Posted: Monday, 20 June 2022
The processes involved in purifying water can be achieved individually or as part of a process. No matter how water is stored or sourced, it requires reliable disinfection methods suitable for those conditions.
Water purification is essential to remove solids and harmful pathogens that can be life-threatening! The most suitable disinfection methods may depend on location, level of contamination and quantity of water. Let’s take a look at the five main ways we can purify water.
Let’s begin with the simplest water purification method; boiling. Boiling water will effectively kill most organisms that may be present, rendering it safe to drink for humans. (Once it’s cooled down, of course). All you need is a heat-proof container and a source of heat. It’s a time-tested method that’s worked for centuries to effectively remove contaminants from water.
- Simple to use
- Requires few items
- Large quantities can be purified at once
- High energy costs
- Doesn’t remove sediment
Filtration is effective in removing small particles from the water making it safe to drink. Many water treatment plants use large-scale filtration as part of their water treatment processes. It is also available for consumer use to filter tap water in hard water areas. Filtration involves water passing through fine sand-like material and carbon granules to remove largely organic materials.
- Removes sediment
- Requires no energy
- Suitable for use at home or on the go
- The filtration process is slow
- Does not remove all contaminants
- Filters need to be replaced regularly
Distillation uses heat to collect drinking water in the form of vapour. Water is heated to its boiling point until it vapourises and collects on a condenser where it cools. As it cools, the vapour condenses back into water that is safe to drink. Distillation works because water has a lower boiling point than other contaminants, which remain after the water is boiled away. It’s not a fast process and is probably more practical for purifying small quantities of water.
- Reliably removes bacteria and viruses
- Removes soluble minerals that harden water
- Useful in developing nations with non-municipally treated water
- Very slow process
- Needs to be repeated several times to ensure water purity
- Strips water of natural trace elements making it very acidic
Chlorine is a powerful chemical used by many water treatment plants in their water purification processes. Chlorine can eliminate the majority of germs, parasites and other harmful organisms but it needs careful regulation as too much chlorine can be harmful to humans.
- Low cost
- Ease of production
- Most commonly used disinfectant
- The extra process to remove it from drinking water
- Handling of dangerous chemicals is required
- Careful monitoring is required to ensure the correct quantity is used
- Too much chlorine is hazardous to health
5: Ultraviolet Light
UV light can be used to help purify water and is a growing technology in water treatment systems. UV light is divided into three bands; UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-C light has the shortest wavelength and is the most harmful to living organisms. UV can help neutralize chlorine-resistant pathogens and is used in purification systems that do not require chlorination treatments. No additional chemicals are needed and there is no chemical residue.
- Chemical additive-free disinfection
- Continuous operation
- Efficient for small and large-scale disinfection
- Easy to maintain the system
- Reduced efficacy in murky water
- Requires a power source
- Obstructions can block UV light and reduce the effectiveness
Clean and safe water is achievable almost anywhere in the world with these purification methods. While each method has its pros and cons, a combination of at least two within a purification system can greatly increase its effectiveness.
Alpha-Purify manufactures and supplies high-quality medium-pressure UV lamps for a wide range of OEMs for use in water purification systems. Contact our UV disinfection experts today for a quote.