The term "water treatment" refers to the process by which water is made more compatible with the desired use. The water could be used for anything from an industrial process to a medical procedure. The goal of the water treatment process is to substantially reduce the contaminants in the water so that the water is able to be used in the manner intended.
One possible end-goal for the water treatment process would be to make the water suitable for consumption. Drinking water is treated by using settling and filtration to remove solids, as well as through the chemical processes of coagulation and disinfection. For example, municipal drinking water treatment through the world uses a combination of pre-chlorination, aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, desalination, and disinfection to create water suitable for consumption by humans. The goal of these processes is to remove harmful substances such as suspended solids, algae, viruses, bacteria, fungi, undesirable minerals, and chemical pollutants. Measures will also be taken to ensure that purified water does not become re-contaminated during shipment or distribution.
There is no standardized process for water treatment of any kind, but water treatment services for drinking water are regulated by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to the WHO guidelines, individual countries or territories can add guidelines that must be followed for the treatment of water in their jurisdiction.
Another example of a water treatment process is the process used in waste water treatment. The goal in waste water treatment is to alter the waste water's content so that it does not harm the environment when it is reintroduced. Waste water treatment plants use biological processes, such as slow sand filters, aerated lagoons, and activated sludge in their water treatment systems.
Waste water treatment is perhaps the most important form of water treatment, as the contaminants found in sewage are particularly harmful. When the process is correctly executed, a liquid water suitable for reintroduction into the environment is produced, along with a sludge byproduct made up of contaminants. Sewage must be transported through appropriate pipes throughout the duration of the process, and the process itself must be carefully controlled to ensure quality.
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