Water Purifiers and Filters
Water Purifiers and Filters
The words “purified” and “filtered” can often be used interchangeably, but it might be worth noting the different processes involved.
In a technical sense, purification is the elimination of viruses and bacterial contamination; while filtration is more about the removal of chemical contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals or industrial waste.
Boiling, chemical treatment (chlorine or iodine) and ultraviolet light can all be used to eliminate organic contamination from water.
If you are harvesting your own water, chances are you are going to want to avoid any chemical contamination, so you’ll most likely want to use a method like ultraviolet purification. With ultraviolet purification, a germicidal lamp bombards the water with short-wave ultraviolet rays, which damage viruses, bacteria, mold and spores.
When it comes to municipal water purification, chlorine is the most common choice. On the one hand chlorine in water keeps biological contamination down, on the other chlorine itself represents a potential health risk to anyone drinking the treated water – we are after all biological organisms ourselves.
So, for water to be truly pure it is also necessary to remove non-biological contaminants.
The good news, for most of us, is that the water that comes out of our taps has already had some treatment and filtration. However, in order to deal with the elevated level of chlorine in treated water and various other non-biological contaminants, it is a good idea to filter the water before ingestion.
There are two basic filtration techniques. One, physical filtration, involves straining the water in order to remove remaining impurities and the other, chemical filtration, entails passing the water through an active substance that bonds with impurities and thus chemically removes them as the water passes through.
Methods of water purification
The most common systems for water purification are:
Carbon Filters – water is forced through layers of granulated material, which removes impurities. The activated carbon is particularly important in removing organic contaminants and chlorine. For most households, receiving good quality municipal water carbon filters should prove sufficient.
Reverse Osmosis – In the case of reverse osmosis, water is forced through various membranes that eliminate almost all contaminants. Favoured by anyone dealing with higher risk of contamination, reverse osmosis offers the most comprehensive protection against various contaminents.
Ion Exchange – used particularly for dealing with hard water, Ion-exchange filters trap harmful chemical substances and release less harmful ions. Typically this process is more about treating water for industrial use rather than consumption.
Distillation – Collecting water from steam is one way to ensure that many contaminants are eliminated. However, any contaminant with a lower boiling point than water will not be removed.
Water’s absorptive qualities mean that purity can never be taken for granted.
Regular maintenance and the right system are vital if you want to ensure water health and happiness.