Water potabilization (or water purification) is a chemical and physical process of removing contaminants from water to obtain water suitable for human consumption, irrigation of fields, or industrial uses (e.g., for use in food processing plants).

With the gradual depletion of natural sources of drinking water (deep water), people are increasingly turning to water from surface sources (seas, rivers, natural and artificial lakes). Due to the specific characteristics of the water and/or the degree of pollution, these sources of supply must undergo cycles of potabilization or purification treatments necessary to change its chemical and physical characteristics and improve its quality.

Often, it is also the case for deep waters with high organic content and high microbial contamination, especially if bacteria of fecal origin (e.g., colibacilli) are present. Desalination is used to treat seawater. Purification is carried out by passing water (from rivers or lakes) through a variety of types of plants to remove organic and inorganic material.The treatment methods used can be physical, physical-chemical, and chemical, depending on the type of substances to be removed from the incoming water and according to the type of water use.

The substances to be removed during potable water treatment can be of natural and anthropogenic origin; the former type includes, for example:

• Iron and manganese present in water of deep origin;
• Hydrogen sulfide present in groundwater or volcanic areas;
• Sulfates present in deep water and in areas of thermal activity.

The second type includes, for example:
• Heavy metals, such as antimony, arsenic, lead, in detectable concentrations originating from industrial discharges;
• Organic micropollutants such as hydrocarbons, phytochemicals and solvents;
• Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc.

In addition, raw waters also contain microbiological life forms such as:
• Plankton;
• Benthos;
• Mycetes;
• Protozoa;
• Bacteria (pathogenic or of environmental origin);
• Viruses.

The sequence of potabilization processes to be adopted, must be designed to ensure the treated water:
• Suitable organoleptic characteristics: taste, odor, color, turbidity;
• Suitable physical characteristics: such as temperature, electrical conductivity, and pH;
• Suitable chemical-physical-biological characteristics: such as hardness, salinity, micropollutants, organic load, microbiological life (e.g., removal of pathogens by disinfection).

However, the fact that water is by nature a solvent makes the effective removal of many unwanted substances somewhat problematic. The potable water is subsequently collected in a storage tank from which we connect to the system.


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