Water Filtration vs. Water Purification: What’s the difference?

Water quality around the world has been declining consistently due to human activities. The levels of groundwater reserves are going down making the quality of the water available increasingly unfit for human consumption. Water is polluted due to the dumping of pollutants in water bodies. Consuming polluted water is dangerous to human, plant and animal life. Being one of the most essential resources available to mankind, it is essential that we conserve water. Apart from being vital to humans for consumption, water is also an integral part of many industrial processes. Hence, it becomes important that we make efforts to make our water clean and fit for human use. The two major processes to obtain clean water are water filtration and purification. In this blog, we will take a look at the two approaches to obtain clean water.

Water Filtration
A water filter is a porous substance that removes harmful chemicals and toxins from water. Water filtration systems typically aim at removing physical impurities from water. These systems are designed to strain out the tiniest sediments and particles from the water supply. They successfully remove contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, mercury, lead and arsenic. A water filter greatly reduces the amount of chlorine and other chemicals found in plain water. This improves the taste and smell of water as it eliminates impurities and bacteria from it. Below are the most standard methods to filter water-
1. Boiling– Perhaps the most commonly used process to filter water is by boiling it. Boiling works effectively to kill the bacteria in the water not visible to the naked eye. However, it is a time consuming process and also does not filter out chemical contaminants or remove any foul odours from the water.
2. Distillation – Distillation is very similar to boiling in the sense that it uses the same method of heating water. However for distillation, water is boiled beyond its boiling point the resultant steam is collected, cooled and all that is left behind are contaminants. This method consumes a lot of energy to heat the water and cannot produce purified water on demand as the water has to be boiled, cooled and stored safely well before use.
3. Activated Carbon Filters– Activated carbon is used in filters made out of ceramic, glass fiber, or hard block carbon. Carbon binds itself to the dirt and the silt efficiently absorbing them and purifying the water supply. Although carbon is great as it reduces chemical levels, improves taste and reduces foul odours, it is not a reliable filter to remove small particles and microorganisms.

A water treatment system can remove contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, mercury, lead and arsenic found in natural sources of water. It is important to have a good water filtration system in place so that your business uses only quality pure water. Filtering the water properly can remove any unwanted taste and smells from the water.

Filtration is the first step in many water purification systems. Filtered water goes through additional processes to eliminate other organic impurities and ions from it.

Water Purification
Technically speaking, pure water is only hydrogen and oxygen, however, pure water does not occur naturally in nature because all water contains some or the other impurities. Water purification is the process of purifying water and removing unwanted impurities from water. Some purification systems also use chemicals like iodine or chlorine for their water-cleaning processes. A competent water purifier system removes 90-95% of all contaminants in water. Mostly filtered water is used as a base to produce purified water. In addition to removing bacteria and viruses from the water, a purification system cleanses and purifies the water for further consumption.

Water purification, although very similar to water filtration, focuses more on removing all impurities from water. It is targeted towards achieving the overall safety of water while eliminating biological contaminants, viruses, chemicals and other materials not visible to the eye. Below are the recognized purifier technologies used today –
1. Reverse Osmosis (RO) – Reverse Osmosis works on a simple method to purify water. Water is pushed through a semipermeable membrane to remove impurities from water. When water pushes through the RO membrane, the impurities are filtered out and consequently drained out, giving pure water. RO water purification systems have become increasingly popular as purifier systems for household uses because they are safe, cost-effective and require minimal maintenance.
2. Deionization – Deionization, also known as demineralization simply means the removal of ions from water. Deionized water is an important part of maintaining safety and quality standards in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. This water used in the manufacturing and other pharmaceutical processes needs to be bacteria-free. Deionized water forms the base for ‘Water for Injection’ that is widely used in the medical sector.

Efficient water purification systems can remove innumerable contaminants like dirt, rust, chlorine, and heavy metals. Purifying water is always a better option for using it in pharmaceutical processes as purification eliminates unwanted elements through reverse osmosis, deionization. Filtration processes are not preferred for industrial processes as they do not provide pure enough water and also consume a lot of energy. For example, boiling water takes a lot of time and energy and still is not dependable enough to be used in the preparation of ‘Water for Injection’. On the other hand, purification methods like Reverse Osmosis require far less energy and end result is considerably more pure water.

In order for water systems to be truly ‘pure’, a combination of filters and purifiers needs to be used. Water filters are very effective in removing a spectrum of toxins but are not suitable to do the heavy lifting, this is where the purifiers come in and handle purification of the water. TSA water system employs the right blend of water filters and purifiers to provide the clean water for all your pharmaceutical processes.

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