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A Guide to Water Purification Technology


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Water purification technology continues to advance, particularly in the area of in-home or point-of-use methods of water purification. Some very old systems are still being used today. Let's start with them.

Distillation has been around since ancient times. It was not developed as water purification technology, but as a method of creating alcoholic beverages. It has several disadvantages. The boiling process uses large amounts of energy and also results in the removal of essential trace minerals from the treated water.

Reverse osmosis is sometimes advertised as advanced water purification technology. But, that's just marketing. Systems have been around for over fifty years and were originally designed for use in large scale treatment plants rather than in the home.

Reverse osmosis uses a membrane to act as a filter. The only substances that are removed are minerals and other contaminants that are heavier than water. It requires electricity for operation, so the cost of use is higher than other methods of water purification.

It is not truly a purifier, because bacterial contaminants are not removed. There is no disinfection with this method. It may be used as one step in a complete process, but in and of itself, it cannot make anything safe to drink.

Chlorination was a leap forward in water purification technology. When it was introduced, waterborne illnesses were rampant in this country. Today, we rarely see an outbreak, but researchers and scientists have warned that chemical disinfection methods of water purification are actually health hazards, themselves. So, if you live in an area where they are used, you need a point of use filter to remove the chemicals before consumption.

Disinfection through the use of UV lights is a relatively new water purification technology. It is cost effective, according to facilities that use it. It is one of the less commonly used methods of water purification because of the expense of installation and because of concerns that chlorine or other chemicals would still be needed to protect the water as it is stored in the tanks or travels down the tubes.

Carbon filtration, multi-media blocks and ion exchange have been responsible for advances in point-of-use water purification technology. They require no additional electricity. They are easily installed, easy to maintain and easy to use. They are affordable and still they remove many contaminants that more expensive methods of water purification cannot.

There are many other methods of water purification in use around the world. Everyone needs clean healthy water for drinking. In poverty stricken countries, waterborne diseases are still a major cause of illness and death, particularly among children.

Many diseases are transmitted through contaminated water-sources. Bird flu, Legionnaires disease, cholera, dysentery, typhus and others are problems all around the world, despite advances in water purification technology.

Hugh Harris-Evans is a writer and researcher on water purification issues. Visit his site now at to get the facts on how to choose the best water purification system.


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