Main Types of Water Treatment


It is very important that the water you use at home is purified or treated. One cannot over-estimate the utility of home water treatment systems.

Home water treatment systems are generally categorized into three:

* Systems for reverse osmosis (RO)

* Water softeners

* Filters for point of use

Water softener or whole house water softener is used to deal with the domestic problem of hard water.  Hard water may not be a health hazard but will be a nuisance. Hard water contains dissolved solids of magnesium carbonate and/or calcium carbonate. The biggest problem with hard water is that it reduces the efficacy of detergents, shampoos, and soaps.

As for the point of use filters and reverse osmosis equipment, they are used to get rid of impurities, bacteria and chemicals from water to enhance water quality.

Water Softeners

People residing in some places experience what is referred to as ‘hard water’. Hard water is rarer than perceived widely. Generally, water above 7 grains of hardness is counted as moderately hard water while those with hardness above 10 grains are regarded as very hard water. The latter can cause much damage to water equipment in the long run.

You can gain information about the hardness of water from your water supplier. Deposits from hard water can result in severe energy in-efficiencies like an increase in energy use by 25% or more.

Water softening involves the exchange of magnesium and calcium minerals present in water with potassium or sodium. While the softener treats gallons of hard water, daily, treatment capacity of softener gets depleted and must be re-generated or re-charged. Water is used to purge the salts. This process generates sodium-rich water called brine, which must be discharged into the sewer.

Use of brine for recycling water poses a problem. It is regarded as unsuitable for even irrigation in agriculture but the debate continues. Magnesium softeners are an alternative to sodium salts, but it causes harm to the environment.

Treatment by Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process of water treatment which uses pressure to force water via a membrane which retains solute on one side and permits purified water to flow to the other side. Scientifically speaking, it is the process of applying force on a solvent from a place of high concentration to low concentration by application of pressure more than osmotic pressure. Membranes used for reverse osmosis feature a layer of the dense barrier, which mostly allows passage of only pure water and stops passage of solutes such as salt ions. The filter must be cleaned periodically. RO must be used with care so as not to waste too much water in the cleaning process.

Point of Use Filters

Such filters refer to small water filters, which attach an individual faucet or filter into a dispenser. Such devices are used primarily for removing chemicals and metals (lead and chlorine).
Water purifying filters can be used for health reasons or to enhance colour, odour and taste of drinking water. There are several types of water filters like metallic alloy filters, carbon block filters and ceramic filters.

Comparison of Three Types

RO and Water softeners are home water systems that use gallons of water during purification. But point-of-use filter systems do not consume any water.

Also, water softeners and RO systems use power for operation while this is not the case with plain water filters.

These are all some aspects of water treatment systems.

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