Saturday, November 13, 2010

Water purification technology ensures safe water

Have you ever wondered how water that falls as rain or comes from the ground is purified and delivered to your home or business for consumption? In Tanzania like anywhere else where ground drilling technology is being practiced, it all happens at the tens of thousands of public water purification plants where raw water is treated to remove impurities before being piped to end users through an extensive distribution network. Once water is drilled from the ground, is collected and reserved in large containers before use. It has to be purified for the first stage of its treatment. “This is called water purification” says a water expert from the Drilling and Dam Construction Agency (DDCA). According to him, this is a process of removing undesirable chemicals, materials, and biological contaminants from raw water. The goal is to produce water fit for a specific purpose. Most water is purified for human consumption (drinking water), but water can be treated for a variety of other uses. The purification technology used depends on the specific treatment requirements, the raw water source and the contaminants present may also be designed for a variety of other purposes, including meeting the requirements of medical, pharmacology, chemical and industrial applications. In general the methods used include physical processes such as filtration and sedimentation, biological processes such as slow sand filters or activated sludge, chemical processes such as flocculation and chlorination and the use of electromagnetic radiation such as ultra-violet light. Water is found in nature, but pure water is not. Contaminants, such as minerals, toxic metals and suspended organic particles, enter the water through contact with air, rain and runoff. Purified water is necessary to sustain life, food production and recreational water use, and to prevent life-threatening illnesses, such as acute diarrhea, parasitic diseases and cholera. Water also must be cleaned to meet the requirements of medical, pharmacological, chemical and industrial applications for these business sectors to survive.
Locally trained health officials have all the time insists water users to boil it before use, this is also another water treatment method. The boiling process kills waterborne germs that might be found in it, and if left without being treated are likely to cause infections such as diarrhea or cholera diseases. The purification process of water may reduce the concentration of a particular matter including suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi, and a range of dissolved and particular material derived from the surfaces that water may have made contact with after falling as rain. Water purification can effectively remove a wide range of contaminants, including aquatic pathogens, heavy metals, toxic chemicals and pesticides. A number of elective treatment processes also address drinking water aesthetics by eliminating objectionable smells and tastes, and improving appearance.
Once raw water from surface and groundwater supplies enters the purification plant, mechanical and chemical treatment processes are used, depending on the scale of the plant, contaminants present and intended use of the finished water.
The standards for drinking water quality are typically set by governments or by international standards. These standards will typically set minimum and maximum concentrations of contaminants for the use that is to be made of the water. It is not possible to tell whether water is of an appropriate quality by visual examination. Simple procedures such as boiling or the use of a household activated carbon filter are not sufficient for treating all the possible contaminants that may be present in water from an unknown source. According to a 2007 World Health Organization report, 1.1 billion people lack access to an improved drinking water supply, 88 percent of the 4 billion annual cases of diarrhea disease are attributed to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, and 1.8 million people die from diarrhea diseases each year. The WHO estimates that 94 percent of these diarrhea cases are preventable through modifications to the environment, including access to safe water. Simple techniques for treating water at home, such as chlorination, filters, and solar disinfection, and storing it in safe containers could save a huge number of lives each year. Worldwide, the lack of access to water treated at purification plants or water treated by any means for that matter presents one of the largest public health challenges today. Reducing deaths from waterborne diseases is a major public health goal in developing countries.
Statistics shows that, some 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and about 6,000 people a day die from water-related illnesses. Many organizations are working to help developing nations identify sustainable clean water solutions, including the drilling of wells.

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