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Water Basics

Water
All living things on the earth depend on water.animals as well as Plants need water to survive and grow.most of the life processes animals and plants occur in the medium of water.it also help animals to keep cool.The blood in our body is mostly water. water also helps to keep our muscles and joints running smoothly.Nearly three-fourths of the earth’s surface is covered with WATER.About 70% of the human body is water.

  • Rain is the main source of WATER, especially in California. We need it. Rain water is free from solid soluble impurities but has dust and dissolved gases in it.
  • All living things need water.
  • The major source of water are oceans, rivers and springs.
  • Impure water contains three types of impurities: soluble and insoluble.
  • Insoluble impurities can be removed by the process of filtration,decantation.
  • Soluble impurities can be removed by the process of evaporation,distillation and filtration.
  • Germs are removed through the process of boiling and chlorination.
  • Water should be conserved and prevented from getting polluted.

Basics of Water Treatment
Water quality improvement entails the disinfection and purification of untreated ground and surface water.

At Local level

The function of a public or private water treatment facility is to make water potable (safe to drink) and palatable (pleasant to taste) while also ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of water to meet the community’s needs.

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 pre-treated to remove debris such as leaves and silt. Then, a sequence of treatment processes — including filtration and disinfection with chemicals or physical processes — destroys disease-causing microorganisms. 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.

Public vs. Private

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 individual wells serving a single household, to small corporate associations that provide water to a small group of homes, or to large corporations that have their own water service divisions. Whether public or private, all U.S. water utilities that serve more than 25 people must adhere to water quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state and local regulations.

Point-of-Use and Point-of-Entry Treatment

Point-of-Use (POU) devices treat water at the point of consumption. The technology provides the final barrier to the contaminants of concern before the water is consumed or used. Some commonly used technologies include:

  • Activated Carbon
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Technologies
  • Distillation

Point-of-Entry (POE) devices are whole-house treatment systems mainly designed to reduce contaminants in water intended for showering, washing dishes and clothes, brushing teeth, and flushing toilets.

  • Ion Exchange
  • Activated Carbon
  • Filtration

Clean drinking water is an essential part of daily life, so it’s no surprise humans have created many ways to treat water. In fact, water filtration systems have long been a part of civilization, dating as far back as ancient times. Filter technologies vary greatly but it is difficult to crown one system as superior, since the different types serve different purposes.

The Basics of Water Filters

Some filtration systems rely on several technologies, while others are specific and effective on their own. Each system type removes different impurities, so it’s important to choose the right type of filter for the type of contaminants you wish to eliminate. Using a filter backed by a third-party certification, such as the NSF, will ensure it removes a specific contaminant. Keep in mind that even within the same type of technology, the contaminants removed can vary. For example, some carbon filters remove chlorine while others do not.

Carbon Filters
Carbon has long played a role in water purification, with some evidence suggesting the ancient Egyptians used carbon in water storage barrels. Carbon filtration can improve the taste, odor and color of water, as well as remove or reduce contaminants such as chlorine and pesticides.
In a carbon filter system, water is filtered through carbon to remove impurities through chemical adsorption. The adsorption process differs from absorption in that materials adhere to a solid, rather than permeating it. During carbon filtration, contaminants are trapped by activated carbon while the water passes through. Activated carbon is a form of treated carbon that is highly porous with a large surface area, making it ideal for filtration. The most common types of carbon filtration systems are granular activated filters (GAC) and powdered block filters, the latter of which removes a greater number of contaminants.

Ion Exchange
This technology is used in water purification and water softeners. In this system, water passes over an ion-exchange resin composed of many tiny beads. The unwanted ions are trapped in the resin and another ion is released, hence an “exchange” is made. For example, as part of a water purification process an ion exchange might replace copper particles with sodium. As with carbon, the resin’s beads are highly porous and have a large surface area.

Mechanical Filters
Mechanical filters remove solid particles from water, such as sediments. A mechanical filter is covered in small holes that water passes through. Particles are then trapped in a synthetic material inside of the filter, such as nylon. Mechanical filtration is commonly used in aquariums to improve water clarity and remove fish waste. On their own, mechanical filters do not remove chemical contaminants, they require additional systems.

Reverse Osmosis

In this system pressure is used to flow water through a semipermeable membrane, which traps particles and allows the water to pass through. Reverse osmosis can turn saltwater (or any water source) into drinkable or potable water. This technology is often used as part of a more integrated filtration system using several technologies.

“Reverse osmosis is now used in medicine and industry as a means of purifying or separating water and other solvents from other components. In recent years, it has been used increasingly for making pure water for dialysis in hospitals and for producing Water for Injection.

Seabirds use reverse osmosis to desalinate seawater. They possess a membrane in their throats which allows water molecules to get through and stops the salt. This enables them to drink fresh, unsalted water, and they spit out the salty waste.

Reverse Osmosis and Humans

Humans worked out how to copy this process around 40 years ago for the same reason – to desalinate seawater.

A Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant
Schematic diagram of a Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant
Reverse osmosis is now used in medicine and industry as a means of purifying or separating water and other solvents from other components. In recent years, it has been used increasingly for making pure water for dialysis in hospitals and for producing Water for Injection.

Reverse Osmosis: A Scientific Explanation

Reverse osmosis is a complicated process which uses a membrane under pressure to separate relatively pure water (or other solvent) from a less pure solution. When two aqueous solutions of different concentrations are separated by a semi-permeable membrane, water passes through the membrane in the direction of the more concentrated solution as a result of osmotic pressure. If enough counter pressure is applied to the concentrated solution to overcome the osmotic pressure, the flow of water will be reversed.

Water molecules can form hydrogen bonds in the reverse osmosis membrane and fit into the membrane matrix. The water molecules that enter the membrane by hydrogen bonding can be pushed through under pressure. Most organic substances with a molecular weight over 100 are sieved out, i.e., oils, pyrogens and particulates including bacteria and viruses.

Salt ions, on the other hand, are rejected by a mechanism related to the valence of the ion. Ions are repelled by dielectric interactions; ions with higher charges are repelled to a greater distance from the membrane surface. The nominal rejection ratio of common ionic salts is 85 – 98%.

Membrane

The majority of the commercially manufactured Reverse O smosis (RO) membranes are usually made from cellulose acetate, polysulfonate, and polyamide. The membrane consists of a skin about 0.25 microns and a support layer about 100 microns. The skin is the active barrier and primarily allows water to pass through.

Quality of Reverse Osmosis Product Water

The amount of dissolved solids in water produced by reverse osmosis is approximately a constant percentage of those in the feed water. For example, when the feed water contains 300 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS), the product water may have 15 to 30 ppm (95% and 90% rejection ratio respectively). A RO system design is based on a certain range of feed water TDS, the percentage of rejection and percentage of recovery desired. For a given system, the higher the percentage of recovery or the lower the percentage of rejection, the poorer the quality of product water becomes. The video below shows a Reverse Osmosis Electrolysis Demonstration.

Water Softeners
Water is considered “hard” if it contains too many minerals. Hard water is undesirable since it can cause build up in pipes and appliances. Water softening uses an ion exchange to remove or lower ions that cause hard water, such as magnesium or calcium. Water softeners do not remove chemical contaminants.
While there are plenty of products available on the market, not all are created equal. We hope this information can help you understand what goes into common water filters and which one might work best for your home and your personal needs.

CARBON FILTRATION FACTS

WHAT IS CARBON FILTRATION?
It is a method of removing contaminants and impurities in water by using chemical adsorption. Each carbon granular has a very large porous surface area One pound contains a surface area equal to approximately 100 acres.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  • Activated Carbon works using a process called adsorption, whereby the pollutant molecules in the water are trapped inside the pore structure of the carbon substrate
  • What is ADSORPTION?- the adhesion in an extremely thin layer of molecules to the surfaces of solid bodies or liquids with which they are in contact with.
  • Basically, as the water passes by the carbon granules the “bad elements” are trapped to the surface of the carbon granule.

WHAT POLLUTANTS DOES CARBON REMOVE?

  • Chlorine, Benzene, Radon, Solvents, Trihalomethane Compounds, Volatile Organic Chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides as well as hundreds of other man made chemicals that water may come in contact with during its travels to your tap.
  • Catalytic Carbon will remove Chloramines which is a combination of Chlorine and Ammonia, which many consider to be the cause of copper water pipe leaks.
  • Removes the bad odors and tastes from the water to all your fixtures.

WHAT MAINTENANCE DOES IT REQUIRE?

  • There is no maintenance required

Bone Char Carbon
Bone char is a granular material produced by charring animal bones: the bones are heated to high temperatures (in the range of 400 to 500 °C) in an oxygen-depleted atmosphere to control the quality of the product as related to its adsorption capacity for applications such as de-fluoridation of water and removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions.

FLUORIDE
What are the common sources of fluoride?

  • Toothpaste (if swallowed by young children).
  • Drinking water in fluoridated communities.
  • Beverages and food processed with fluoridated water.
  • Dietary prescription supplements that include fluoride (e.g., tablets or drops).
  • Other professional dental products (e.g., mouth rinses, gels, and foams).
  • Fluoride is difficult to remove from water.

When buying a water filter, you may be comforted by reading that the system you are purchasing removes 95 to 99% of contaminants, but if it does not specifically state that it removes fluoride, it doesn’t. Fluoride is a very small ion.
Ways to Remove Fluoride from Water

Reverse Osmosis Filtration
This is used to purify several types of bottled water (not all), so some bottled waters are un-fluoridated. Commercial Reverse osmosis systems are generally unaffordable for personal use.

Activated Alumina De-fluoridation Filter
These filters are used in locales where fluorosis is prevalent. They are relatively expensive (lowest price I saw was $30/filter) and require frequent replacement, but do offer an option for home water filtration.

Distillation Filtration
There are commercially available distillation filters that can be purchased to remove fluoride from water. On a related note: When looking at bottled water, keep in mind that ‘distilled water’ does not imply that a product is suitable for drinking water and other undesirable impurities may be present.

New report finds 'Erin Brockovich' chemical in US drinking water

(CNN)Dangerous levels of chromium-6 are contaminating tap water consumed by hundreds of millions of Americans, according to a national report released Tuesday.

Chromium-6 is the carcinogenic chemical that was featured in the popular 2000 movie "Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts as the titular activist. The US Environmental Protection Agency has never set a specific limit for chromium-6 in drinking water.

There is scientific uncertainty regarding safe levels of this chemical in drinking water and possible long-term consequences of ingestion. But this new analysis from the Environmental Working Group, an independent advocacy group, examines evidence from water systems throughout the nation and concludes that the tap water of 218 million Americans contains levels of chromium-6 that the group considers dangerous.

"Whether it is chromium-6, PFOA or lead, the public is looking down the barrel of a serious water crisis across the country that has been building for decades," Brockovich said in a written statement Tuesday, blaming it on "corruption, complacency and utter incompetence."

Specifically, the new report indicates that levels of chromium-6 are at or above 0.03 parts per billion in 75% of the samples tested by local water utilities on behalf of the EPA between 2013 and 2015. Seven million Americans receive tap water with levels of chromium-6 that are higher than the legal limit established by California -- 10 ppb -- which is the only state to enforce a maximum contaminant level.

All these figures may be confusing, but the real point is that chromium-6 is one of many chemicals in our environment, said Bill Walker, co-author of the report and managing editor of the Environmental Working Group. The group receives grant money from the Turner Foundation, which is chaired by CNN founder Ted Turner, who is no longer involved with the news organization or any Turner entity.

"Americans are exposed to dozens if not hundreds of other cancer-causing chemicals every day in their drinking water, their consumer products and their foods," Walker said. "And what the best science of the last decade tells us is that these chemicals acting in combination with each other can be more dangerous than exposure to a single chemical."

What is chromium-6?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants, soil and volcanic dust and gases, according to the National Toxicology Program.

It comes in several forms, including what is commonly called chromium-3, an essential nutrient for the body. Chromium-6, which is rare in nature, is produced by industrial processes. Chromium-6 is used in electroplating, stainless steel production, leather tanning, textile manufacturing and wood preservation, according to the National Toxicology Program (PDF). Chromium-6 is also found in the ash from coal-burning power plants and used to lower the temperature of water in the cooling towers of power plants.

Scientific reports have indicated that breathing in airborne chromium-6 particles can cause lung cancer. Based on these reports, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets strict limits for airborne chromium-6 in the workplace.

By contrast, although it lacks a specific limit for chromium-6, the EPA has established a drinking water standard of 100 parts per billion for all forms of chromium. This limit was established in 1991 based on scientific information at that time indicating that large quantities of chromium were toxic.

In 2008, a two-year study by the National Toxicology Program found that drinking water with chromium-6 caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice.
"In terms of cancer studies, that is the gold standard of animal studies," said David Andrews, co-author of the report and a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. He said a separate scientific study (PDF) found a higher incidence of stomach cancers in workers routinely exposed to chromium-6.

Based on the 2008 report and other research, scientists at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment set a public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion in tap water. The new report notes that the scientists believe this level would pose only "negligible risk over a lifetime of consumption."

Still, Walker and Andrews say this is a problem. Exposure to very low levels at crucial periods during the development of a fetus, infant or child could cause "much more serious problems" than it does for an adult drinking a larger dose, Walker explained.

In 2014, California regulators adopted a legal limit of 10 ppb as the state's enforceable standard: 500 times higher than the public health goal established by scientists. New Jersey and North Carolina government scientists independently assessed a health-based maximum contamination level for chromium-6 that is only slightly higher than California's.

"They essentially confirmed what California found. The difference is minimal," Andrews said.

Unregulated contaminants

For its report, the Environmental Working Group reviewed the EPA's third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule.

"The EPA periodically does this: goes down and looks for what it calls unregulated contaminants," or chemicals in drinking water that are not regulated, Walker said. The EPA gathers its information through local utilities and then takes the results "under advisement," according to Walker.
According to the group, the report indicated that only one public water system had total chromium exceeding EPA standards, but 2% of the water systems -- 1,370 counties -- had chromium-6 levels exceeding California's standard of 10 ppb.

Oklahoma, Arizona and California had the highest average statewide levels and the greatest shares of detections above California's public health goal of 0.02 ppb, the report found. Of major cities, Phoenix had the highest average level at almost 400 times this health goal. St. Louis County, Houston, Los Angeles and Suffolk County, New York, also had relatively high levels.

"EWG's report is another wakeup call that we must take this issue seriously," said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who this month introduced an amendment to require testing of all public water supplies for unregulated contaminants.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in a statement that it weighed all of the scientific evidence and "does not anticipate excess cancer risks from chromium-6 concentrations routinely measured in drinking water in Texas."

The EPA did not directly address the report, but a representative said the agency is working on a health assessment of chromium-6 that will be released for public comment in 2017.

According to Andrews and Walker, this means more delays and more time wasted.

"The inability to complete health assessments is hindering health protective regulations," Andrews said.

"When you find widespread evidence of contamination, do something about it. Don't just study it to death," Walker said, adding that the new report is not about "trying to raise the alarm about a single chemical. We're kind of using chromium-6 as a poster child for systemic failures of drinking water regulation."

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/20/health/chromium-6-in-drinking-water/

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