Water Purification Facts and Truth (24 Interesting Topics) – WaterFiltersAdvisor

 Last updated  - November 19th, 2021

Ever wondered why water purification is such a popular topic? Many people worldwide are searching for water purification methods so that they can quickly get rid of pollutants in their drinking water. Today, we will be going through 24 interesting questions and answers 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 in purifying water in large quantities.

  • Boiling

boil water to purify water

The simplest way to decontaminate water is through boiling. Boiling kills off 99% of germs, and can even reduce amounts of some chemical compounds.

Boiling isn’t perfect, but it is a very budget-friendly option. It’s also useful in case of emergencies if you need to decontaminate water and have no other options at your disposal.

Some bacteria are more resistant to high temperatures than others, so the length that you boil water will affect its purity. The longer the boil time the better, but at least 1 minute is a good rule of thumb.

After boiling, let the water cool back down to room temperature so that any heavy metals will sink to the bottom, then strain it into a container. Place the container inside a fridge or cellar for storage.

Things to note about water purification through boiling

Boiling isn’t the perfect method to purify water. Although it kills germs, boiling doesn’t remove herbicides, pesticides, or other soluble chemicals.

Keep in mind that altitude can affect boiling time. Water boils at a lower temperature in high altitudes, so anywhere above 5,000 feet, it needs to be boiled for at least 3 minutes to be properly purified.

Also, boiling removes a large chunk of oxygen from the water, making it taste flat and stale. Fortunately, you can solve this by adding a little salt, or by shaking the container to re-oxygenate the water.

  • Chlorination

Chlorination has become one of the go-to water purification methods over the years. It’s relatively cheap and is used by most municipalities as one of the stages for purifying water that ends up in residents’ taps, showers, and sprinklers. 

Searching for chlorine packets on the market isn’t difficult at all, but many packs have different concentrations. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before proceeding with this method.

  • Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis system is one of the most reliable ways to get purified water straight from the tap. Reverse osmosis pushes the water through a membrane, which removes fluoride, chlorine, and lead, as well as sodium, radium, copper, pesticides, and many other impurities.

In fact, reverse osmosis can even be used to purify seawater! On top of all this, it also improves water’s taste, appearance, and odor.

Things to note about using reverse osmosis for water purification

One 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 water washes away the impurities.

The water that does get purified is almost perfect, with barely any pollutants left in it, if not none. However, reverse osmosis is not the most environmentally-friendly process in comparison to others. 

  • Ultraviolet Purification

UV-C radiation directly attacks the DNA structure of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, making them unable to act or multiply. This technology can be used to safely remove potential pathogens from your drinking water. An ultraviolet filter does this without adding any chemicals or wasting any water whatsoever.

Something to note about using ultraviolet purification for water purification

A UV filter won’t help with any other solids or pollutants. Since the majority of US households have a problem with hard water, often ultraviolet light has to be paired with a whole house filter, or pre-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 that it seems counterintuitive. 

You can use this method at home, just add 1/8th of a teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water0000000 and wait 30 minutes before drinking. 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 include chlorine, chloramine, anti-foams, coagulants, biocides, and oxidants. Typically, most of these aren’t meant for household use and are mainly used by 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 are removed.

  • (1) Ion exchange and coagulation
  • (2) Sedimentation
  • (3) Filtration
  • (4) Disinfection
  • (5) Reverse Osmosis
  • (6) Ozonation
  • (7) Storage

Here are the stages as seen below.

7 stages of wWater purification

#4. Is Rainwater Safe to Drink?

Most rainwater is probably safe to drink, and possibly cleaner than what’s 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.

If you plan on collecting rainwater, take note of your specific state’s laws regarding rainwater collection, as many municipalities either prohibit or heavily regulate this practice.

Even though rainwater is theoretically a pure source, we recommend cleaning the collection container, and filtering, or at least boiling, the collected water just in case. Air pollution in your area may contaminate rain droplets with carbon dioxide or other impurities, especially if you live near a coal power plant, or anywhere near any nuclear waste materials or plants.

#5. Is Purified Water the Same As Distilled Water?

all distilled water is purified, not all purified water has been distilled

In short, yes. Distillation is basically just another method of purifying water. 

The differences occur when we are comparing methods of water purification to each other (such as distillation versus reverse osmosis)  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.

So, while all distilled water is purified, not all purified water has been distilled.

#6. Which Is Better: Purified Water or Spring Water?

Springwater and purified water are almost identical when it comes to purity levels.

Just like with rainwater, spring water can be contaminated along the way. Many bottled water manufacturers get their water from springs, but they also use several methods to further purify it just in case. Before drinking water directly from a spring, be sure to test it for contaminants.

The choice between the two comes down to preference. People generally tend to prefer the taste of spring water. Springwater contains taste-boosting beneficial minerals, that are often stripped away in the purification process.

#7. Why Should We Drink Purified Water?

drinking purified water

Non-purified water can contain potentially dangerous contaminants such as heavy metals, chlorine, and industrial chemicals. Even natural water sources, such as rivers and lakes, can be contaminated with pathogens such as those associated with typhoid, cholera, E. coli, and dysentery. 

Many water purification methods can filter out these harmful toxins and pollutants, while still retaining beneficial minerals. 

#8. What Is the Healthiest Water to Drink?

Experts don’t agree on a clear winner, but spring and purified water are among the top choices for drinking. Other good options are mineral and artesian water, which also contain beneficial minerals and barely any contaminants if filtered and stored properly.

#9. Does Purified Water Dehydrate You?

dehydrate does not occur with purified water

No, purified water does not dehydrate you.

Since purified water has no sodium in, there’s no way that dehydration can occur even through prolonged consumption.

#10. Does Purified Water Kill Plants?

As long as the purification method used doesn’t add sodium to the water, or take out beneficial minerals, purified water won’t affect plants.

In fact, used alongside nutrient-rich soil, purified water can help deliver soil nutrients to the plants’ roots far better than unfiltered water. 

#11. What Contaminants Might Be Found in Groundwater?

Groundwater is sadly often severely contaminated. Chemical run-off sinks into the ground and is then absorbed into the water table. Unfiltered groundwater can also contain bacteria and viruses that lead to conditions such as typhoid and dysentery. 

common sources of water contamination

Here are some common sources of groundwater contamination, explained:

  • Storage Tanks

Over 10 million various storage tanks are buried underground throughout the United States. If these tanks begin to rust and corrode, then substances such as gasoline, oil, chemicals, and other waste products can seep throughout the ground and contaminate nearby groundwater.

  • Septic Systems

Human waste can be incredibly dangerous if it comes into contact with drinking water, due to the potentially life-threatening pathogens it often contains.

While septic systems typically drain human waste at a slow enough pace to not affect surrounding areas, they can cause immense damage if improper maintenance leads to corrosion and leakage. 

  • Landfills

While landfills aren’t typically located near water sources, they can indirectly contaminate groundwater.

Normally, landfills have a protective bottom layer that keeps potential contaminants away from the soil. However, this layer can easily deteriorate over time, allowing contaminants to spread into the water table. Landfill runoff typically includes chemicals, toxic waste, hazardous materials, and all sorts of pathogens.

#12. Is Municipal Water Purified?

City municipalities use various water purification methods before distributing purified water to the locals.

However, as we have previously said,  chlorine by-products, rust, and other pollutants may still be present, or enter the water as comes into contact with rusty or deteriorated pipes along the way to your home’s tap.

#13. How Do You Purify Water With Lead in It?

Lead (as well as copper) typically enters the public supply by leaching into the water from corroded fixtures and outdated plumbing. It is almost completely undetectable by smell or sight, so it’s possible to consume water laced with lead without even realizing it.

To avoid ingesting lead, the best water purification method is reverse osmosis, since it captures all heavy metals and keeps them inside the system’s membrane, rather than 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. 

#14. Is Bottled Water Better Than Purified Water?

bottled or purified water

No, it isn’t. Bottled water is stored in bottles that can leech plastic particles into the water. No matter how much manufacturers purify water before sending it off to store shelves, variations in temperature and light can 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 is only beneficial if the finished product is stored properly. 

#15. Can You Purify Water With Animals Bones?

This is one of the weirder questions that some people ask about water purification. And the shocking answer is yes!

You might be surprised to find that clean animal bone char has been used by students at the University of Illinois to filter out toxic chemicals.

Crushed and charred animal bones have been shown to remove arsenic, heavy metals, and many other poisonous water contaminants. Who would’ve thought that bones could be an effective purification method? (Of course, we don’t recommend trying this at home. Leave the experimental purification methods to scientists, kids!)

#16. Can Water Purification Prevent Waterborne Disease?

Disease-causing bacteria and viruses in water can be specifically targeted and eliminated, by methods such as UV purification, boiling, distillation, chlorination, and many others. 

Municipal water purification is one of the greatest advancements in public health history and has saved countless lives by eliminating waterborne pathogens.

#17. Does Water Purification Eliminate Parasites As Well?

Yes, along with bacteria and viruses, many water purification methods also eliminate parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia.

The methods we recommend most for protection against parasites are distillation and UV purification, as neither of these methods uses potentially dangerous chemicals.

#18. Can Silver Be Used to Purify Water?

purified drinking water

Silver can be found in many water purifiers around the world. When combined with oxygen, silver is a powerful sanitizer that can kill off a long list of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

How effective is silver? Even NASA has used silver as a water purification system aboard the space shuttle. So, in short, yes – silver is an excellent water purification method!

#19. 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. This kit tests for 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, the best well-water testing kit is the Health Metrics Well Water Testing Kit, which tests for the most common pollutants found in wells.

#20. Is Boiled Water the Same As Purified Water?

Technically, no. While boiling is a good emergency solution for getting rid of metals and bacteria, it isn’t effective for removing chemicals or other pollutants from drinking water.

Modern water purification methods are much better than boiling. Reverse osmosis, ionization, and even the most common countertop water filters do more to purify water than boiling could ever.

#21. Can I Use Purified Water in My Fish Tank?

purified water for pets

You can use purified mineral water in fish tanks as long as you test the water’s pH. Different fish thrive at different pH levels, so be sure to use water that matches your fish’s needs.

The only risky type of purified water to use in fish or turtle tanks is distilled water, as it has none of the minerals that aquatic creatures depend upon.

Alternatively, tap water can be used, but it must be treated first, to remove chemicals that are potentially toxic to fish. Either way, you’ll want to get a water test kit to ensure that your aquarium water won’t harm your fish.

#22. 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, as their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet. Thus, it’s very important to only use pure or distilled water when mixing baby formula.

As well, the fluoride found in tap water may be beneficial for teeth, but it can cause many developmental problems for babies. In large quantities, fluoride can even be extremely detrimental for adults. Do not underestimate the importance of only using purified water for baby formula.

#23. 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. Tap water may contain contaminants, and salt-based water softeners add sodium to the water, which not only dehydrates humans but can also be lethal to dogs.

Otherwise, you can also give your pets bottled water, although we don’t recommend it due to the high expense that will occur over time.

#24. Are Filtration Products Considered Purifiers?

To a certain extent, yes. However, no filter is perfect. There’s no filtration system that can remove, or even reduce, absolutely every impurity.

If you genuinely want to make your own purified water at home, you will have to look into purchasing the best water purifying systems.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read all 24 facts about water purification! We hope you are more educated about the process and have learned something from these interesting questions. Please take a look at our other articles here at WaterFiltersAdvisor to continue learning how to ensure the best possible water quality for you and your family!