Inquiry Project-Understanding Water Treatment

For my inquiry project, I decided to understand water treatment. Some things I tried to understand about water treatment is where we can find water treatment systems, what components are in a water treatment system, and why we use these systems. I was originally drawn to this subject due to the effects that untreated water has and how some places have water that is not treated properly. As this occurs, people can become very sick and face life-threatening diseases.

Firstly, water treatment facilities can be found in many towns and cities. Depending on the size of the place, the level of water treatments can change. It is common that much municipal wastewater and water treatments use only the primary and secondary levels of treatment while larger locations will use all three treatment levels for the best quality of water. [1] Many water treatment systems now add fluoridation, which helps prevent tooth decay. [2] Chloramine (monochloramine or NH2Cl) is one of the most common substances that is used to disinfect the water and get rid of some bacteria.[2] These two substances can be used to kill other things such as salmonella, campylobacter, and norovirus. [3]

Having separate and different components in water treatment is very important. Having many filtration and disinfecting components helps to have water that is best for you and will not make you sick. Common steps in water treatment are coagulation and flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.[1] In coagulation and flocculation, chemicals that have a positive charge are added to the water. This is done to neutralize the negative charge of dirt particles. As this happens the particles bind with the chemicals to create what we call floc. [1]In the process of sedimentation, the floc is left to settle in the bottom of the container. Once all the floc particles have settled to the bottom, the process of filtration can happen.[1] The water will pass through many filters to remove things such as dissolved particles and harmful parasites. In the process of disinfection, chlorine or chloramine is added to the water to remove parasites, bacteria, and possible viruses from the water. [1] Up to 4 milligrams of chlorine per litre is considered safe for drinking water.[3]

The reasons we use water treatment systems are very simple but extremely important for the well-being of people. If water is untreated, many harmful waterborne germs can be left in the water such as E. coli, Hepatitis A, cryptosporidium, and Giardia intestinalis.[2]  Some of these waterborne germs can cause you to feel very sick. In some places that are not as fortunate to have good water treatment systems such as regions in south Armenia, heavy metals were found in water streams that are used as drinking water, elements such as silver, tellurium, copper, iron, cadmium, zinc, and mercury could be found (some are harmful with consumption).[4] In small places, minor rivers can make up the majority of the source of drinking water[4], these factors greatly affect the communities.



One Reply to “Inquiry Project-Understanding Water Treatment”

  1. Hi Morgan,
    Your inquiry topic is astonishing! Water treatment is very crucial to the existence of humans, and it can have a large impact on the health of people. I can’t wait to educate myself further on the importance of clean water in our society!

    Here are a couple of sources that may help:

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