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Water treatment is any process that makes water more acceptable for a specific end-use. The end use may be drinking, industrial water supply, irrigation, river flow maintenance, water recreation or many other uses including being safely returned to the environment. Water treatment removes contaminants or reduces their concentration so that the water becomes fit for its desired end-use.


Treatment for drinking water production involves the removal of contaminants from raw water to produce water that is pure enough for human consumption without any short term or long term risk of any adverse health effect. Substances that are removed during the process of drinking water treatment include suspended solids, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi, and minerals such as iron and manganese.

The processes involved in removing the contaminants include physical processes such as settling and filtration, chemical processes such as disinfection and coagulation and biological processes such as slow sand filtration.


Processes
A combination selected from the following processes is used for municipal drinking water treatment worldwide:

  • Pre-chlorination for algae control and arresting biological growth.
  • Aeration along with pre-chlorination for removal of dissolved iron and manganese.
  • Coagulation for flocculation or slow-sand filtration.
  • Coagulant aids, also known as polyelectrolytes – to improve coagulation and for thicker floc formation.
  • Sedimentation for solids separation, that is removal of suspended solids trapped in the floc.
  • Filtration to remove particles from water.
  • Disinfection for killing bacteria viruses and other pathogens.