Nature's Water

A Journey about the Drinking Water Treatment History

A Journey about the Drinking Water Treatment History

We all know that the most important and essential thing for all forms of life is water and that life cannot exist without it. Water also plays an extremely important role in the world’s economy. This nearly colorless substance covers 71% of the earth surface and is the main constituent of the earth’s hydrosphere.

However, there might be some contaminants and other undesirable components present in water. By drinking such contaminated water people can get serious diseases such as cholera and many more such diseases. Water pollution greatly affects the natural ecosystem. In these circumstances, there arises the need to purify the water.

Here, in this article, you will get all the information related to the drinking Water treatment history.

Causes of water pollution

With the advancement of technology, the natural ecosystem around us is collapsing. The modern technology is not only providing benefits but is also destroying our environment, water pollution is an example. Although there are many causes of water pollution but agriculture is the leading cause of degradation of water. The reservoirs, rivers, and seas are filled with plastic wastes, untreated chemical wastes from industries, oil spills, insecticides and pesticides, and other toxic substances. Water is a universal solvent and is thus easily contaminated.

Effects of water pollution  

  • Health: Drinking polluted water is extremely disastrous for human health causing typhoid, poliomyelitis, hepatitis and other life-threatening diseases. It also has adverse effects on animals and plants health. Water-borne diseases account for the death of 14000 to 30000 individuals, the majority of which are children.
  • Ecosystem: Ecosystems respond to even the smallest changes in the environment and are extremely vital. Water pollution causes a serious threat to the human ecosystem.
  • Aquatic animals: The marine life is also in serious the danger because of water contamination. It causes a serious threat to aquatic life and thus disturbs the food chain.


 Water Treatment:

Keeping in view the effects of water pollution on life, there arises the need to purify water before using it. Water treatment removes the contaminants and other toxic materials from water or at least reduces there amount. so that water can be used safely.

Water Treatment History:

From the very beginning, around 2000 BC, when there was no technology, people still have necessary attention to water treatment by simply boiling the water. After 1500 BC, Egyptians discovered the method of coagulation of water. In around 500 BC, Hippocrates learned the healing powers of water and invented the first bag filter which was called the “Hippocratic Sleeve”. In 300-200 BC, Rome built it’s first aqueducts. The first water filter for domestic application was applied in 1700s.

Drinking Water Treatment:

Drinking water treatment usually involves the removal of toxic substances or chemical from raw water to purify it, so that it can be safely used without causing any short term or long term  unfavourable and adverse health conditions.

  • Processes involved: The processes involved in the treatment of water are settling and filtration, chemical processes which includes disinfection and coagulation and some biological processes such as slow sand filtration. A combination of these is used to treat the water.
  • Coagulation: This process involves the addition of compounds like sulfate(alum) or a polymer to raw water which causes the clumping of fines into larger and thick floc, so they can be easily removed from water.
  • Sedimentation: In the next step of water treatment, the water and the floc particles move into a sedimentation tank. Sedimentation is a physical water treatment process which uses gravity to remove the suspended particles from water.
  • Filtration: Next step in the process of purifying water is filtration. From the tank, water moves through the filter which is designed to remove the impurities and enhances the effectiveness of disinfection.
  • Disinfection: Before entering the distribution system the water is disinfected to ensure the removal of disease-causing microorganisms. Chlorine is used in this process because of its effective disinfectant properties.
  • Sludge drying: The solid particles that are removed and collected from water through the processes of filtration and sedimentation are now transferred to drying lagoons.
  • Fluoridation: In water fluoridation, the community water supplies are treated to adjust the number of fluoride ions to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridated water contains fluoride in a certain amount that helps in preventing cavities.
  • pH correction: Lime is added to the filtered water to maintain its pH and stabilize it, which minimises the chances of corrosion in distribution systems and within customers plumbing.

These steps of water treatment may vary from place to place. Measures are taken to ensure the quality of water so that the water supplied to domestic properties for drinking and other uses is safe. Drinking water treatment is crucial to human health and is beneficial for other purposes such as irrigation as well. Drinking Water Treatment History



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