Water treatment systems are designed to solve different issues with domestic water supplies. As hydrology and water quality vary widely across countries consumers need to determine their specific treatment needs before shopping for a suitable system. Issues can range from water hardness, chemical filtration, biological filtration, UV treatment, well water quality and other water contaminants or pollutants.
Professional and trustworthy water treatment system specialists are also an important consideration for consumers to consider. Due diligence on the consumer’s part is the best way to assure the success of any trade person’s installation or product.
In most cases, installation companies will offer the consumer a free water quality test to determine their specific needs. They will then usually guide the customer through the system selection process. You can, of course, employ an independent firm to carry out the test who have no ties to water treatment supplies.
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Water Supply Types
The need for treatment will depend on the waters source and associated contamination from the local land use or natural contamination. Water supplies most commonly come from the following:
Groundwater remains the most common source for bathing which may or may not need treatment.
Brackish waters, from for example estuaries, after desalination, are usually used for gardening and irrigation.
Surface waters sourced from, for example, lakes, are usually safe to drink but may need some treatment to remove contaminants.
Let's take a look at common issues and available solutions.
Water Treatment Systems - Contaminant types
A variety of different contaminants can make your water supply less than ideal for consumption or use. Some companies may use the term "purify" on their marketing materials, but this is actually a little misleading. Pure water is H2O and nothing else, which of course is highly unlikely to be found in nature.
Some systems specialize in UV treatment of water supplies to disinfect it. This treatment method kills the contaminating bacteria that would if consumed, potentially lead to illness.
Water softening systems excess mineral content in "hard" water. The minerals in question are excess concentrations of calcium, magnesium and certain other metal cations.
Many water treatment companies offer services to remove a wide variety of materials from water. This can include heavy metals (from industrial contamination, damaged pipework, sediment and chlorine from public water disinfection. These contaminants will either affect the water's taste (metallic or chemical) and visual clarity but can potentially affect your health.
Some supplier companies provide systems that perform several different water treatment systems that treat various issues such as water hardness and pollutant filtration. This is often performed by installing ionic exchange devices or Granular Active Carbon (GAC).
Brackish Water Treatment
Desalination is usually performed by reverse osmosis.
Surface Water Treatment
Sources including rainwater or water at the top of natural water bodies may need to be treated to remove algae, bacteria, and other insoluble items prior to being deemed safe to drink. This can be performed by filtration, chemical or non-chemical treatment.
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Water Treatment Systems Types
There are essentially only two principal locations for installing water treatment systems. Which of the two systems you need depends upon what you hope to accomplish. These are:
Point of Entry (POE)
As the term suggests, these types of systems treat the water supply before it enters the domestic water distribution system. POE systems are usually installed after water meters or storage tanks.
Point of Use (POU)
POU systems, as the name suggests, are installed at locations like the kitchen sink or a showerhead.
Water treatment systems are great ways to treat impure or contaminated water supplies for your home or business. They often encompass one or more of the following methods.
Water filtration clean water by trapping contaminants in a filter. The filtered materials are often absorbed or broken down after filtration.
This method uses UV-C to fatally interfere with the bacteria's DNA. UV treatment is actually more effective than chlorination. For Legionella, however, this system's efficacy may not be reliable alone.
Reverse osmosis is a process where inorganic solids such as salts are removed from a solution, such as water. This is accomplished by using water pressure to push the water supply through a semipermeable membrane. In effect, this method mechanically forces the impurities out through a filter.
The softened water is more compatible with soap but also extends the lifetime of plumbing and of course your very expensive kettle. Water softening is achieved using lime softening or ion-exchange resins.
Some systems may claim to be eco-friendly when in fact they are not. Softeners, for instance, may produce wastewater that is potentially hazardous to the environment. Water filtration companies will differ greatly on how their systems are potentially damaging to the environment after the treatment process.
Green filtration companies will hold environmental protection foremost in their products. They will only ever use "green" materials and products.
Eco-friendly water treatment systems will offer products that are, for example, salt-free treatment, which uses less water during treatment than traditional salt-based systems.
Traditional water treatment systems companies use traditional techniques and products. These companies are not particularly focused on environmental-friendliness.
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Customer maintenance requirements
Maintenance remains the hidden cost for any technological solution to a problem such as water purity. Performing proper maintenance on water treatment systems ensures its lifespan and efficiency.
Water treatment systems will vary in the consumers need to maintain it or not.
None required - Some companies will offer "all in" options where they supply and fit the technology and also handle regular checks and maintenance.
Minimal Maintenance - This is a hybrid option where the supplier will only replace or repair devices/clogged filter but will need the customer to check filters.
Customer Maintenance - These types of systems will have complete control over the maintenance of the system after installation. This would usually mean replacing the filters once clogged.