An Inside Look at Tap Water Disinfection
Here in the United States we are accustomed to the convenience of turning on the tap and receiving fresh drinking water. But how many consumers actually know anything about the process their drinking water goes through before it reaches their kitchen faucet? The answer is very few. Many Americans never give a thought to how their water is treated or what chemicals water treatment facilities add to rid our drinking water of contaminants.
Let’s take a look at the most common steps water treatment facilities use to treat our drinking water supply.
- Coagulation and Flocculation
Chemicals with a positive charge are added to the water supply and the positive charge of these chemicals then neutralize the negative charge of dirt and any other dissolved elements. The large particles that are created from this process is called “floc”
During this next step, the heavier floc will settle on the bottom of the supply tank.
Now that the floc has settled, the clear water on the top is passed through water filters of various elements such as charcoal, sand and gravel. This water is also filtered through several different size pores in order to remove any residual particulates like bacteria, viruses, parasites, dust and chemicals.
Once the water has been through the filtration process, a disinfectant is then added such as chlorine or chloramine to kill any remaining bacteria, viruses and parasites. This chemical is also used keep germs at bay when it is piped out to the public.
As you can see this is quite a process our drinking water goes through to ensure it is safe to drink; and while the United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, it is still not without flaws. First and foremost is the addition of chemicals. Their purpose is for cleaning and disinfecting and while they normally do a great job of that, we are left drinking the residual chemicals, which can cause some serious health problems. Chlorine and Chloramine have both been associated with increased cancer risks. Chlorine in particular can react with organic matter in the water and produce carcinogenic Trihalomethanes which are NOT filtered out at the supply source.
The only way to ensure our drinking water does not contain these residual chemicals and any by-products produced from them is by utilizing a home water filtration system. There are drinking water systems available on the market that can filter out these unwanted chemicals as well as any many other contaminants that could have been missed in the initial filtration process. We drink water all the time and it just makes sense that we know exactly what we are drinking and not taking the chance that our water is contaminated by any of these chemicals and by-products.
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