Water Treatment

Treatment for drinking water production involves the removal of contaminants from raw water to produce water that is pure enough for human consumption without any short term or long term risk of any adverse health effect. In general terms, the greatest microbial risks are associated with ingestion of water that is contaminated with human or animal (including bird) faeces. Faeces can be a source of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths. The destruction of microbial pathogens is essential, and commonly involves the use of reactive chemical agents such as suspended solids, to remove bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi, and minerals including iron and manganese. These substances continue to cause great harm to several lower developed countries who do not have access to water purification.

Measures taken to ensure water quality not only relate to the treatment of the water, but to its conveyance and distribution after treatment. It is therefore common practice to keep residual disinfectants in the treated water to kill bacteriological contamination during distribution.

Water supplied to domestic properties, for tap water or other uses, may be further treated before use, often using an in-line treatment process. Such treatments can include water softening or ion exchange. Many proprietary systems also claim to remove residual disinfectants and heavy metal ions.

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