10 Ways to effectively purify drinking water- Helpful Guide - Aqua Seep (2022)

Pure drinking water is one of the prerequisites for healthy living. That’s why doctors and nutritionists always suggest that you purify the water before drinking.

There are so many different ways to cleanse the water. The processes would change according to geography, topography, and availability of resources.

In this article, we’ll be discussing various ways that we use to purify our drinking water. Some of them require technology, while others are pretty simple.

So, if you’re looking for cost-effective means to purify your drinking water, you have come to the right place. Let’s begin.

1 What is purified water?

2 Why is purified water important?

3 What are the ways to purify drinking water?

3.1 Coagulation and Flocculation

3.2 Sediment filtration

3.3 Activated Carbon filtering

3.3.1 Types of Activated Carbon Filters

3.4 Reverse Osmosis

3.5 Boiling

3.6 Distillation

3.7 Ozonation

3.8 Using Disinfectants

3.9 Deionization

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3.10 Ultraviolet water filtration

4 Concluding remarks

What is purified water?

Now, let’s start our discussion with the definition of purified water.

When water, regardless of its sources- natural or artificial, goes through a treatment process which wipes out the pollutant and germs, then it is called purified water.

The definition can be wordy to some extent. So, let’s explain it further.

More than 70 percent of the world’s surface is covered by water. As a result, we come across a variety of water sources around us.

Rainwater is the cleanest that we find in our environment. After rainfall, the water flows through the land and joins other water bodies like ponds, lakes, rivers, and finally, the oceans.

During the trip, water collects a lot of other substances like salts, minerals, clays, dust, and so on. The water treatment plants take in the water and then purify it to some extent.

Then, the water reaches us through the distribution system. So, you see, it is a complicated process. As a result, we use various ways to purify the supply water that we get.

If you would like to know about how rainwater ends up in the rivers or oceans, you should visit our article here on the water cycle.

Also, if you’re curious to learn more about water treatment plants, you should visit our recent article here.

Why is purified water important?

So, why is purified water so important? As we’ve already mentioned, tap water that we get comes through the distribution system.

In most cities, the pipes and related elements are old. As a result, they are susceptible to leaks. If you test your tap water, you might find traces of germs and microorganisms.

These organisms can be harmful to our health. You can check out our article here to find out the aquatic germs that pose a threat to our bodies.

That’s not all. As we’ve already said, rainwater travels over the land to reach the rivers and oceans. On its way, it picks up clay, dust, pieces of debris from the soil.

Also, there is industrial pollution and the dumping of waste into the water. All these contribute to worsening the quality of water.

If you drink this low-quality water, you might fall victim to some deadly diseases. That’s why it is of paramount importance to purify the water before drinking.

You can check out our latest post here that enlists some of the water germs and which deadly disease they might cause. Check it out here.

What are the ways to purify drinking water?

Enough of the chit-chat. Let’s take a look at the conventional ways to treat and purify your drinking water.

We’ve compiled a list of the ways how we can cleanse the water. Take a look.

  • Coagulation and Flocculation
  • Sediment Filtration
  • Activated Carbon Filtering
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Ozonation
  • Using Disinfectants
  • Deionization
  • Ultraviolet Disinfection

So, let’s elaborate on these further.

Coagulation and Flocculation

The first one that we’ll be talking about is coagulation and flocculation. So, let’s start with the definition.

Coagulation is the process in which colloids come close to each other and form a pile in the presence of positive ions.

On the other hand, flocculation is the process in which the piles from coagulation start to gather together to grow larger and produce flocs.

So, you see, coagulation and flocculation processes complement each other. Now, where do we see these two together?

As you already know, water treatment plants collect water from various water bodies, like ponds, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Water collected is mostly muddy and contains pollutants.

The dirt particles in the water are called colloids. Generally, they hold negative charges on them. That’s why the plants pour coagulants into the water, which have positive charges.

Therefore, the colloids start to gather around the coagulants, and they combine to form sludge particles. Generally, we know those as micro-flocs.

If there is sufficient flow in the water, flocculation happens, and the micro-flocs come together to form flocs.

So, you see, due to flocculation, the flocs start to get heavier and fall to the bottom of the treatment plants. Then, we call those slugs.

In this fashion, coagulation and flocculation work together to remove some of the contaminants from the water. The presence of a coagulant agent is vital for the process.

We use these two processes only to treat water on a large scale. For example, water treatment plants have to treat millions of gallons of water every day.

That’s why all the state of the art water treatment plants use a combination of the two processes to purify big chunks of water.

If you want to read a detailed article showing you step-by-step how coagulation and flocculation work, you should visit our article here.

Sediment filtration

The next one on our list is one of the most widely used processes of water purification, sediment filtration.

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Sediment filtration defines the process which gets rid of the clay, sand, dust, rust, pieces of debris, or sediment particles from the water.

The sediment filters mostly remove the insoluble, tiny particles from the water. Water that we get sometimes can bring in sediment particles with it.

It can happen if construction works are going on in your area. Moreover, if the water distribution system in your region is old, there is a high chance of leakage.

As a result, the clay and mud particles will find a way in your tap water. Also, if you’re using water from an underground well, there will be a higher quantity of these particles.

There are many ways for sediment filtration. The most convenient way is to use a filter paper. You take a glass, set up a filter paper on it, and pour your tap water.

The water molecules will seep past the paper, while the dust molecules won’t be able to follow through. As a result, you get clean water in the glass.

Nowadays, there are strong sediment filters available. They work as sieves with microscopic holes in it.

Water molecules, having a tinier dimension, pass through the openings, but as the mud particles cannot cross the barrier due to their larger sizes.

This type of filtration is known as microfiltration, as it can filter out pollutants at the micron level. The smaller the size of the opening, the higher will be the number of contaminants filtered.

So, you see, in this fashion, sediment filters work to remove dust, rust, clay, and sediment particles from the water.

Activated Carbon filtering

Now, let’s talk about another widely used purification technique, activated carbon filtering.

Many of us are familiar with the purifying ability of Carbon. They do so by absorbing particles in their molecular structure.

We apply this property of Carbon to filter out impurities from the water. But, why are we using another word activated in front of Carbon?

As we’ve mentioned before, Carbon can trap molecules other than water and store those in its structure. The more the surface area, the higher the number of pollutants absorbed.

Now, to increase the surface, Carbon is crushed into granules. As a result, the surface area increases significantly. In addition to this, the granules of Carbon get heated at a higher temperature.

The result of this high pressure and temperature is that the Carbon granules get more surface area, and their structure becomes more stable.

So, this is what we call activated Carbon or Catalytic Carbon.

Types of Activated Carbon Filters

Generally, we use these Carbon granules in two ways.

In the first one, Carbon remains in granular form. As the water starts to flow through it, the pollutant molecules begin to get trapped at the surfaces.

We call this Granular Activated Carbon filter or GAC filter.

In the other one, manufacturers use Carbon granules to form Carbon blocks. The water flows through it axially or horizontally, and you get pure water at the output.

These are known as CTO filters where CTO stands for Chlorine, Taste, and Odor. So, you see, these filters remove Chlorine, taste, odor, or organic materials from your water.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly activated carbon filter for your home, you should take a look at the Frizzlife SP99 water filter. Click here to check its current price on Amazon.

Also, if you want a detailed review of the product, you should visit our recent article here. We have covered everything about the product, from features to installation. Have a look.

Reverse Osmosis

Next on our list is another process which has gained popularity all over the world. It is the reverse osmosis filtration.

Reverse osmosis defines the process in which water molecules from tap water pass through a semipermeable membrane to produce purified water in the presence of an external force.

Here, the word, semipermeable carries weight. It defines a type of substance that only lets water molecules move across it.

You already know, the tap water we get contains ions and particles from various chemicals. But, none of those can pass through the RO membrane.

That’s why reverse osmosis is also known as ultrafiltration. The best thing about reverse osmosis is that it can purify water to a level almost similar to distillation.

But, it doesn’t require energy on the same level. The household RO purifiers rely on the incoming tap water pressure to supply the necessary external force.

In case, if the supply water pressure is low, then, you can use a RO booster pump to increase the pressure to the required level. That also doesn’t consume much energy.

Meanwhile, due to its increased efficiency, you will find RO purification plants for industrial purposes as well.

So, you can see why RO purifiers are getting so much traction lately. Most household RO filters also come with additional sediment filters and activated carbon filters.

But, in any case, the RO chamber stays at the core.

If you’re looking for the current best Reverse osmosis water filters, you should take a look at our recent article here.

Also, if you’re still having some questions regarding how RO purification works, you should visit our post here.

Boiling

Perhaps, boiling is the most commonly used way to purify drinking water. In most countries, this is the primary way to disinfect water.

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Boiling water means to pour water into a bowl and continue to warm it to a higher temperature than the surroundings.

As we’ve already mentioned, the water we get from our water supply will contain germs, pests, and other microorganisms.

Those can be very injurious to our bodies. For example, a notorious bacteria named E. coli causes bacterial diarrhea.

If you test your tap water, you might find traces of E. coli and other deadly germs. That’s why disinfecting the water is a priority in most localities all over the world.

And, that’s why most people resort to boiling. According to WHO reports,

Most bacterias become inactive when you expose them to a temperature higher than 70O Celsius for 6-7 minutes.

Similarly, most deadly viruses also become inactive, being open to a temperature of approximately 72-degree Celsius for about 6 minutes.

So, you see, in most of the developing countries of the world, boiling is still the primary source of purification.

But, there are drawbacks to boiling water as well. Boiling wastes a lot of energy. In this era of reducing the usage of fossil fuel, boiling water is not a feasible option.

Also, boiling water doesn’t reduce the metal ions from the water. As the water contains a certain degree of minerals, they would still be in the bowl due to their higher boiling points.

Despite those impacts, people will continue to boil water. That’s not going to change soon.

Distillation

Another process that mostly relies on heating is distillation. So, let’s first define what it means.

Distillation of water is the process in which you boil the water to produce water vapor, and then, you cool it down to turn into liquid again.

So, you can realize that it is a complicated process. Let’s explain it in a laboratory setting. To distill water, you will need a distillation flask. It will have a water condenser attached.

Now, you pour some tap water in it and place it on top of a bunsen burner. Then, you start to heat the flask, and after some time, the temperature rises to 100 O Celsius.

And, it is the boiling point of water. As a result, all the water in the flask will turn into vapor. But, if there is something other than water, that wouldn’t be able to follow.

That’s because all the substances have boiling points of their own. As a result, if there are minerals or plastics in the water, they won’t turn into vapor.

Now, being lighter, the vapor molecules will collect on top of the flask and enter the water condenser chamber. There they will lose the heat energy and turn into liquid water.

So, you see, in this process, you get pure and clean water devoid of any pollutants or germs. Because of its high accuracy, most industrial plants use distilled water.

You can also find brands that offer distilled water in bottled forms. Also, if you want to drink distilled water at your home, there are household distillers as well.

One thing about distillers is that they consume more energy. That’s why they are not that eco-friendly. But, you get the purest water from distillation.

Also, many people tend to mix up distilled water with reverse osmosis water. If you want to find out differences, you should visit our recent article here.

Ozonation

Another recently popular way to purify water is ozonation. But, you will only see this one in industrial plants. So, what is it?

Ozonation is the process in which a disinfecting agent ozone gets mixed with the water.

Now, many of us are already familiar with what ozone is. Those of us who aren’t aware, don’t worry. Ozone is a molecule that has three oxygen atoms in it.

We know that an Oxygen molecule (O2) contains two atoms of oxygen. When you electrolyze oxygen molecules, some of those become breaks and becomes activated.

Then, these activated oxygen atoms combine with oxygen molecules and produce molecules of ozone (O3).

We probably know that a layer of ozone is around our atmosphere. It is known as the ozone layer. It protects us from harmful solar and extraterrestrial radiation.

We also use ozone to disinfect water. When you mix ozone with water, it breaks down and produces free oxygen radicals.

If you’re familiar with chemistry, you already know that oxygen is a very active chemical substance. As a result, the oxygen radicals quickly react with pollutants in the water.

Those free radicals attack the germs and pathogens in the water and leave those inactive.

In this fashion, you can sanitize your drinking water through ozonation. Another helpful thing about ozone is that when it breaks, it produces oxygen.

That’s why you can see it has no side-effect. But, sadly enough, no product offers ozonation currently. It is strictly limited to industrial usage only.

Using Disinfectants

Using disinfectants is one popular way to purify the water. So, let’s take a look at how it works out.

Disinfects are chemicals that attack the germs and renders them inactive. As the microorganisms become inactive, those cannot do any damage to our bodies.

Most disinfectants also go by the name bleaching agents. A familiar example is the usage of Chlorine.

Again, like oxygen, Chlorine is also very reactive. That’s why, when you pour Calcium Hypochlorite, Ca(OCl)2 into the water, it will free Chloride radicals into it.

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These radicals will immediately try to react with other molecules. As soon as it comes into contact with any microorganism, those launches into action with the germ.

Due to the reaction, the cells of the organism gets damaged, and it becomes inactive. This Calcium Hypochlorite is a primary element of bleaching powder.

In this fashion, the disinfectants work to purify your water. The usage of disinfectants is mostly evident in water treatment plants.

As those plants need to treat hundreds of gallons of water every single moment, they cannot use reverse osmosis or distillation to purify water.

Instead, they resort to using disinfectants like Chlorine or bleaching powder into the water. As a result, the plants can disinfect a bulk amount of water very quickly.

Using disinfectants also has its disadvantages. These chemical agents get rid of the germs. But, they also have side-effects on our bodies.

If you continue to drink Chlorinated water regularly, it can pose a threat to your kidney and other organs.

That’s why most households use reverse osmosis systems to wipe out any trace of Chlorine from the water. If you’re looking for a RO purifier for your home, check out our post here.

Deionization

Next in our list is deionization. This one is another lesser-known way to purify your drinking water.

Deionization happens when water gets placed in between two electrodes, each one having opposite charges.

As the electrodes have positive and negative charges, they would create a static electric field in the water.

And, if the water is holding any positive or negative ions, those would feel a force towards the electrodes. As a result, the ions will start traveling towards those.

In the end, they would reach the electrodes, becomes neutral, and stays attached to it. That’s how the deionization works.

We know the supply water contains minerals in it. These minerals are nothing other than salts of various metals.

Not all these minerals are good for our health. For example, metals like Lead or Radium pose various health threats.

One thing is that when these metals or minerals get into the water, they break into ions. As a result, you might find ions of Lead (Pb2+), Sodium (Na+), or Calcium (Ca2+) in the water.

Now, when you place the water in the deionizer, the positive ions would feel an attractive force towards the cathode or the negative electrode.

And, as mentioned earlier, as soon as the ions reach the electrode, they would absorb electrons and become neutral. That’s how deionization gets rid of harmful metals.

We also use this process for water softening. Most water softeners would treat the hard water in this way and wipes out Calcium and Magnesium ions from the water.

Ultraviolet water filtration

The final process on our list is another well-known one. It is the ultraviolet water disinfection. So, let’s find out more details about it.

Ultraviolet disinfections denotes the process in which we use UV rays to disinfect the water.

We know that UV rays fall into the category of radiation that we cannot see. Unlike visible light waves, UV rays have higher energy.

That’s why UV rays are harmful to our bodies. UV rays are coming to earth from the sun. Thankfully, there is the ozone layer that takes in these radiations and protects us.

Nowadays, we use UV radiation to disinfect water. The UV rays would attack the DNA structure of the germs and modify it.

As a result, they become inactive, and the water becomes pure. Also, UV rays don’t have any side-effect. That’s how you get germ-free water from UV radiation.

The UV purifier lamps are becoming more and more popular with the traveler community.

Especially when you’re on the go, you cannot use boiling, distillation, or reverse osmosis to purify water. Then, UV purification is the only process you can choose.

These UV lamps are light-weight and budget-friendly as well. All these make those perfect travel equipment.

One problem with UV filtration is that it only gets rid of the germs. But, it doesn’t remove the dust, rust, or other pollutants from the water.

That’s why UV purifiers come as a component of some household RO purifiers. The RO membrane reduces the dissolved solids, and the UV disinfector wipes out the germs.

One example of such an RO purifier is the Express water systems 11-stage RO-UV water purifier. Check out its current price here on Amazon.

Also, if you would like to more about UV purification, feel free to visit our recent article here.

Throughout this article, we tried to make you aware of the various ways to purify your drinking water.

Some of those can waste energy, while some might have side-effects. That’s why you need to choose the perfect one for yourself.

We tried to explain the complete aspects of all the processes. But, covering those in detail may be convoluted in one article.

That’s why we referred you to our other articles that cover one or two aspects of water purification.

Also, if you’re curious to find out more informative articles like this, you should visit our blog page here. Finally, don’t forget to share it with your friends. Cheers!!!

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FAQs

What are the ways to purify water? ›

Here are some of the most effective water purification methods that have stood the test of time:
  1. Boiling. The simplest method to purify water is to boil it for a good time. ...
  2. Water Purifier. ...
  3. Reverse Osmosis. ...
  4. Water Chlorination. ...
  5. Distillation. ...
  6. Iodine Addition. ...
  7. Solar Purification. ...
  8. Clay Vessel Filtration.

What is the best way to get clean drinking water? ›

Boil. If you don't have safe bottled water, you should boil your water to make it safe to drink. Boiling is the surest method to kill disease-causing germs, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. adding a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of boiled water.

How can we purify river water for drinking? ›

Boiling: Boiling is the best way to kill disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The high temperature and time spent boiling are very important to effectively kill the organisms in the water. Boiling will also effectively treat water if it is still cloudy or murky.

What are the 5 uses of water? ›

The most common water uses include:
  • Drinking and Household Needs.
  • Recreation.
  • Industry and Commerce.
  • Agriculture.
  • Thermoelectricity/Energy.

What are the 5 stages of water treatment? ›

Public water systems often use a series of water treatment steps that include coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.

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