Common Water Filtration Systems and their various Uses
While some water filtration systems in use today may be far more sophisticated, various means with which to remove the undissolved solids present in the liquid drawn from rivers or wells have been in use for many centuries. Since time began, however, Mother Nature has relied upon a simple yet highly effective means to achieve this, and it is one that humankind eventually adapted for its own purposes, and which is still in use today. The process of allowing a liquid to percolate through a layer of sand offers a remarkably effective means to remove even relatively fine solids, and one of the ways in which this principle has been applied to our modern lifestyles is as the basis of water filtration systems used to maintain swimming pools throughout South Africa and across the globe.
Filtering, of course, may be undertaken in a variety of ways, depending upon the precise requirements. One of the first requirements of a municipal plant responsible for supplying homes and businesses is to remove large object from the source that might interfere with later processing. Generally referred to as screening, it involves straining the inflow from rivers or reservoirs through a coarse mesh to remove branches, leaves and the kind of detritus that the less responsible citizens are too often content to dispose of in a nearby river or dam.
Following this preliminary screening, pre-chlorination may be undertaken to arrest the growth of bacteria and algae. Sedimentation is the next step in municipal systems, water filtration being just one of the steps that are required to complete the process of producing a purified end product suitable for drinking purposes. Of the solids present, those that are densest will settle out quickly under the influence of gravity alone. Fine particles will fail to sediment in this fashion and so the addition of a chemical designed to promote these to combine and form larger and denser particles is frequently necessary.
Only after these important preliminary treatments have been completed is it time for a municipal purification system to begin the process that we actually tend to think of as water filtration. Even for an operation on this scale, as with the swimming pool, the solution is to pass the pre-treated liquid through a sand bed which may also contain other active substances that act to enhance the absorption of the tiniest particles. This modern update of a process first employed in ancient Egypt will then be followed by treatments to break down remaining organic residues that may be present and, finally, to disinfect the purified, potable product prior to distribution.
While these are processes performed on an industrial scale by a service provider, there are a number of instances in which a much scaled-down type of water filtration system may be of value. Known as point-of-use filters, they can be manufactured from a variety of materials, such as metal alloys, activated granular carbon, carbon block resin, and microporous ceramics, to name just a few. Filters of this type are designed to be attached directly to an outlet such as a domestic tap, or perhaps inserted into a shower head, and some models of kettle may have one built-in as a means to limit the build-up of limescale for those living in areas where this tends to be a problem.
When planning a camping trip or a spot of hiking in the Bushveld, there is a limit to how much one can carry, but there are now portable water filtration systems that have made it possible to guarantee a potable supply on demand in locations where it might be unwise to drink directly from natural sources. In fact, it is common practice for members of the armed forces to employ this type of technology in hostile environments. A user may be required to operate the device with a hand pump or rely on some other means to force the dirty water through the filter, while others may be built in to a canteen. The filters act to remove any organisms that might be hazardous to one’s health, such as protozoa and bacteria, both in their active and encysted states.
In summary, there are many types of water filtration system and a wide range of applications for them. For specialist advice and world-class, quality products, WaterIcon is regarded as a local leader in this increasingly important field.