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A Complete Guide to Water Purification

A Complete Guide to Water Purification

When it comes to ensuring a safe water supply for residential, industrial, and commercial applications, water purification solutions are an indispensable necessity. Whether it is derived from a dug or drilled well, supplied courtesy of a local municipality, or obtained from recycled wastewater, water needs to be treated.

Specifically, purification is necessary because untreated water may contain harmful and dangerous levels of contaminants that include heavy metals, minerals, viruses, bacteria, and industrial by-products that can be injurious to health and therefore unsafe for consumption or use.

While a water treatment plant will disinfect the water to get rid of E-coli and other types of bacteria, instances of huge rain storms or other adverse weather systems that lead to flooding could overwhelm the municipal system. And this could introduce E-coli bacteria into the water supply. In fact, water can be contaminated on account of any of a number of reasons

Pathogens: These are disease-causing organisms, and they include viruses, bacteria, amoebas, and parasitic worms’ eggs and larvae.

Harmful Chemicals: Harmful chemicals include fertilizers, industrial waste, and pesticides that stem from human activities.

Chemicals/Minerals From Natural Environment: These chemicals and minerals include arsenic, fluorides, and common salt. There are also non-hazardous contaminants that could affect the look, taste, and odour of water.

According to one study, water treatment equipment demand in the U.S. was expected to increase 5.9% annually to hit $13 billion in 2017. The report added that the gains would be a function of increasing worries about health risks and environmental issues stemming from, among other things, biological contaminants and chemicals that can be found in water.

The report, meanwhile, looked at the $9.8 billion water treatment equipment market in the U.S. and focused on different products in the water treatment equipment space. What was clear is that water purification is something that is increasingly garnering attention.

In order to facilitate informed buying decisions when it comes to water purification system for residential, commercial, and industrial uses, this guide will explain the differences between the most common water purification systems and their most popular applications. It will become clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which means that buyers need to consider a number of different variables in order to find the ideal situation for their unique needs.

Ultraviolet Water Purification

Ultraviolet (UV) water purification treatment is an eco-friendly and chemical-free process that is highly effective in treating water. UV light for water purification is commonly employed for ensuring that water is safe for consumption for commercial, industrial, and residential applications.

The power behind UV is that it has the ability to eradicate illness-causing microorganisms such as bacteria like E. coli, viruses, and some protozoa that are resistant to chlorine. Chlorination is effective at targeting many pathogenic bacteria. However, it does not, at regular dosage amounts, eradicate all viruses, worms, or cysts. When it is used in conjunction with UV water purification or some other form of filtration, chlorination is effective as a purifier.

UV light creates radiation that targets the DNA of these harmful microorganisms and destroys them at their core. What this does is render these microorganisms sterile so that they can’t reproduce, and this means that the contaminants become harmless. By utilizing the right light spectrum, ultraviolet water purification systems successfully disinfect and purify water

While effective, UV water treatment equipment does have a noticeable drawback. The water will usually require softening or to be pretreated before UV application. Another potential problem with UV water treatment system is that such equipment is capable of treating microorganisms, but might not be able to filter out other contaminants such as heavy metals, lead, arsenic, calcium, chloride, or magnesium. What this means is that UV water treatment equipment is not a comprehensive solution and must therefore be used with filtration equipment to achieve the intended goal.

Another thing to consider is that UV light, which is fast, efficient, and does not produce possibly dangerous disinfection by-products, could potentially have an additional drawback. For instance, there is some research that suggests that bacteria might go into a dormant state post-UV disinfection. When bacteria go into a dormant state, they essentially go to sleep. The problem with this is that dormant bacteria can withstand hostile environments caused when they are deprived nutrients and oxygen, which is why they can in such a state withstand UV disinfection efforts. If this occurs, there is the chance that the bacteria could at a later period not only emerge from its dormant state, but also proliferate. This is why it’s critical to use UV water purification in conjunction with other measures.

Distillation Water Purification

Distillation water purification is actually a water treatment process derived from a natural phenomenon that occurs when the hydrologic cycle purifies water on Earth. In nature, the distillation occurs when the sun heats up large bodies of water such as oceans or lakes. As this happens, water vapors rise in the atmosphere and condense to form clouds. Then the condensation becomes heavy and returns to earth in the form of precipitation.

In its purest form without any pollution, this process creates the ideal form of purified water for consumption. Distillation water purification mimics the natural process to achieve a similar outcome of pure water.

In this copycat version, distillation starts when a when water is boiled by a heat source. Due to this process, the steam or water vapor rises and then condenses. A condenser then collects the now purified water, leaving behind the harmful contaminants that originally existed in the untreated water.

LIke with UV water purification, there are some downsides to using the distillation water purification methods. For instance, the water produced pursuant to the process ends up with acidic qualities since there are no minerals to balance the pH. What this means is that distilled water is inadvisable for long-term consumption by humans, animals, or vegetation.

Because of this shortcoming, this water purification method is better suited to industrial applications, like in the sterilization of equipment. This is why distillation water purification is widely used in the medical, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries.

Distillation treatment options usually get rid of the majority of dissolved materials. The boiling process also eradicates biological contaminants. However, some organic compounds might not be destroyed by distillation. It’s also important to know that distillation, while effective at removing contaminants, won’t eradicate all chemicals. So, while it will get rid of soluble minerals like phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium as well as heavy metals like mercury, lead and arsenic, it needs to be used with other water purification efforts in order to provide the needed performance.

Nanofiltration Water Purification

As far as water purification solutions go, nanofiltration is a fairly recent development on the landscape of impurity eradication. The process depends upon semi-permeable membrane filtration that filters out viruses and other organic molecules, particularly divalent ions that cause water hardness.

The nanofiltration water purification process necessitates applying pressure to untreated water, which forces this water through the membranes. This effectively separates the contaminated water from the clean water. Since nanofiltration removes natural and synthetic organic matter, the process is an excellent solution for creating softer water.

While the technology is effective, some industries may find the power sizes of nanofiltration membranes to be a negative to this technology. The reason is that the membranes pore sizes are around 0.001 micron, which is larger than other technologies like reverse osmosis. Nanofiltration also has a lower contaminant rejection rate. What this means in a practical sense is that the smallest of organisms, particularly those that have already been dissolved, can still seep through the membrane.

This also means that nanofiltration cannot be used for the desalination of water since it permits more salt to pass through its membrane than do those that have much smaller pores. Buyers that are in segments where membrane pore size is critical will want to consider this as they look after their water purification needs.

Nanofiltration as a water purification strategy is still widely successfully for the removal of heavy metals, pesticides from groundwater, wastewater recycling, and nitrate removal. As a result, this makes it an ideal solution for a number of sectors such as food processing, particularly in segments like dairy and juice production.

Reverse Osmosis Water Purification

A highly effective purification procedure, reverse osmosis is suitable for a wide variety of applications in residential, commercial, and industrial segments. This technology leverages semipermeable membranes with membrane pore sizes of about 0.0001 micron. What this means is that this technology can effectively filter out the smallest contaminants, particularly those that have been dissolved. Reverse osmosis technology, as a popular water treatment solution that is widely used, is at the heart of many commercial, industrial, and residential water systems. Because of its very small membrane pore sizes, reverse osmosis water purification can, in some instances, be preferable to solutions with larger membrane pore sizes.

The inner mechanisms of reverse osmosis include two pools of water that are separated by semipermeable membranes. As per the two separated pools of water, they include, firstly, the contaminated water pool and, secondly, the purified water pool.

The reverse osmosis system works by applying pressure to the contaminated pool of water. As this water works its way through the semipermeable membrane, the membrane not only blocks out impurities, but also permits clean water to pass through. So, a reverse osmosis system takes water from low purity to high purity by filtering out contaminants. This leaves unsafe water behind since the purified and therefore safe water will be collected on the other side.

Reverse osmosis is a proven solution that filters out harmful microorganisms, heavy metals, calcium, magnesium, trace prescription medications, pesticides, arsenic, and chlorine. As a water purification method, it is used by many industries and small business professions that require clean, healthy water for various purposes. As well, given that levels and types of contaminants can vary depending on time, reverse osmosis offers a reliable solution to address such risk so that harmful elements can be eliminated from source water.

Reverse osmosis water treatment solutions are so effective that they have been known to resolve long-standing boil water advisories set up by municipalities due to high levels of contaminants in the water. In the hospitality and food service spaces, reverse osmosis water is highly regarded for its superior taste, which is obviously a factor since such companies are focused on meeting the needs of their customers. This makes reverse osmosis water the preferred water purification standard for hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and restaurants where customer experience is a top priority.

How to Find the Right Water Purification Solution

The right solution for one buyer may not be the right solution for another buyer. A buyer who wants to ensure pure drinking water in her home won’t need to consider a solution that was specifically designed to meet the needs of commercial or industrial clients that may need to purify larger quantities of water. So, when it comes to finding the best option for water impurity issues, there is no one-size-fits all silver bullet. A range of variables come into play to impact the quality of water, so any solution – whether residential, commercial, or industrial – needs to be effective versus the variables in play.

Understanding which filtration system would be the best fit would first require knowing the impurities that need to be eliminated and the use of the water post-purification. This will help to create a shortlist of potential solutions to solve water impurity problems. Then buyers need to read up on the various technologies out there and, after factoring in the pros and cons, make a decision.

For those in the market for water purification solution but who aren’t sure how to proceed, one option to pursue before making a buying decision is to consult with a provider of such equipment to ascertain what options would be ideal to provide the level of functionality needed. Spending more than needed to pick up a solution that is overkill is a situation no buyer wants to encounter. By consulting with a professional solution provider, buyers can get the right solution the first time around.

From UV light purification, to distillation, to nanofiltration, to reverse osmosis systems, there are plenty of options available for treating water so that it is pure and safe for human consumption. Ultimately buyers need to know what these water purification systems entail, know what they are hoping to achieve by treating water, and then consider what solution would be best for them within their specific vertical.

Water purification systems are a must since there are many potential problems, some of them that are potentially life-threatening, that can occur due to contaminated water. So, finding the right solution to facilitate water purification is of the utmost importance. This is why buyers need to be deliberate and purposeful when it comes to buying the right solution for their needs.

filed under: Technical Articles

Category: Technical Articles

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