The Importance of Municipal Water Treatment

Jun 11


Anne Sinclair

Anne Sinclair

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Get the facts on municpal water treatment, the history, and how it works...


We’ve seen the pictures of people in third world countries drinking from polluted streams and heard about the rampant disease epidemics that take place in those countries. Living as we do in the United States,The Importance of Municipal Water Treatment Articles it’s hard to believe that anyone in the world wouldn’t know the connection between contaminated water and disease, but they either don’t or are powerless to do anything about the situation. What many of us don’t realize is that only 200 years ago, most of America had the same problems, and diseases spread in our country just like they do in other nations today. People didn’t understand what was happening, and even if they did, the technology wasn’t yet in place to conduct major municipal water treatment.

Actual water filtration started in Scotland in the 1700s. Scotland was an area of the world in those days that was full of scientists and philosophers and was in a period known as the Scottish Enlightenment, so it wasn’t surprising that they were in the position to realize the importance of clean, healthy drinking water and to then come up with a way to purify existing water sources.  During this period of time, a Scottish scientist and engineer, Robert Thom, designed the first municipal water treatment facility. He utilized a method called slow sand filters and was able to provide clean, disease-free water for an entire town.

Since the eighteenth century, municipal water treatment systems have been redesigned and improved in order to provide safe water for residents in some of the largest cities in the world. Drinking water comes from two different sources: groundwater and surface water. About 95% of all the water we drink comes from groundwater sources. Pesticides and nitrates run into this groundwater and must subsequently be removed before the water will be safe for consumption. Groundwater also contains bacteria and other contaminants that are fed to it from surface water.

The human body is between 60 and 70% water, and we must constantly replenish the water supply in our bodies if we are going to maintain good health. Therefore, it is important that we have ready sources of clean drinking water. That’s where municipal water treatment plants have made a real difference in the lives we lead. We in the United States no longer have to worry about getting serious diseases from drinking the water that comes out of our taps, and we have all the fresh water we could possibly want. Now we need to work at getting clean water to people all over the world.