Bacteria and viruses are present in drinking water that we get from municipal suppliers as well as from natural sources of water. These bacteria and viruses can be very harmful to health and need to be removed from the water before consumption. Humans have been using a variety of methods to purify water for drinking and other purposes for ages.
There are ancient methods as well as the most advanced present-day technology for the purification of water. The conventional methods take time and effort, whereas the present-day methods are almost effortless. All we need is to install some devices like RO or UV purifiers to purify our water. Let us explore all the methods to remove bacteria and viruses from water.
Boil the water
The simplest and conventional method is to boil the water and leave it for cooling before drinking. Tubewell is used to pump up the underground water and it is then treated with chemicals like chlorine before supplying it to our homes. The underground water contains a lot of viruses.
Some of them are killed during treatment, but some viruses are left in the water we receive in our homes. Boiling the water up to the boiling point kills most viruses and makes it fit for consumption. However, we need to leave the boiled water for some time to let it cool before drinking.
Boiling can remove viruses from water and reduce other pathogens, but it doesn’t 100% purify the water. It looks great for drinking, too but is definitely an inconvenient method for doing other household chores.
Chlorine removes bacteria and viruses from the water. When we add chlorine to the water, it forms hypochlorous acid, which penetrates the cell walls of viruses and bacteria, destroying them from the inside out. Chlorine is a popular choice in water treatment centers around the world because it continues to keep the water clean over time.
However, it can leave a residual chemical odor in tap water. If this is a problem, a charcoal filter is recommended to greatly improve the taste and smell of your water. Chlorination also requires some contact time to kill microorganisms (usually 30 minutes).
For this reason, water is often stored in a large storage tank or, after chlorination, passed through a series of spiral pipes. Chlorine systems require maintenance to ensure that they are working properly and the chlorine supply must be replenished regularly.
Distillation is a method of purifying water that uses heat to collect pure water in the form of steam. The water is exposed to a heat source until it reaches its boiling point. It is then left at the boiling point until it evaporates. This steam is sent to a condenser for cooling. After cooling, the steam turns into liquid, clean and potable water. Other substances with a higher boiling point remain in the container as sediment.
UV disinfection kills the viruses when they are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. In a UV system, ultraviolet light kills viruses and other organisms by emitting water as it flows over a glass glove that contains the light source.
This method of disinfection uses a small but significant amount of electricity. It is important that the water is very clear so that ultraviolet light can reach viruses, so anything that does not make the water completely clear (such as sediment or organic matter) should be filtered before entering the water.
Ozonation is similar to chlorination in that ozone is injected into the water and kills viruses and other organisms. Ozone is an oxidizing gas that is generated using electricity and then injected into water. Ozonation systems are more expensive than UV or chlorination systems, but they can treat water for various contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, iron, and manganese.
An ultrafiltration system makes the water pass through a hollow membrane that traps bacteria, viruses, chlorine, and many metals. Viruses escape through most filters due to their small size. The size of the ultrafiltration membrane is 0.025 micrometers, while that of viruses is 0.1 micrometers.
However, the process of ultrafiltration should not be considered to treat water from natural sources such as lakes or rainwater. An ultrafiltration system works best in conjunction with other precautions such as a UV system. The membranes are available in the form of cartridges and need replacement after a specified time. The replacement filter cartridges should always be installed by a professional.
These were some methods to remove the viruses from the water. However, these methods are not easy to use in homes or businesses as they require proper equipment, expertise, and environment to work. Homeowners and business owners should always consult a professional water purification service for the removal of bacteria, viruses, or contaminants from water.