Water purification is an invaluable process that benefits everybody. Getting clean water from our sinks and showers is possible thanks to the stages of the water treatment process. Read on to learn the basics of water purification and the journey our water goes on to get into our homes.
The first step in the process is coagulation, which involves adding positively charged chemicals like salt or iron to the water to bind with negatively charged particles in the water like dirt and other common hazards. Binding these unwanted contaminants together creates larger particles that are easier to manage.
Flocculation is one of the most important stages of the water treatment process. After coagulation creates larger particles, specialists mix the water to form large, heavy particles called flocs. Many future steps in the process involve handling and removing these flocs.
Sedimentation is the process of allowing the flocs to settle in the water. After forming, flocs are denser and heavier than water, enabling them to sink to the bottom of the water and settle. This is similar to wastewater purification, which works to separate sewage from the water to create sludge.
Filtration is one of the most intensive and lengthy processes in creating clean, safe, drinkable water. Filtration involves taking all the water above the flocs and running it through different filters to remove multiple potentially harmful particles in the water. Some filters precisely remove sand, gravel, dust, and other common irritants that may remain.
After filtration, the water may be safe to drink, but many water treatment plants undergo the additional step of disinfecting the water. By adding trace amounts of chemicals like chlorine, water treatment specialists aim to remove any lingering bacteria or other hazards from the water. Plants ensure the amount of any disinfecting chemicals in the water is low enough that the water is safe for humans to drink. This process also keeps pipes clean and safe from bacteria.