Freshwater is an expensive commodity. The social and economic status of people’s living standards is deeply associated with the grade of water resources. In our society, the utilization of water resources, portable water availability and safe supply of freshwater are of great significance to promote economic and social development. For both residential and commercial usage, it is important to know what is the best type of water filtration system because it directly relates to the health of people. Any progressive society prioritizes continuous safe and freshwater supply to its citizens.
What are Water Purification Systems?
Water purification simply means the elimination of different contaminants such as chemicals (pollutants, toxic and heavy metals etc.), biological contaminants (algae, fungi, viruses etc.), suspended solids and dissolved gases from water. Needless to say, there is no single method to purify water. It depends on the applications, resources used and other factors.
There are principally three methods used in the water purification process:
- Physical processes such as filtration, sedimentation and distillation
- Biological processes such as sand filters and active carbon
- Chemical processes such as flocculation, chlorination and UV light treatment
Public Health Benefits of Water Purification System
In India, especially in rural regions with limited resources, the biggest challenge for the governmental bodies is to provide clean water to people. Rural areas have fresh water problems of the greatest magnitude. This is because fresh water is generally carried from contaminated surface areas, and contaminated by coliform bacteria and viral pathogens. The problem is further compounded by lack of sanitary facilities, faulty hygiene practices and recurrent floods during rainy seasons.
The most common approach in rural regions is manual water purification systems such as boiling of water, water purification tablets or drops, travel-size sediment filters, activated charcoal, etc. There are other common approaches to prevent microbial contamination including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. The reverse osmosis or RO filtration method is known as an effective method to solve the problem in rural regions, nevertheless, these membrane devices are expensive and tend to clog if proper flushing methodology is missing.
Types of Water Purifier Technology
There are primarily four types of advanced water purification technologies available in the market. There are simple water purifier technologies that are inexpensive but not so useful, especially in the case of regions where contamination is high. Advanced water purifiers using membrane technology are used in commercial as well as residential establishments for total removal of contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Technology
In the last decade, RO has been improvised a lot, especially in terms of accessibility to the general public and the price of equipment. These machines are now compact, and simple and provide better effluent quality. The choice of reverse osmosis is natural, both for small and medium-sized water treatment stations as well as for domestic purposes. Reverse osmosis technology can eliminate almost all kinds of water contaminants. The technology gives a guarantee of safe drinking water through:
- removal of salt and hardness
- removal of organic matters
- removal of microorganisms
- removal of heavy metals
Ultraviolet Purification Technology
UV water purification method uses ultraviolet light to kill microbes, cysts, microorganisms, etc. in water. It is one of the most effective methods to decontaminate water from harmful organisms. The radiation irradiate the water and penetrate the cells of microorganisms and viruses to disable them to reproduce. Once the microorganisms and viruses fail to reproduce they eventually die. There are separate filters installed in the purifier that remove the dead germs. UV technology is usually utilized with other kinds of filtration processes such as RO or activated carbon filters.
UF (Ultrafiltration) Water Purifier
One of the healthiest water purification systems is ultrafiltration water purifiers that can easily separate water and other particles present in the water. When polluted water is passed through the system (UF membrane), suspended solids, heavy metals, viruses and other microbes are trapped in the membrane. This system is usually installed in places where chemical contamination is low.
Activated Charcoal Purification Method
Activated charcoal eliminates pesticides and toxic chemicals like chlorine in the water. Activated carbon uses the adsorption method to purify water. It means the chemicals, heavy metals and other contaminants stick to the activated charcoal surface. The best thing about activated charcoal is, it improves the life of RO membranes by blocking chlorine and other particles that are potentially damaging factors for membranes.
Iron Removing Filtration Technology
It is an effective way to deal with iron and manganese ions in the water. However, it is important to take care of different parameters such as water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and other factors. There are different kinds of equipment available in the market, and it is important to follow backwash rates, pH levels, water temperatures and other limitations.
Method of Iron and Manganese Removal
Various companies implement multiple techniques to remove ions from the water. They consider multiple factors before considering the appropriate method of eliminating ionic concentration of the water.
The main principle is to convert dissolved iron and manganese ions into undissolved compounds. Further, these undissolved ions can be removed through a single-stage or two-stage separation process.
The best method of removal of ions is through the iron removal filtration method. There are also several other methods such as:
- Oxidation by aeration
- Removal of iron and manganese ions by oxidizing agents
- Alkalization of Fe and Mn ions
- Contact filtration of iron and manganese ions
- Ion exchange method to the removal of ions
- Fe and Mn ions removal through biological filtration
Benefits of Water Purification Systems
- Installing advanced water purification systems in homes and commercial establishments will ensure safe and pure potable water.
- RO and UF technologies are advanced purification systems that facilitate the removal of disease-causing microorganisms.
- Toxic metals or heavy metals can be effectively removed by activated charcoal technology.
- Advanced water purification systems do not remove essential minerals from the water.
- Water purifiers have high storage capability, which essentially means these purifiers can store a good amount of water.
- These purifiers have high-speed filtration capacity, almost 8-10 liters of water filtration in an hour.
- Water purification technologies are highly sustainable and help in reducing the usage of bottled waste.
Water purification systems for both domestic and commercial usage have drawn much attention over the past decade. The decreasing availability of freshwater and increasing water contamination paved the way for new water purification technologies. The benefits are huge, also these technologies are easily implemented in all kinds of settings.