Single Family Water Treatment System for Wells
Most homes use water from a municipal source, while others get water from privately owned wells. Regular water testing is required for municipal water suppliers but few regulations exist for private well water. The well owner must monitor water quality himself to ensure safe water within the home. Depending on the results of water quality testing, several options exist for single family water treatment systems. In-home purification assists in the removal of chemicals, organisms, particles and bad tastes or smells.
The quest to find pure drinking water has existed for thousands of years. According the Kathy Jesperson in "The Search for Clean Water Continues," Sanskrit writing and Egyptian inscriptions both contain evidence of water treatment. Also, the Greeks and Romans were known for their elaborate water systems, which used a variety of water purification methods. Early sand filters provided purified water to Glasgow and London, and as the world became industrialized more sophisticated treatment systems were developed.
Three types of filtration purify water; depth, screen and surface. Depth filters consist of pressed fibers, which use entrapment to remove suspended particles. These filters commonly serve as prefilters to prevent clogging of other water treatment systems. Used as prefilters and clarifying filters, surface filters, such as carbon, remove a higher percent of suspended particles than depth filters. Microporous membrane filters, or screen filters, use microscopic pores in polymer films to filter water at the molecular level. These high-quality filters install at the last point in the system. Any of these three types of filters can treat well water.
Hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium cause deposits on household appliances, in clothing and in hair. Water softeners replace water-hardening minerals using sodium chloride salt. This type of system uses polymer resin beads, which bind minerals found in well water. When the beads become saturated with minerals, a salt brine solution washes the minerals off of the beads and exchanges salt for minerals. Electrodeionization combines electrical filtration with chloride exchange, making electrodeionization very efficient in water purification.
A reverse osmosis water treatment system removes salts, minerals, metals and particulates. Hydraulic pressure drives incoming water through a semi-permeable filtration membrane into a water collection device. This system is economical for single family homes, but yields a very slow flow rate. It needs a separate tap and use is usually restricted to the kitchen sink.
Other Water Treatments
A few other single family water treatments exist. Chlorination can disinfect well water. Shock chlorination is necessary when there has been flooding or contamination of the well water. According to the University of Florida, decontamination involves pouring three pints of chlorine per 100 gallons of water directly into the standing well water. For constant chlorination, a standing chemical feed pump continuously dispenses chlorine into arriving well water.
Ultraviolet radiation is another method of water decontamination. Mercury lamps installed on incoming water systems can deactivate or kill pathogens. It kills bacteria and most viruses, but cysts and worms are mostly unaffected. No residual radiation continues into the tap water.
Distillation systems heat water to boiling and collect the pure water steam, leaving behind liquid phase contaminants. Distillation removes many contaminants but requires a large amount of water and energy.
The choice of a single family water treatment system depends on several factors: contaminants present, gallons used, cost and consumer preference. The system chosen will need regular maintenance to operate effectively. The NSF Water Treatment Device Certification Program effectively evaluates water treatment products. Such certification assures the consumer that the selected water treatment system is capable of treating specific contaminants.
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