There’s no denying that the water you get from the taps at home might not always be 100% clean. And if you fetch yours from a well, borehole, or a nearby stream, the impurities might be even more.
Typical impurities in water include suspended solids, dust, rust, pathogenic microorganisms, heavy metals, gases, and organic matter. Most of these have harmful effects on human health, on top of the foul odor and taste, they impart to drinking water. That’s why it’s critical to ensure your water at home is safe and clean. Here are six purification methods for your consideration:
- Reverse Osmosis Filtration
Reverse osmosis water filters are the most thorough method of purifying water. They make use of a semipermeable membrane that allows water to pass through but blocks ions and other large molecules. This way, they can rid water of the following impurities:
- Giardia cysts
- E. Coli bacteria
- Cryptosporidium cysts
- Fecal bacteria
They’re so effective in filtering water to nearly 100% purity. The only downside of this process is that even the valuable minerals in the water get filtered out. Fortunately, recent technology enables the remineralization of the water after filtration. This ensures you get the healthful minerals usually present in natural water.
- Water Softening
If you have hard water in your house, you should use a water softener to reduce the excessive quantities of dissolved calcium and magnesium. Such high concentrations of dissolved minerals lead to scale buildup inside your pipes, dishwashers, kettles, washing machines, and other appliances that use heated water. This shortens the life of these household appliances. It also reduces their efficiency, meaning you have to pay higher electric bills to run them.
Hard water also has a nasty metallic and sulfurous taste that may discourage you from drinking it. To save yourself from these problems, consider purchasing an ion-exchange water softener. They usually feature a tank filled with negatively-charged plastic polystyrene resin beads, which attract the positively-charged calcium and magnesium ions. The resulting water is soft, safe, and clean for use.
- Ultraviolet Purification
If your primary concern is the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in water, you can use an ultraviolet (UV) water purifier. Living organisms in water are exposed to a germicidal UV wavelength, which inactivates them by disrupting DNA. Thus, you can drink the purified water without the risk of contracting a water-borne disease.
However, note that UV filters don’t get rid of dissolved and suspended solids. As such, you’d want to first filter your water using sediment filters. This makes UV filtration even more effective as the light beam penetrates unobstructed. The process can rid water of the following microbes:
- Hepatitis B
- E. coli
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Dysentery bacilli
If you haven’t invested in any water filter, you can still purify your drinking water through boiling. Germs and bacteria present in the water get denatured when the temperatures rise to the boiling point. It’s also cheaper than other methods as you don’t need any special equipment and apparatus. All you need is a cooking pot and a source of heat.
However, you may find it slow since you have to wait for the boiled water to cool down before drinking it. Also, boiling doesn’t get rid of solid particles.
Another quick method of purifying water is using chlorine tablets, which you can buy from local stores. Two or three of them should be enough for one liter of water. You’d want to choose brands that don’t have added smells and other unpleasant chemicals. As long as they have the main ingredient, Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate, they should be able to kill most of the pathogens present in your water.
After treatment, it’d help to leave the water in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to get rid of the funny taste. You can also add a slice of lemon to improve the taste.
- Solar Disinfection
Solar disinfection is usually abbreviated as SODIS. It’s a straightforward and perhaps the most budget-friendly water purification method. All you need is a clear plastic bottle, not more than 2 liters capacity, and natural sunlight. First, pour water into the plastic bottle, leaving about 25% airspace. Then, place the bottle under direct sunlight for about 6 hours, or longer, if it’s cloudy.
The process kills up to 99% of all biological contaminants, such as E. coli, Vibrio cholera, salmonella, rotavirus, giardia, and cryptosporidium.
It’s possible to make your water at home safe and clean. The purification method you choose depends on the contaminants present in the water. Some methods get rid of suspended solids, while others get rid of dissolved solids, heavy metals, pathogens, awful taste, dissolved gases, or organic matter. So, analyze your water to know the typical impurities it contains, and then choose an appropriate purification method.