What is water treatment for?
The main function of water treatment is to make water potable or clean for the population, whether for industrial use or consumption.
In a world where water is an increasingly scarce resource, water treatment has become a priority for all human beings, so that it can be reused for whatever task is required. Fresh water in the world represents only 2.5% and of this amount only 0.4% is water for human consumption.
Importance of water treatment
Water is also known as the vital liquid and it is not for less because without it it is impossible for us to live. This is why its care and treatment is a priority if we want to have it forever. Having access to it is a fundamental right and yet a large percentage of the world’s population faces great difficulties in obtaining it.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 3 out of every 10 people in the world do not have safe and available water at home.
Most common water treatments
Drinking water treatment:
This is the process by which water is treated so that it can be consumed by humans without being harmful. This water is used for drinking, food preparation, sanitation, showers and industrial processes.
Water purification involves removing any substances that are toxic to humans, such as chromium, lead or zinc. Possible viruses that may reside in the water are also eliminated.
This method aims to eliminate pathogenic organisms found in the water. In many cases, water may contain viruses, bacteria and protozoa. To ensure the microbiological integrity of the water in the distribution network it is necessary to add a disinfecting agent such as free chlorine or chlorine dioxide.
Filtration consists of reducing the concentration of suspended solids in water or any liquid. The task of this process can be performed by a filter element or screen that retains solid particles while allowing fluid to pass through.
There are different types of filtration such as the following:
- Deep bed physical filtration
- Physical multimedia filtering
- Disc filtration
3 Purification of organic and inorganic contaminants
Purification eliminates what is not desired, therefore this process seeks to make water drinkable, eliminating minerals, salts, organic matter, metals, etc.
Most purifiers use activated carbon to adsorb contaminants, other types of purifiers include UV lamps, ion exchange resins and distillation, among others.
4 Final disinfection
This type of disinfection means the extraction, elimination and deactivation of pathogenic microorganisms in the water. The aim is to put an end to their reproduction and growth.
For this purpose, the most commonly used methods are:
- Ozone disinfection
- Ultraviolet light disinfection
This type of treatment is used for water to be used in industrial processes or production of goods. Water is polluted because of our daily activities and this makes it impossible to be used in activities such as agriculture, so it is important to make a correct treatment for its reuse and return to the ecosystem.
It is a WWTP dedicated to wastewater treatment, its main objective is to collect water from residential or industrial areas, remove pollutants and then return it to the water cycle. For use in irrigation, services or direct reuse. Among the various substances to be treated are residues, oil, sand, various filterable solids, compounds containing nitrates, ammonia and phosphates, among others.
1 Physical treatments
These are methods that apply physical separation, generally of solids. These methods are often dependent on the physical properties of the contaminants, such as viscosity, particle size, buoyancy, etc. These include screening, sedimentation, separation and filtration of solids.
2 Chemical treatments
These methods depend on the chemical nature of the contaminant or reagent that is introduced into the water. We can highlight iron and oxygen reduction, phosphate and nitrate removal, coagulation, electrochemistry, oxidation, ion exchange and more.
3 Biological therapies
These processes use biological processes and are therefore intended for the removal of colloidal contaminants. They are microorganisms that act on a substance in suspension converting it into a sedimentable solid. These can be aerobic or anaerobic processes, such as activated sludge, bacterial filters, anaerobic biodegradation or aerated lakes.
This process consists of treating sea water into potable water to supply those communities that have difficulty accessing fresh water.
There are several ways to minimize salt levels in water, but the most widely used process is reverse osmosis, which leads the market with 60% more implementation than other methods.
Other processes to desalinate water are distillation, freezing, hydrate formation, flash evaporation and electrodialysis.
Water treatment can prevent the following diseases:
- Diseases related to the ingestion of contaminants, such as diarrhea.
- Dengue or malaria
- Legionellosis, which can be caused by microorganisms found in aerosols.