Water Quality Association

Water Treatment For Dummies

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6 Treating the water Water treatment involves disinfecting and puri- fying untreated ground and surface water. The purpose of a public or private water treatment facility is to make water potable — that is to say, safe to drink — as well as palatable — good tasting. The facility also ensures that there's an adequate supply of water to meet the community's needs. Given that many people think of water as something they use to clean other things, how exactly is water itself cleaned through water treatment? Raw and untreated water is obtained from an underground aquifer (usually through wells) or from a surface water source, such as a lake or river. It is pumped, or flows, to a treatment facility. Once there, the water is pretreated to remove debris such as leaves and silt. Then, a sequence of treatment processes — including filtration and disinfection with chemicals or physical processes — eliminates disease- causing microorganisms. It's a highly complex process, and you'll be glad to know that it's closely monitored for quality control. When the treatment is complete, water flows out into the community through a network of pipes and pumps that are commonly referred to as the distribution system. What's the difference between public and private water treatment facilities? Public, municipal systems are owned and operated by the cities or towns they serve, and they're typically under the management of a mayor or other elected official. Private systems range from indi- vidual wells serving a single household, to small corpo- rate associations that provide water to a small group of These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and any dissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.

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