Before 1908, none of the states in the United States had any type of water treatment system. The filtration process began when New Jersey became the first state to start routine disinfection to give citizens access to clean drinking water. As other states followed the lead of New Jersey’s new water treatment methodology, diseases such as cholera and typhoid decreased dramatically.
Today, almost all the water we encounter in our homes has been filtered. Removing or reducing unwanted chemicals and microorganisms through disinfection, physical filtration, adsorptive filtration, oxidation/reduction, and chemical exchange make us feel safe and makes the water satisfying to drink.
How Water Treatment Systems Work
There are a wide variety of water filtration methods and systems in the world, each with its own unique benefits. However, most modern systems follow some combination of the same steps to ensure optimum safety for consumers. Although the type of treatment system and its filtration depends on local laws and the purpose of the water, there are still 5 basic steps for most types of water treatment:
5 Basic Steps for Water Treatment
1. Coagulation is usually the first step in water treatment. Chemicals with a positive charge (such as certain salts, aluminum, or iron) are added to the water, neutralizing the negative charge from dirt and other dissolved particles in the water. Coagulation causes the particles to bind with the chemicals and form slightly larger particles, which can be more easily removed.
2. Flocculation is the second step of water treatment. In this step, the water is gently mixed, causing the particles from the coagulation to form larger, heavier particles called “flocs.” Many pathogens are removed through this process, allowing clean water to be separated from harmful bacteria and disease-carrying organisms.
3. Sedimentation is the third step of water treatment. In sedimentation, suspended solids are removed by using gravity to separate the clean water from any eroded particles. Particles setting out of suspension are called sludge.
4. Filtration is the fourth step of water treatment and the water through a series of filters made from various materials, like sand and charcoal, trapping and clearing any solids from the water. Filtration removes dissolved particles and germs. Often, activated carbon filters are also used to help remove any strong odors at this stage. There are different methods for precisely how filtration systems work, such as ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis, which may be used depending on the water’s source and intended usage.
5. Disinfection is commonly the last step in the water purification process. Water treatment systems may add one or more chemical disinfectants like chlorine, chloramine, or chlorine dioxide to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, or viruses. Disinfection helps kill germs living in pipes as the water travels through them.
Balancing chemicals in this stage is especially important as too many of the chemical compounds can be harmful to humans if consumed in larger quantities. Some modern systems avoid using chemicals by using ultraviolet light to achieve this. Still, UV-disinfected water can pick up germs as it travels from the treatment system to your taps. Hence, why people still use the water treatment system.
5 Signs Your Home Needs a Water Filtration System
While municipal water goes through basic filtration based on local laws, these guidelines often follow minimum requirements, leaving plenty of room for improvement. You can ensure that your family stays safe and healthy by staying alert for signs as to whether or not you need to install a filtration system for your home.
Here are five signs your home needs a water filtration system:
One of the most obvious signs that you need to upgrade your water filtration system is if your water has any unpleasant taste. Water everywhere tastes slightly different depending on factors like mineral content and the chemicals added to the municipal system. However, differences in taste should be relatively mild. You may need better filtration if you or your family notice more robust or distinctive flavors.
Generally speaking, tap water should be clear and clear of cloudiness. However, there are many reasons your water might be cloudy (some more concerning than others). It is worth noting that, sometimes, water comes out of the tap with tiny bubbles, making it appear temporarily cloudy, but this should settle quickly. If your water comes out hazy without settling after a minute, it could be a sign of contaminants.
Just like your water should be clear from any haze, it should also be colorless. Red or brown colors in your water can signify old, rusty pipes. Additionally, any time tap water has a noticeable color or leaves behind a colored mark, it’s important to investigate and find the source of the discoloration.
Like our first point about taste, clean water should have very little smell. While contaminated water may not have a discernible flavor, strong smells can mean that you need better filtration. As we mentioned earlier, activated carbon during the filtration process can help with odors, but getting your water checked is the best way to determine the source of unwanted odors.
The most critical measure of the water in your home is the ability to keep you healthy and hydrated. If people in your home feel sick from drinking tap water, it’s essential to get your water tested by professionals.
While harmless minerals in different places can cause temporary discomfort when getting used to the tap water in a new home, your drinking water should never be unsafe. Even if drinking your water doesn’t produce noticeable effects, everyday applications like showering, cleaning, or any other water use should not cause you, your family members, or your pets to feel sick.
Installing the Right System
If you find yourself dealing with any of the issues mentioned above, installing a new water treatment system for your home or business can help keep your family healthy.
At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. With our industry-leading filtration systems, you can enjoy safer, clearer, and more delicious water through every tap and appliance in your home.
Don’t wait to find out about contamination when it’s already too late. Proactively protect your household with pure, delicious water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!