What Is Water Treatment and How Does It Work?

January 9, 2021

The United States has some of the safest drinking water infrastructure in the world. This is largely due to the ability to decontaminate that water in public treatment facilities before sending it out through municipal water lines.

Public water systems in Camden County, MO will use several different methods of water treatment to ensure that water is safe to drink in communities. Here are some of the most common steps used in water treatment and how they work:

  • Flocculation and coagulation: These are usually the very first steps in the water treatment process. During these processes, positively charged chemicals get added to the water, and that positive charge neutralizes the dirt’s negative charge, as well as the charges of other dissolved particles found in the water. When that happens, the particles combine with the chemicals to create larger particles known as “floc,” which need to be filtered out of the water.
  • Sedimentation: The process of sedimentation involves floc settling to the bottom of the water supply, as it’s heavier than the water surrounding it. The clean water can then easily be separated from the sediment.
  • Filtration: After sedimentation, the filtration process can begin. As the floc has reached the bottom of the water supply, the water over the top of the sediment is then sent through several filters, including sand, gravel and charcoal filters. These filters feature different pore sizes to make sure they’re removing a wide range of dissolved particles, including viruses, bacteria, dust, parasites, chemicals and other debris.
  • Disinfection: After the water finishes the filtration process, the facility may then add a disinfectant, such as chlorine or chloramines, to kill off remaining viruses, bacteria or parasites and to add some extra protection against germs to the water while it’s on its way to people’s homes and businesses.

The exact processes the water in your area goes through really depends on the quality of the water that comes through into the treatment plant. Surface water will require more treatment, because lakes, rivers and streams are much more likely to have pollutants and sediment than sources of groundwater, which are located much farther below the ground and are thus harder to contaminate.

In some areas, water supplies might also be infected with inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals or other contaminants.

Even if your water goes through multiple different treatment processes, you might still find it necessary to engage in further water treatment at your home. This could include adding a whole-house water filter (or a filter for a single tap), adding a water softener or using a reverse osmosis water treatment system. Even after treatment, the water in your municipality might have undesirable traits you wish to get rid of yourself at home. The type of equipment you install depends on those traits in the water.

If you have any questions about what water treatment is, how it works and what home or commercial solutions may be right for you, we encourage you to contact the team at Enviro-Line Co., Inc. in Camden County, MO today.

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