Treating Drinking Water

It can be easy to take water for granted. You turn on the faucet, and clean water flows out. We no longer have to clean cistern filters or pump water manually from wells. We expect water to be free of harmful chemicals and organic materials. But how does water become potable, or ready to drink, as it flows from a water source to your faucet? Bell Chem, the water treatment chemical supplier, breaks down the process of transporting and treating drinking water.

Water in Florida
In Florida, most water is naturally stored in aquifers below the ground. This water is pumped from its original location to a treatment facility, where its processed before being distributed to homes and businesses. While it seems like a simple process, the physical act of treating the water in the treatment facility is quite complex, in part due to the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 which enacted water safety standards to keep the public safe. The Environmental Protection Agency monitors every water treatment facility for hundreds of biological organisms, chemicals, compounds, and metals. Most standards are met when contaminants are removed or additives enhance water quality. Below are standard components of water treatment.

An additive that kills a large range of organic matter.

Aluminum Sulfate
Dissolved particles are often negatively charged. Adding a positively charged ion such as aluminum sulfate causes the particles to cling to the ion and form precipitates. Therefore, aluminum sulfate precipitates inorganic material and organic matter killed by bacteria. Precipitates sink inside a settling basin as sedimentation. At this point, surface water begins the process of filtration and it passes through a variety of filters (sand, gravel, and charcoal) with differing pore sizes that remove contaminants of various sizes.  

Lime is an alkaline that adjusts water’s pH. At times, chlorine, chloramine, chlorine dioxide, ozone, or other chemical disinfectants may be added to further purify the water. Some treatment plants rely on physical rather than chemical disinfectants, such as ultraviolet light, electronic radiation, and heat. All of these processes have the same function: killing organic matter. When the pH range changes, bacteria can no longer survive. Likewise, a disinfectant will kill a wide range of bacteria.

Fluoridating water has led to a sharp drop in tooth decay. According to the CDC, fluoridation is one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.

Sodium or Potassium Ions
“Hard” water contains magnesium and calcium and is what we consider “good tasting” water. However, the chemicals in hard water take a toll on hair, appliances, and leave dishes spotted. Adding sodium and potassium creates a richer lather, brighter clothes, and spotless dishes. 

Bell Chem is the water treatment chemical supplier based in Longwood, FL (just north of Orlando) with hundreds of products, including a vast inventory of water treatment chemicals, stocked in our 50,000+ square-foot warehouse. You can expect the highest quality products, expedited shipping options for maximum efficiency, and unrivaled personalized customer service. Let our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives and accounting staff personalize all your needs by either calling 407-339-BELL (2355) or by sending us an online message.