Understanding the Top Water Treatment Methods

Understanding the Top Water Treatment Methods

Many of us take our tap water for granted, but it has to go through a number of processes to ensure that it is safe and clean for us to drink. Water is a natural solvent, so it can pick up minerals, metals, and even viruses and bacteria. Luckily, water treatment facilities have a number of methods to make water safe for human consumption. The processes of treating water may have some differences between different locations, but here we’ll explore some of the top methods, so you can understand how your water is treated.


Coagulation involves adding liquid aluminum sulfate or polymer to the untreated or raw water. This results in a mixture where the dirt particles in the water will coagulate and stick together. Once this has occurred, the groups of particles form into larger particles or flocs that can be removed easily using settling or filtration.


When the water and flocs undergo treatment, they are passed into sedimentation basins. At this point, the water is moving slowly, which allows the heavier floc particles to settle at the bottom. The accumulated floc on the bottom is known as sludge, and this is carried to a drying lagoon. If your water treatment process uses direct filtration, it may not include the sedimentation step, so the floc is removed by filtration methods.


As the name suggests, this stage of water treatment involves the water being passed through filters. These filters are designed to remove particles from the water and are usually composed of crushed anthracite or gravel and sand. Filtration allows impurities that are floating in the water to be gathered together to increase the effectiveness of the disinfection process. These filters are periodically backwashed to clean any debris and maintain the effectiveness of the filtration process.


Before water can be passed into the distribution system to travel to your home, it needs to be protected against viruses, parasites, and disease causing bacteria. Most municipal plants use chlorine as it is a highly effective disinfectant, but some facilities have switched to chloramine, which is a chlorine ammonia solution that offers additional disinfection potential.


This stage is compulsory in some areas of the country and approximately 70% of cities in the United States supply fluoridated water. Fluoridation is designed to treat water supplies to adjust the concentrations of free fluoride ions. Fluoridation is thought to reduce dental cavities when delivered at an optimum level. Fluoride is added to the water as one of the final treatment processes before it is passed to the distribution system.

An Additional Layer of Protection

While these processes are designed to make your water safe to drink, some stages such as disinfection can leave an unpalatable chemical smell or taste. Additionally, as water passes through the miles of pipes to get to your home, it can pick up debris, metals, and contaminants. For this reason, many homeowners prefer to have an additional layer of protection with a domestic water treatment device. These devices can be fitted to treat water as it enters your home and are tailored to the unique characteristics of your water. A fully WQA certified technician can guide you through the options that will ensure that your family can enjoy delicious, clean and safe water.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.

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Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

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