Ever wondered why water purification is gaining so much traction?
Many people worldwide are searching for water purification methods so that they can quickly get rid of pollutants. Today we will be going through some interesting facts and the most common questions about water purification.
1. What Are the Four Methods to Purify Water?
There are four main methods for water purification.
Although most of these have individual variations, we will be focusing on the ones most commonly used and most effective for obtaining the most purified water possible.
The simplest way to decontaminate water is through boiling. Boiling is practical because it kills off 99% of germs and can even reduce some of the chemical compounds that may have infected the water.
If you want to purify water on a budget, boiling isn’t perfect, but it will sure do a good enough job. It’s also useful in case of emergencies where you need to decontaminate water and have no other option at your disposal.
Do note that some bacteria may be more resistant to high temperatures, so it is best to boil water for longer to get the purest water you can obtain through this simple method. Keep in mind that altitude also affects how long you have to boil water – anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes.
The higher the altitude, the longer you have to boil water. This is because the water heats, and subsequently boils, slower the higher up you’re on a mountain.
After boiling, let the water cool back down to room temperature so that any heavy metals will sink to the bottom and strain it into a container. Place the container inside a fridge or cellar.
Things to note about water purification through boiling
Boiling isn’t the perfect method to purify water. Although you won’t be adding extra chemicals, boiling can’t remove herbicides, pesticides, and a few other soluble chemicals.
Also important to note, boiling removes a large chunk of oxygen from the water, making it taste flat and stale. Fortunately, you can solve the latter problem by adding a little salt or by shaking the container a for some time to allow oxygen particles to flow back into the liquid.
Chlorination has become one of the go-to water purification methods over the years.
It is relatively cheap and it’s used by most municipalities as one of the stages for water purification before going down the pipes and into residents’ taps, showers, etc.
Searching for chlorine packets on the market isn’t difficult at all, but many packs have different concentrations, so you’ll have to read the instructions carefully before proceeding with this method.
Having a reverse osmosis system is one of the most reliable ways to get purified water straight from the tap.
It removes fluoride and chlorine from the water, and it’s also a reliable method to purify seawater. On top of all this, it also improves water’s taste, appearance, and odor.
When the RO system pushes water through its membrane, it takes out lead, pesticides, sodium, copper, radium, and many more impurities.
Things to note about using reverse osmosis for water purification
The major downside of using reverse osmosis is that it wastes a lot of water.
Only a small part of the water that passes through an RO system’s membrane gets purified, while the rest of the impure water gets stuck in it.
In this sense, it’s not the most environmentally-friendly method you may want to choose. However, the water that does get purified is almost perfect, with barely, if any, pollutants left in it.
Ultraviolet filters are great at neutralizing pathogens’ ability to infect you.
UV-C radiation directly attacks bacteria, viruses, and parasites’ DNA structure, making them unable to act or multiply.
The main advantages of using this method are that you won’t be adding any chemicals, and you won’t be wasting any water whatsoever.
Things to note about using ultraviolet purification for water purification
A UV filter won’t work if your water has any other solids and pollutants in it.
Since the majority of US households have a problem with hard water, it’s hard to see a UV filter installed by itself.
You will most likely have to pair it with a pre-filtering system or with a whole house filtering system to do the trick.
2. What Chemicals Are Used to Purify Water?
Among some of the chemicals used to treat water, bleach is one of the most effective, despite it seeming counterintuitive.
You can add 1/8th of a teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water and wait 30 minutes for it to do the trick. Of course, bleach is still toxic no matter how you look at it, so we recommend only using this method in case of emergencies.
Other water purification chemicals are chlorine, chloramine, antifoams, coagulants, biocides, and oxidants. Typically, most of these aren’t meant for mass-market consumption and are mainly used by water treatment specialists in water treatment plants.
3. What Are the Stages of Water Purification?
To get 100% purified water, the liquid has to go through seven different stages in which many types of contaminants get removed. They are: (1) Ion exchange and coagulation; (2) Sedimentation; (3) Filtration; (4) Disinfection; (5) Reverse Osmosis; (6) ozonation; (7) storage and recirculatio. The stages are as follows:
4. Is Rainwater Safe to Drink?
Most rainwater is probably safe to drink and probably cleaner than the one found in water treatment facilities.
However, you should only collect rainwater that has fallen directly from the sky and hasn’t touched anything else along the way.
You should take note of your specific state’s laws regarding rainwater collection, as many municipalities either prohibit or heavily regulate this practice.
And even so, we recommend cleaning the container and filtering or at least boiling the collected rainwater just in case. Even though rainwater is theoretically the purest, air pollution in your area might make rain droplets come in contact with carbon dioxide and other impurities in the air.
This is especially important to note if you leave near a coal power plant or even a nuclear power plant. You wouldn’t want to drink rainwater near Chernobyl or Fukushima for obvious reasons.
5. Is Purified Water the Same As Distilled Water?
In short, yes. Distillation is basically just another method of purifying water.
The real differences occur when we are talking about the other methods of water purification, as they are not all equal.
Some methods of purifying water may reduce bacteria, parasites, and viruses while others reduce mineral content, heavy metals, and other inorganic impurities.
To get a better understanding of the debate between distilled vs purified water, you will have to take all of these factors into consideration, as well as the ease of use for each individual method.
6. Which Is Better: Purified Water or Spring Water?
Spring water and purified water are almost identical when it comes to purity levels.
Many bottled water manufacturers get their water from springs, but they also use several methods to further purify it just in case.
Just like with rainwater, spring water can also be contaminated along the way, so it’s best to purify it anyway before consumption. Remember that even the EPA can sometimes fail and produce disasters that affect water.
Still, the choice between the two comes down to preference. People generally like spring water more because it has a more natural taste, since none of its beneficial minerals have been stripped. Just make sure to test it before consumption.
7. Why Should We Drink Purified Water?
Many water purification methods still retain beneficial minerals while only filtering out toxins and pollutants.
And since we’re on the topic of beneficial minerals, one way to add back some beneficial minerals is by using an alkaline water filter.
8. What Is the Healthiest Water to Drink?
Spring and purified water are among the top choices for drinking water.
However, the debate between experts is still going on since there’s no clear winner on either side.
Other good choices for drinking water are mineral and artesian water, which also hold beneficial minerals and have barely any contaminants if filtered and stored properly.
9. Does Purified Water Dehydrate You?
No, purified water does not dehydrate you.
Since purified water has no sodium in it to speak of, there’s no way that dehydration can occur even if you drink it for long periods of time. It would be counterintuitive to think otherwise.
10. Does Purified Water Kill Plants?
As long as the water purification method used doesn’t add any sodium or doesn’t take out beneficial minerals, purified water won’t affect plants.
More importantly, the quality of the soil will play a major role. Purified water can hold fertilizer and carry it over to plants much better than unfiltered water. But if the soil is lacking in nutrients, it won’t even matter if water purification is involved or not.
11. Can I Use Purified Water Instead of Distilled?
Since distillation is just another method of water purification, then yes.
Distillation removes many contaminants, just like other purification methods do. And distilled water is safe to drink and use for many appliances and activities.
12. What Contaminants Might Be Found in Groundwater?
Groundwater is sadly a major source of contaminants.
Many man-made products get sunk into the ground and then absorbed by the water.
Hepatitis, dysentery, and many other problems can appear if you ever try to drink unfiltered groundwater.
Since storage tanks can corrode, and since over 10 million of them are buried right now throughout the United States, we might soon start seeing gasoline, oil, chemicals, or other types of liquids protrude through the ground and contaminate water.
Human waste is a dangerous amalgamation of pathogens and it is not to be taken lightly if it ever comes into contact with drinking water.
While septic systems typically drain human waste at a slow enough pace to not affect surrounding areas, they can cause immense damage if they corrode or leak. Furthermore, if the owner doesn’t maintain the system properly, it will also lead to an unwanted disaster.
While landfills aren’t typically located near water sources, they can indirectly contaminate groundwater.
Normally, landfills have a bottom protective layer that keep potential contaminants away from the soil. However, as you can imagine, it is not perfect and it can easily deteriorate over time. This can lead to all sorts of contaminants spreading through groundwater, including chemicals, toxic waste, hazardous materials, and all sorts of pathogens.
13. Is Municipal Water Purified?
Municipalities use different steps for water purification before distributing it to the locals.
However, as we have previously said, it is not all perfect, since chlorine by-products, rust, and other pollutants might still be present or stick to the water once it comes into contact with rusty or deteriorated pipes along the way.
14. How Do You Purify Water With Lead in It?
Lead (as well as copper) typically enters the public supply by leaching into water from corroded fixtures and outdated plumbing.
It is almost completely undetectable by smell or sight, so unless you have tested your water beforehand, you might’ve been drinking lead without even realizing it.
To avoid drinking lead, the best water purification method is reverse osmosis, since it captures all heavy metals and keeps them inside the system’s membrane instead of letting them loose throughout your pipes.
Another method to get rid of lead is getting a faucet water filter that meets the NSF 53 standard for lead removal. If you live in Flint, Michigan, or any other area where lead in the water is a major problem, having a filter with the NSF 53 standard should be your greatest priority.
15. Is Bottled Water Safer Than Purified Water?
No, it isn’t. Bottled water is usually stored in plastic bottles. And plastic particles can leech inside the water in time.
No matter how much companies try to purify water before sending it off to store shelves, the plastic containments, variation in temperature, and light directly impact the quality of water found inside plastic bottles.
If you want to store purified water properly, you should look into purchasing one of the best water storage containers currently on the market. Water purification only works in the short run if you don’t store it properly. So if you’re serious about having supplies of clean, fresh, and beneficial water handy, you’ll want to get a water storage container ASAP.
16. Can You Purify Water With Animals Bones?
This is one of the weirder questions that some people ask about water purification. And the surprising answer is yes.
Crushed and charred animal bones can remove arsenic, heavy metals, and a bunch of other poisonous water contaminants. Who would’ve thought that out of all the things out there, bones would be an effective and cheap water purification method?
17. Can Water Purification Prevent Waterborne Disease?
UV purification, boiling, distillation, chlorination, and many other water purification methods are mainly used to target germs.
In this sense, purified water is your best bet for avoiding waterborne diseases.
18. Does Water Purification Take Out Parasites As Well?
Water purification mainly focuses on pathogens, which parasites are a part of.
The short answer is yes, many water purification methods also take out parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia.
The methods we recommend most for taking out parasites are UV purification and distillation, since none of these methods add any potentially dangerous chemicals to the mix.
19. Can Silver Be Used to Purify Water?
You will find silver in many water purifiers sold all around the world. When combined with oxygen, silver is a powerful sanitizer that can kill off a huge list of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
How effective is silver? Even NASA has used silver as a water purification system for their shuttle. So, in short, yes – silver is an excellent water purification method.
20. How Do You Test Purified Water?
To get a complete assessment of how pure your water is, we recommend the Varify Complete Water Testing Kit since it tests pH, alkalinity, hardness, bacteria, and also offers comprehensive testing for several types of metals, chemicals, and other impurities.
If your main water source is a private well, then the other best water testing kit would be the Health Metrics Well Water Testing Kit, which tests for the most common pollutants found in wells.
21. Is Boiled Water the Same As Purified Water?
While boiling is a good emergency solution for getting rid of metal and bacteria, it won’t help you get chemicals and other pollutants out of the drinking water.
Modern water purification methods are much better to use than boiling. Reverse osmosis, ionization, and even the most common countertop water filters do much more to purify water than boiling could ever do on its own.
22. Can I Use Purified Water in My Fish Tank?
You can use purified mineral water in fish tanks as long as you test out the pH levels. The only risky type of purified water to use in fish tanks or turtle tanks is distilled water since it has no minerals.
There many types of fish that one might have, and each one thrives in different water pH levels. Alternatively, tap water can be used, but it must be treated to remove chemicals that are potentially toxic to fish. You’ll want to get the best water test kits to ensure that what you’re putting in the aquarium is beneficial and won’t harm your fishes.
23. Can You Use Purified Water for Baby Formula?
Yes, purified or distilled water is actually recommended for baby formula.
Infants can’t handle common contaminants the same way adults can since their immune system isn’t nearly close to full development yet.
Fluoride found in tap water might be beneficial for teeth, but it causes several other problems that babies shouldn’t have to deal with. In large quantities, fluoride can be extremely detrimental even for adults, so it’s important to emphasize the importance of using purified water for baby formula.
24. Is Purified Water Okay for Pets?
Yes, purified water is okay for cats and dogs, as well as other pets you might have.
The only detrimental types of water you could give to your pets are tap water and water treated by salt-based water softeners. As you may know, tap water might contain contaminants.
Meanwhile, salt-based water softeners add sodium to the water, which not only dehydrates humans, but it can be lethal to dogs. Otherwise, you can also give dogs bottled water, although we don’t recommend going this route because of the high expenses which will occur over time.
25. Are Filtration Products Considered Purifiers?
To a certain extent, yes. No filter is perfect, in the sense that it can’t remove or even reduce absolutely every impurity out there.
If you genuinely want to make your own purified water at home, you will have to look into purchasing the best water purifying systems.