Filtration is an excellent water purification method. If you’re used to drinking tap water, it helps to know how your water is filtered before it reaches your faucet. Water Filtration is one of the oldest techniques and many municipal public water systems rely on it today to purify drinking water before it comes to your tap. This process simply involves separating solid debris from the water bypassing the liquid through a filter.
The Basics of Water Filtration
As mentioned above, the concept of filtration is simple. You slowly allow water to pass through a filter to remove any solid impurities like dirt, dust or other debris. The filter typically consists of some porous materials like cotton or glass wool, cloth, paper, gravel or sand. The size of the pores of the filter determines the size of particles that can pass through.
Filtration allows water to pass through the filter, leaving behind any solids. For the best results, the filtration process is usually done multiple times. This ensures that the filter removes any unwanted particles from the water.
When you’re filtering water yourself, you will typically use materials like cloth or paper of some kind. In the past, municipal water treatment plants relied exclusively on filters that were made of charcoal, gravel or sand. The process of filtering water through such a granular bed is what we call slow sand filtration.
Modern Water Filtration
Modern filtration systems at municipal water treatment plants build on slow sand filtration and enhance it by incorporating a multimedia filter. This filter is primarily made of carbon, which creates a solid block. This is different than the unstructured and loose sand filters.
In addition to the solid carbon, modern water filters also include other substances to help clean the supply using chemical and physical processes. On the chemical side, the multimedia filter absorbs the contaminants. The carbon’s atomic charge makes any particles in the water lose their bond with water and attach to the filter. Physically, the multimedia filter traps particles that are bigger than water in its pores. This physical process is like slow sand filtration.
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