt particles to coagulate and form larger, heavier particles called flocs.
  2. Sedimentation – The flocs are then moved to sedimentation tanks, where they start to settle and formed into sludge.
  3. Filtration – The water then goes through a filter made from layers of sand and gravel to further remove impurities.
  4. Disinfection – Chlorine is used to disinfect the water before it is distributed. This is done to ensure that any harmful microorganism is killed and destroyed.
  5. Sludge Drying – The sludge removed through sedimentation and filtration is then transported to drying lagoons.
  6. Fluoridation – Water distributed for community supplies is then treated with an optimum concentration of free fluoride ion to reduce dental decay.
  7. pH Correction – Lastly, lime is added to adjust the pH level of water. This will also prevent corrosion of water distribution and plumbing systems.

Applications of Water Treatment

Water treatment is a crucial process in any residential water distribution system. Without it, everyone will be consuming and using unsafe water for their everyday needs. But aside from drinking water, there are many other applications of this method. These are just some of the facilities and industries that need water treatment solutions:

  • Hospitals and medical facilities – Water treatment systems are installed to supply high-quality, filtered, softened and pathogen-free water for hemodialysis. High purity water is also needed in laboratories and pharmaceuticals, as well as dental and medical surgeries.
  • Food processing – Food manufacturers use water in several processes, including product conveying, washing, cleaning operations, and the actual food production process. Water treatment solutions include cartridge and carbon media filters, water softeners, and ultraviolet disinfection.
  • Breweries – High-quality water is needed throughout the brewing process. Water treatment with good filtrations systems is needed to ensure that the plant operates smoothly and efficiently to produce the desired output.
  • Cooling Towers – Many large industries use cooling towers for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Water treatment is needed to remove impurities from the input water and the circulating water found in the system.

Water treatment solutions are needed for residential water use as well as many industrial applications. It involves a series of processes that remove all unwanted particles and microbes to ensure high-quality water is yielded for its intended use.

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