Different Types of Water Contaminants and How to Treat Them

In Water Tech by The LeverEdge

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Water is a vital resource for our daily lives.

Here in the US, the vast majority of municipally supplied water is generally safe to consume, but it can contain various contaminants that may pose risks to our health and the environment.

In this post, we explore common water contaminants found in residential water supplies, including bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, and sediments.

We also delve into specific treatment methods and technologies available to address each type of contaminant, ensuring access to safe and clean drinking water for everyone.

Bacterial Contamination

Bacteria such as E. coli and coliforms are common microbial contaminants that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

To treat bacterial contamination, the following methods can be employed:

  • Chlorination: Chlorine is added to water to kill bacteria and disinfect the supply. It is a widely used and effective method for treating water on a large scale.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection: UV light is utilized to deactivate bacteria by disrupting their DNA, rendering them harmless. UV disinfection is often used as a secondary treatment method.

Chemical Contamination

Chemical contaminants in water can include pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and more.

Treatment methods commonly employed to address chemical contamination include:

  • Activated Carbon Filtration: Activated carbon filters adsorb and remove organic chemicals, chlorine, and some heavy metals. They are effective for treating taste and odor issues as well.
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO): RO systems utilize a semipermeable membrane to remove a wide range of chemical contaminants, including heavy metals, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. RO is highly effective but may require additional pre-treatment.
  • Distillation: Distillation involves heating water to produce steam, which is then condensed to remove contaminants. It is effective for removing many chemical contaminants but is energy-intensive.

Heavy Metal Contamination

Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium can leach into water from natural sources or through industrial activities.

The most common treatment method for heavy metal contamination is ion exchange, where ion exchange filters replace heavy metal ions with harmless ions, effectively removing them from water. This method is particularly useful for removing lead and other heavy metals.

Sediment Contamination

Sediments in water can include sand, silt, rust, and other suspended particles. While not necessarily harmful, sediment can affect water quality and clarity.

Treatment methods to address sediment contamination include:

  • Sediment Filtration: Sediment filters, such as those made of cloth, sand, or ceramic, physically trap and remove suspended particles from water, enhancing its clarity and quality.
  • Settling and Filtration: Allowing water to settle in a container before filtering it can help separate larger sediment particles. Filtration with a fine mesh or cloth can then remove any remaining suspended particles.

Learn More about How to Improve Water Quality

The team at The LeverEdge is passionate about helping businesses and homeowners improve the quality of the water they use every day.

To learn more about the water quality systems and solutions available from your local LeverEdge dealer, contact us today.

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