This post explains water treatment in detail and discusses its use in municipal sewage plants, in home filtration systems and in developing countries. Discover how this growing market works and why it is so important for our health.
When most of us drink water from the taps we tend not to think about it all that much and just take for granted that it's going to be fine. Of course, there are serious problems with water elsewhere in the world, but most of us who are fortunate enough to live in developed countries don't have to worry about it. Right?
Well actually no – most of us don't have particularly good water habits at all and are in fact damaging our health in a number of ways as a result. If you don't currently give your water much thought then read on and discover why the water treatment equipment market is such an important market and such a big force.
Fortunately, more and more people are now discovering the importance of good water habits, while developing countries are starting to see basic water treatment being introduced. This is why the market is growing and why it is key to learn more about it.
Water Filtration and Treatment: Challenges and Issues
What problems do most people have with their water?
The first issue is that most people don't drink anywhere near enough of it. Most governments tend to recommend 5-7 glasses a day but then that's a conservative estimate. Most Americans are actually dehydrated all the time, and this can have serious repercussions for their health – limiting their absorption of nutrients, damaging their skin and hair, causing headaches and slow thinking, reducing muscle growth and even causing bad breath. So, the first thing you need to do then is just drink more.
Water treatment plants ensure that the water that comes to our taps won’t kill us and this works using ‘sludge treatment’ which removes wastewater into the municipal sewer system. This is now referred to as a wastewater treatment plant. This enables us to drink water collected from various sources (such as rain water) and also means that water can be recycled after being used in our homes. But a lot of this water is wasted in the process, making it important that we are careful how we use it.
Your Water System
More to the point though you need to think about what you are drinking and how clean that water is. Most of us drink water that waits in a tank or in a well, and actually this can cause problems if that water storage isn't properly maintained. Not only can you pick up all kinds of bacteria in there, but you can also be at risk from heavy metals and other contaminants. It's crucial then to make sure that you get your water tank regularly maintained, and this will also help you to save energy and thus money.
The Water That Goes In
But even with the cleanest, newest tank in the world you are still at risk from contaminants which can get in even before your water gets to your home. There are traces of pesticides in the water for instance that come from farmers, there are toxins that are picked up from pipes and the surrounding earth, as well as hormones from women's health products, bacteria, metals and more.
Likewise, some of the elements that are added by local water treatment facilities (which ensure our water is safe for drinking) are highly contentious. These include the likes of fluoride. This substance, which is also found in toothpaste, is intended to help improve oral hygiene and to strengthen teeth and enamel. Unfortunately, fluoride is also potential ‘neurotoxic’ meaning that it could be damaging to the brain and nervous system. Not only that, but it might actually be bad for the teeth of young children. For these reasons, some people believe that this should be removed from the water filtration process.
Likewise, chlorine which is added in order to kill off unwanted bacteria, can also be toxic and particularly when it comes into contact with other toxins. Your water won't kill you overnight, but over time it can damage your health and even alter your hormone balance. This is why it's a good idea to use some kind of filter at the tap as well as in your tank or well. These use substances such as activated charcoal which absorb the toxins as the water passes through to provide you with clear and fresh drinking water that will be much safer to drink.
Water Filtration Systems
More effective and more important is to use the right water filtration systems. Water filtration is used in order to remove a large number of the toxins, additives and bacteria that finds its way into our water supply.
These can use a range of different processes. Some systems utilize a form of activated carbon such as charcoal or coconut shells. This carbon is highly porous to the point where the surface area of a tiny amount can technically cover hundreds of miles!
This then means it can capture toxins and bacteria as they travel through. You’ll need to replace the carbon filters from time to time, but it’s a good system that works well for many of the issues at hand.
More effective is reverse osmosis, which forces water through a membrane in order to remove microscopic particles. Other forms of water treatment that can occur in the home or at the sewage facility also exist, including water softening which removes unwanted calcium and magnesium to ensure the longevity of equipment, to remove bad odors and more.
Water Filtration in Developing Countries
These commercial filtration systems that we use are used to remove further toxins and unwanted additives after the water has been treated. But in developing countries, these luxuries are not available. A lot of work is being done to provide suitable water treatment in these areas and to educate populations of the dangers of poor hygiene. This developing world offers a moral call to arms but also a potential business opportunity as a new territory for a growing market.