The newsLINK Group - Water Purification and Filtration

Editorial Library Category: Mining Topics: Mining, Water Purification and Filtration Title: Water Purification and Filtration Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Few things in life are necessities, but clean, disease-free water is one of them. The United Nations has even said it classifies access to clean water as a basic human right. People need it to stay hydrated, to cook, and to bathe. Editorial: Water Purification and Filtration 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Few things in life are necessities, but clean, disease-free water is one of them. The United Nations has even said it classifies access to clean water as a basic human right. People need it to stay hydrated, to cook, and to bathe. Those who only have polluted water often become sick because of diseases in the water they drink; for example, approximately 1.8 million people every year develop and die from diarrheal diseases, like cholera, that were in the water they drink. Places that don’t have ready access to clean water are often poor in other ways, too. No water or polluted water is part of the poverty cycle. Women and children are typically the ones who are most affected by the need to get water in places where you can’t just turn on a faucet. Lack of an adequate water supply even affects education for children in third- world countries, because someone who carrying water from one place to another, or who is desperately sick, is someone who is also unable to go to school and learn useful skills that would then enable them to improve their economic situation. People tend to think about water as something that only affects countries with high rates of poverty, but it can affect industrialized nations as well. Many industries pollute water. That contaminated water then causes problems for anyone within the community. Basic purification traditionally consists of boiling water or purifying it with chemicals such as iodine and chlorine. The simplest method of filtration is boiling water in order to kill the microorganisms. Bacteria and protozoa die when the water begins boiling; after three minutes, the other microorganisms have died as well. The water might still have particles in it after being boiled, which means the water might need to be strained through cloth before it is usable. It can also contain chemical pollutants that make it taste bad. In addition, boiled water sometimes tastes stale. Chemical filtration is easy and does not cost much money, but the chemicals can cause problems. For example, someone who is pregnant or has a thyroid condition should not drink water that has been treated with iodine, and iodine can only be used for short periods of time (experts recommend less than three months). Chlorine is problematic because it is a poison and ingesting it has been linked to many health problems. Even though too much chlorine can hurt or kill someone, it loses the ability to disinfect water when it is more than six months old. In addition, timing matters: the chorine has to be added about 45 to 60 minutes before the water will be used. You are not supposed to treat the water with chlorine and then store it. Smaller particulates are more difficult to remove from water because of their size, so more sophisticated purification is often used to do the job. The size of the pores in a filter, as well as the durability of the filter, both affect the filter’s functionality. Filters are often made from ceramic, materials that are like compressed surgical paper, glass fiber, and hard- block carbon. Two common methods for purifying water are reverse osmosis and activated carbon. Reverse osmosis is effective for separating water from the contaminants that pollute it. It can get rid of asbestos, chlorine, lead and other toxic heavy metals, nuclear radiation such as radioactive plutonium or strontium, total dissolved solids, and turbidity (that is, the solid particles in liquid that make the water look cloudy or opaque). Activated carbon removes chemical pollutants that cause the water to smell and taste bad. The methods are often used together because reverse osmosis does a good job of removing particulates and microorganisms and the activated carbon finishes the purification process by making the water taste good again. In addition to reverse osmosis and activated carbon, people also use deionization and distillation. Not all water needs to be purified, but most water needs some combination of filtering and purification.