- Safe drinking water is the birthright of all humankind – as much a birthright as clean air.
- The majority of the world’s population, however, does not have access to safe drinking water. This is certainly true in most parts of Africa and Asia. Even in relatively advanced countries such as India, safe drinking water is not readily available, particularly in rural areas.
- One reason safe drinking water is of paramount concern is that 75 percent of all diseases in developing countries arise from polluted drinking water.
- Knowledge about how to make water safe for consumption is rare in most developing countries.
- We simply must do a better job of raising public awareness and understanding about the nature of the problem and the technologies and strategies that are available to address it.
- Safe drinking water is a human birthright – as much a birthright as clean air. However, much of the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water. Of the 6 billion people on earth, more than one billion (one in six) lack access to safe drinking water.
- Moreover, about 2.5 billion (more than one in three) do not have access to adequate sanitation services. Together, these shortcomings spawn waterborne diseases that kill on average more than 6 million children each year (about 20,000 children a day). Water covers 70 percent of the globe’s surface, but most is saltwater.
- Freshwater covers only 3 percent of the earth’s surface and much of it lies frozen in the Antarctic and Greenland polar ice.
- Freshwater that is available for human consumption comes from rivers, lakes and underground sources and aquifers. Together these sources account for just 1 percent of all water on earth. Six billion people depend on this supply and a significant portion of the world’s population now face water shortages.
Techniques of water purification
Defluoridation is the downward adjustment of the level of fluoride in drinking water. Worldwide, fluoride is one of the most abundant anions present in groundwater. Fluoride is more present in groundwater than surface water mainly due to the leaching of minerals. Groundwater accounts for 98 percent of the earth’s potable water. An excess of fluoride in drinking water causes dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. The World Health Organization has recommended a guideline value of 1.5 mg/L as the concentration above which dental fluorosis is likely. Fluorosis is endemic in more than 20 developed and developing nations.
Defluoridation of groundwater using brick powder as an adsorbent was studied in batch process. Different parameters of adsorption, viz. effect of pH, effect of dose and contact time were selected and optimized for the study. Feasible optimum conditions were applied to two groundwater samples of high fluoride concentration to study the suitability of adsorbent in field conditions. Comparison of adsorption by brick powder was made with adsorption by commercially available activated charcoal. In the optimum condition of pH and dose of adsorbents, the percentage defluoridation from synthetic sample, increased from 29.8 to 54.4% for brick powder and from 47.6 to 80.4% for commercially available activated charcoal with increasing the contact time starting from 15 to 120 min. Fluoride removal was found to be 48.73 and 56.4% from groundwater samples having 3.14 and 1.21 mg l−1 fluoride, respectively, under the optimized conditions. Presence of other ions in samples did not significantly affect the deflouridation efficiency of brick powder. The optimum pH range for brick powder was found to be 6.0–8.0 and adsorption equilibrium was found to be 60 min. These conditions make it very suitable for use in drinking water treatment. Deflouridation capacity of brick powder can be explained on the basis of the chemical interaction of fluoride with the metal oxides under suitable pH conditions. The adsorption process was found to follow first order rate mechanism as well as Freundlich isotherm.
Boiling water is the cheapest and safest method of water purification. Water sources and or channels of distribution may render your water unsafe. For example, parasites and germs are things you may not see by bare eyes, but their effects can be life threatening.
In this method, clean water should be brought to boil and left at rolling-boil for 1-3 minutes. For people living in high altitude areas, it is recommended to boil your water for longer than water boiled at lower altitudes. This is because water boils at lower temperatures in higher altitudes. Boiled water should be covered and left to cool before drinking. For water drawn from wells, leave it for compounds to settle before you filter out clean water for use.
Filtration is one of the effective ways of purifying water and when using the right multimedia filters it’s effective in ridding water of the compounds. This method uses chemical and physical processes to purify water and make it safe for human consumption. Filtration eliminates both large compounds and small, dangerous contaminants that cause diseases with a simple and quick filtration process.. Since filtration does not deplete all the mineral salts, water that has been filtered is considered healthier compared to water purified using other methods. It’s one of the effective water purification methods that utilize chemical absorption process that effectively removes unwanted compounds from water.
Compared to reverse osmosis, filtration is considered effective when it comes to selective elimination of much smaller molecular compounds such as chlorine and pesticides. The other factor that makes filtration less costly is that it does not require a lot of energy needed in distillation and reverse osmosis. It is an economic method of water purification because little water is lost during purification.
Distillation is a water purification method that utilizes heat to collect pure water in the form of vapor. This method is effective by the scientific fact that water has a lower boiling point than other contaminants and disease-causing elements found in water. Water is subjected to a heat source until it attains its boiling point. It is then left at the boiling point until it vaporizes. This vapor is directed into a condenser to cool. Upon cooling, vapor is reversed into liquid water that is clean and safe for drinking. Other substances that have a higher boiling point are left as sediments in the container.
This method is effective in removing bacteria, germs, salts and other heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Distillation is ideal for people who have access to raw, untreated water. This method has both advantages and disadvantages. A notable disadvantage is that it is a slow process of water purification. In addition, it requires a heat source for the purification to work. Although cheap sources of energy are being developed, distillation remains a costly process of purifying water. It is only ideal (effective and least costly) when purifying small quantities of water (It is not ideal for large scale, commercial or industrial purification).
Chlorine is a powerful chemical that has been in use for many years to treat water for home consumption. Chlorine is an effective water purification method that kills germs, parasites and other disease-causing organisms found in ground or tap water. Water can be purified using chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine. As an off-the-shelf water purification product, chlorine is cheap and effective. However, caution should be taken when using chlorine liquid or tablets to treat drinking water. For example, people suffering from thyroid problems should talk to a medical practitioner before using this product. When using chlorine tablets, it is important to apply them in heated water, as they dissolve well in water that is at 21 degree Celsius or higher. Chlorine tablets kill all bacteria leaving your water clean and safe.
If you are looking for the best ways of treating your water, Schultz Soft Water is your best source of advice on best water purification methods and custom solutions to your water purification needs. Reverse osmosis is the best option, whereas filtering is good for basic water tasks such as sediment and chlorine removal. Reverse osmosis covers a larger spectrum of contaminant removal.