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The Different Types of Water Treatment Systems: What You Need to Know

Nothing tastes as good as icy cold, sweet water on a hot day. And nothing can assault you more than when you turn on the faucet and you’re greeted by water that smells like rotten eggs. Clean water matters. Without a clean, reliable water supply, a first-world country can quickly and easily devolve into a third-world country.  

When you look at worldwide water consumption, unclean water causes one in five deaths in children under the age of five. Experts link 80 percent of illnesses to poor sanitation conditions and unclean water. Clean water creates healthy, safe, thriving communities.  

Even if you live in a community with water experts have rated safe for consumption, you may not have palatable water. Clean water can still have a rotten smell. Basic water treatment systems can turn your unpalatable water into something that quenches your thirst on the warmest of days.  

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Different Types of Water Treatment Systems

When it comes to water treatment systems, you have two basic types. You can have a treatment system that treats the water for a community supply of water. You can also have a system that treats individual homes.  

Community Water Treatment Systems 

A community water treatment system treats an entire community supply of water. We’d like to believe the United States has completely secure drinking water, that you could turn the tap on in any community and drink freely without worrying about any waterborne germs.  

However, our water sources still can be contaminated. Industry and agriculture are two of the primary sources that pollute drinking water sources. Solvents, petroleum, and metal waste can leech into aquifers, contaminating drinking water. 

Rainwater can wash animal waste into water sources as well, contaminating an entire community’s supply. A community water treatment system thus applies to all of the community and not individual households. Everyone benefits from it. They can protect households from waterborne germs like E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Giardia intestinalis, and other pathogens.   

Household Water Treatment  

A household water treatment is a water treatment system specific to one household. It will treat and purify the water in that home. You can attempt to use a common purifier like a pitcher or a faucet add-on, or you can have a system professionally installed. The Environmental Protection Agency sets specific standards for drinking water in the United States. Still, many homeowners would like to have even cleaner water.  

Home water treatment systems are set up to remove impurities that public systems do not touch. If you have a household member with a compromised immune system, then a water purifying system makes sense. That household member needs extra precautions to stay safe.  

Household water treatment systems take on one of two forms. The first, a point-of-entry system will purify the water immediately after the water goes through the water meter but before it enters the house. With a point-of-entry system, all the water that enters the home is purified.  

Second, point-of-use system treats water in batches. Then it delivers the water to a specific tap in the home. With a point-of-use system, only specific faucets receive purified water.  

The Different Types of Water Treatment Processes

Community water treatment systems have a few different treatment processes. Here are some of the most common ones.  

Coagulation and Flocculation 

This is the first part of water treatment. A water treatment specialist adds chemicals to the water supply. These chemicals have a positive charge. Dirt carries a negative charge, so the positive charge of the added chemicals then neutralizes the dirt’s negative charge. These particles bind themselves to the chemicals and create floc or larger particles.  

Sedimentation 

In the sedimentation stage, the weighty sediment or the floc settles to the bottom of the water supply tank.  

Filtration 

The coagulation process removes larger pieces of dirt. Filtration then catches other impurities. Even though the water may look clean at this point, it’s not safe.  

So in the filtration portion of the water treatment process, clear water at the top of the water supply tank passes through different-sized filters which then catch various sizes of particles. The filters remove dust, parasites, viruses, chemicals, and bacteria during this time. 

Disinfection 

At this point, water specialists add disinfectant to the purified water. This disinfectant could be something like chlorine or chloramine. It will kill bacteria, viruses, and remaining parasites, thus protecting the water from germs when it goes into its final destination.  

Each community water treatment plant treats water differently because each plant is dealing with a different quality of water. For example, groundwater does not require as much treatment as surface water. Surface water comes from lakes, streams, and rivers and thus has more potential for sediment and pollutants.  

Depending on their environment, some water supplies can also have other chemicals in them including disinfection by-products and radionuclides. Water treatments can also control the formation of these chemicals or remove them altogether.  

Why Water Needs to be Treated and a List of the Basic Types of Water Contaminants

You may have clear water coming from your tap, but clear water does not necessarily mean drinkable water. Here are four different types of contaminants that can infiltrate your water system.  

  1. Chemical: Both natural and man-made chemicals qualify as chemical contaminants. Bleach, pesticides, nitrogen, salts, toxins that bacteria make, metals, and drugs for humans and animals all qualify as chemical contaminants.  
  2. Physical: You can see physical contaminants. This is the algae or dirt or sediment that come from soil erosion.  
  3. Biological: These are the living creatures that you cannot see in your water. Experts also refer to them as microbes or microbiological contaminants. Bacteria, protozoan, parasites, and viruses all qualify as microbial or biological contaminants. 
  4. Radiological: Radiological contaminants emit ionizing radiation because they have an unbalanced number of neutrons and protons. They are unstable atoms of contaminants like plutonium, uranium, or cesium.  

Each of these contaminants can cause long-term and short-term health problems. For example, long-term exposure to chlorine can lead to bladder cancer. Plus, sometimes your water just tastes and smells bad when it has contaminants in it.   

General Information About Water Treatment Before Hitting the Pipes In Your Home

Every community has some sort of a water-treatment plant to comply with EPA standards for drinking water. Most follow the methods mentioned above that include coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.  

Many communities also add fluoride into their drinking water supply. The American Dental Association has stated that fluoride can prevent cavities and make your teeth stronger. It can even reverse tooth decay in its initial stages.  

If you’re wondering what your specific community does to treat water, you can access a Consumer Confidence Reports or CCR. Water suppliers must provide this annual report with information about the quality of your local drinking water. The report will explain your water source, as well as the contaminants that water officials have found in the water. The report will also have information on what you can do to protect your drinking water.  

The Benefits of Having a Water Treatment System

As you can see, a community water treatment system does a lot to rid your drinking water of dangerous chemicals. A home water treatment system does even more. Here are a few of the things that make a water treatment system valuable.  

You Have Better Water Quality 

If you think you already have decent water quality, a good filtration system will make it even better. Community treatment systems will take out the major contaminants, but they will not make your water, bottled-water quality like a home system will.  

You Have Fewer Contaminants 

A community filtration system will remove the contaminants from the original water source. However, you may have contaminants from your own home.  

For example, if you have old water pipes, you could have rust or soil sediments in your water after the water has gone through a community treatment plant. A home water treatment system will ensure you have safe drinking water.  

You Save the World 

In 2017, experts estimate the United States went through 50 billion plastic water bottles. When you have a home water treatment system, you do not need plastic water bottles. Plus, you save water. When you get water from the tap, you take only what you can drink. When you get water in a water bottle, you need to drink the entire bottle or end up throwing it away.  

You Have Better Tasting Water 

Filtered water just tastes better. It doesn’t have the smell or taste of regular tap water. The chemicals used to treat your water also make it taste a little funky, but a home filtration system can remove that taste.  

Why People Choose Water Treatment Systems

Water filtration systems are expensive. They take time and energy to install, and they’re one more thing you need to maintain. So why do so many people choose water treatment systems?  

1. For Your Health

Water is essential for life. Women need at least 2.7 liters of water a day, and men need 3.7 liters. Water does more than just quench thirst, but it’s essential for cellular functioning.  

Clean water means that much more for good health. If you’re ingesting 2.7 liters of contaminated water a day, you’re causing more harm than help. So people choose water treatment systems to build their health. Contaminated water can lead to cancer, influenza-like symptoms, negative prenatal effects, and gastrointestinal illnesses. So while you might think you’re just getting a drink of water, you could be poisoning yourself if you do not have a home water treatment system.  

Great water treatment systems will filter out the bad and keep in the good. They will leave traces of the natural minerals that your body needs.  

2. For the Cost

Some people avoid contaminated water by buying bottled water. However, bottled water gets expensive. Some experts estimate that Americans spend up to 300 times more for bottled water than they do for tap water.  

Water from your home that goes through a home filtration system will cost you between ten and twenty cents a gallon. Bottled water costs over $1.00 a gallon.  

The initial cost of a filtration system may seem a little spendy since it averages between $750 and $2,300. With the difference between bottled and filtered water, though, you do not have to wait long to recuperate your cost for an in-home filtration system.  

3. Food Tastes Better

When you cook, your final product will be as good as the quality of your ingredients. So if you begin with water that smells and tastes funny, your food will smell and taste funny. However, when you use filtered water, you end up with better tasting food overall. This means you will cook more from home and spend less money on takeout as well.  

4. You Have and Make Less Waste

Americans as a whole throw away approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles every year. When you use a home water treatment system, you eliminate the need for plastic water bottles. You can use your reusable water bottle and fill it with delicious, treated water. Even if you do recycle your plastic, when you use a water treatment system, you have much less waste to deal with. Your recycle bin will be even less full, and your life will be simpler.  

What Is a Water Filter and How Does It Work?

The term water filter is a broad term referring to any type of filter that sifts impurities from water. It can have several layers to it that take out contaminants one layer at a time. Thus anything that removes particles from your water is a filter or a filtration system.  

Filtration is a pretty simple process. The finer the filter, the finer the particle that stay behind. Filters can take out something as large as grains of sand and as small as bacteria.  

Filter, Save, and Live

Water treatment systems save money, waste, and lives. When you install a filter system for your home, you reduce the chances of contracting water-borne illnesses not to mention life-altering afflictions like cancer.  

If you’re interested in a top-of-the-line water treatment system for your home, contact us. We’d love to help.

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