Water can contain dirt, minerals and other impurities that can render it unfit for human consumption. Sometimes it can also be dangerous to your health, as impure water might contain harmful bacteria and other microscopic organisms. Purification of water ensures the removal of harmful organisms and other impurities from water, thereby making it clean and safe for human consumption. In this article, let us understand some of the most common and different Water Purification Techniques.
Why should we purify water?
- Water is the elixir of life.
- More than 70 percent of our body is comprised of water.
- We should purify water to remove contaminants and other microbes.
Best Water Purification Methods
Water Purification methods can fit into three major buckets, viz.
- Large scale purification.
- Medium scale purification.
- Small scale or domestic purification.
Large Scale Water Purification Systems
The major techniques for large water bodies like lakes or ponds are as follows.
Medium Scale Water Purification System
For water sources like springs or wells, the following techniques can be used.
- Usage of chlorine bleach.
- Usage of Iodine.
Small Scale Water Purification Systems
For domestic purification of water, we can use the below techniques.
- Iodine solution
- Straining through a cloth filter.
- RO filters.
Different Water Purification Techniques
Let’s look at some of the water purification techniques in detail.
Disinfection with Chlorine Bleach
Most often chlorine bleach is used in swimming pools to disinfect water. However, when used in moderate amounts, it can be used to eliminate bacteria and virus from water used for drinking. Chlorine is also used in the city or municipal water storage plants to disinfect water.
Home grade Chlorine or bleach contains 4% to 6% chlorine concentration and can be used to disinfect drinking water. According to Scientific American, it is ideal to use about 8 drops per gallon or 2 drops per liter of water. Allow it sit for thirty minutes before consumption, for the chlorine to work.
This technique is not only helpful at your home but can also be used when you are in the wild camping or trekking. Chlorine is effective against most bacteria and virus. However certain microbes like Norovirus and Giardia, are particularly resistant to chlorine and water needs to be treated for a longer duration to kill such organisms.
Water filtration is the most common method of purification that is used in most homes. Water filtration systems come in many sizes and shapes, and are popular mainly due to their ease of use. Filtration systems use multi level of purification methods. The first level would be a sedimentation filter of typically 0.2 micron pore size. It will filter sediments, heavy metals like copper and lead and large parasites.
The next level would be a active carbon filter which easily filter most chemicals and smaller parasites. Additionally, it also removes odor from water. Some filters also have additional UV treatment layer to remove micro organisms and other contaminants that escaped the previous level of filtration.
An advanced filtration system is the Reverse Osmosis or RO systems. These systems use a seven level filtration and a reverse osmosis system to add required minerals and salts back to the water. Thus it ensures that the water coming out of the system is not only safe but is also healthy and tasty.
Portable water filters are available these days which are convenient for outdoor travel and camping. When you go on trek often, you might have access to fresh water bodies like lakes or ponds. Although the water in them tastes good, it still needs filtration to remove sediments and bacteria. Luckily a portable water problem can solve this problem instantly and provide clean and safe drinking water.
Iodine is a powerful disinfectant and an important mineral that can prevent thyroid problems in humans. It can kill bacteria, virus and other harmful parasites at the molecular level. It is available in multiple forms like tablets, crystals or liquid.
However, we need to take acute caution in using the right amount of Iodine. Usage of Iodine in higher dosages can be lethal. Hence, this technique must be used only when there is no other alternative. Usually, one crystal of Iodine can be used to purify two thousand quarts of water.
This method uses plastic water bottles and sunlight. Ensure that water bottles are scratch free. Fill the bottle with water up to three quarters full, shake it to activate the oxygen for half-minute, fill water to the brim, cover and then place it horizontally in sunlight.
It would be ideal to place the bottles in a location which has extended sun light exposure. The required exposure would be about six hours. If the day is dull and cloudy expose the bottles for about two days.
Among all Water purification techniques, this method is the most ancient and popular method of purification till date. It is used in both urban and rural areas. Boiling technique can kill almost all types of microorganisms and make water safe and clean to drink.
However, it is ideal to filter the water initially using Alum or a cloth filter to remove sediments. Heat the water and allow it boil for at least three minutes. Allow the boiled water to cool and transfer it to a clean container. Cover and store the water to avoid recontamination.
Harmful effects of impure water
Consuming contaminated water can have dire effects on your health. Some of the most common water-borne diseases include diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and guinea worms. These are rampant in the countryside as people there are less aware of purification techniques.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million people die every year due to water contamination.
Importance of Water Purification
As we had discussed initially in this article, water is an important component of survival. Due to the numerous dangers lurking in it, most of which are not visible to human eye, it advised to take extreme precaution and purify water with best techniques.
We have tried to detail a few techniques in this article, which can be easily implemented in your home. It would also be good to explore other Water purification techniques to zero in on the right method that would suit your requirements. Keep in touch with our Water Softener Reviews for the latest information.