Your drinking water has lots of potentials as well as danger, which depend on what kind of water treatment it goes through before arrives in your glass. Despite understanding about the importance of constant hydration, many people are still in debate about quality of water and whether or not certain type of water is dangerous for health. However, you should start from understanding about the actual water treatment process, to know where your water comes from.
What is Water Treatment?
Basically, water treatment is a process of making potable water in industrial scale, which is different from water sterilization, a small scale practice of making water from natural source sterile with simpler procedures. The process also includes process to make water more environmentally friendly when it comes back to the nature after using. Water treatment must also be differentiated from wastewater treatment, which is a treatment process of already polluted water (including the one polluted by human waste).
Things that are removed from the water in treatment process are all sorts of contaminants such as bacteria, fungi, chemical pollutants, algae, sulfur, manganese and iron. The process, however, does not actually remove all minerals, but they must be still in acceptable limit (in fact, the minerals in water also contribute to daily nutrition intake). The industrial scale process also allows the end result to be distributed easily and evenly.
What Happens in Water Treatment Process
During the treatment process, there are basically two types of treatment process: physical and chemical processes. The physical processes are settling and filtration, while the chemical processes are coagulation and disinfection. All water treatment facilities in the world use these steps:
- Pre chlorination process to eliminate algae, other biological growths, as well as dissolved iron and manganese.
- Aeration, to further remove manganese and iron.
- Coagulation, to help with removing any colloid suspension.
- Sedimentation, to remove solids originally trapped inside the colloid suspension (floc).
- Filtration, the process of removing solid particles.
- Desalination, to remove excessive salt.
- Disinfection, to kill harmful bacteria.
While all water treatment facilities around the world use these steps, but there is no exact international standard in the details of the process. Also, the whole processes depend on the quality of water source in the first place. This is why many countries can have different qualities of tap water. However, water treatment facility is still important to keep dangerous diseases and health risks at bay. Special type of water treatment facility is distillation, which adds additional process to get water in its purest form.
Water Treatment and Your Daily Water Source
Basically, the safest option in consuming water is following the public regulations about potable water consumption. Some countries have their water safe to drink when it comes out of the faucet, while other countries require people to boil the water before consuming it, such as in many developing countries. You can buy bottled water from respectable brand or distilled water in special occasions when there is no potable water, but basically, water treatment process removes all the major contaminants in the water you consume.