Water treatment describes a process used to make water more acceptable for a desired end-use. These can include use as drinking water, industrial processes, medical and many other uses. The goal of all water treatment process is to remove existing components in the water, improving it for subsequent utilization.
The goal may be to allow treated water to discharge into the nature environment without adverse ecological impact. These processes may be physical such as settlement, chemical such as disinfection or coagulation or biological such as lagooning, slow sand filtration or activated sludge.
Water purification is the removal of contaminants from untreated water to produce drinking water that is pure enough for its intended use, most commonly human consumption. Substances that are removed during the process of drinking water treatment include bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi, minerals such as iron and sulphur, and man-made chemical pollutants.
Sewage treatment is the process that removes the majority of the contaminants from wastewater or sewage and produces both a liquid effluent suitable for disposal to the natural environment and a sludge. To be effective, sewage must be conveyed to a treatment plant by appropriate pipes and infrastructure and the process itself must be subject to regulation and controls. Some wastewaters require different and sometimes specialized treatment methods. At the simplest level, treatment of sewage and most wastewaters is carried out through separation of solids from liquids, usually by settlement. By progressively converting dissolved material into solids, usually a biological floc which is then settled out, an effluent stream of increasing purity is produced.
Cooling towers can also scale up and corrode, but left untreated, the warm, dirty water they can contain will encourage bacteria to grow, and Legionnaires' Disease can be the fatal consequence. Domestic water can become unsafe to drink if proper hygiene measures are neglected.
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