Clean water is defined as water that is free from microbial, chemicals and physical contamination. Contaminated water can pose several health risks. Some contaminants like disease-causing bacteria, toxic metals are lethal. In contrast, other contaminants which don’t have health risks can make water unpleasant to drink, for instance, poor taste resulting from high iron levels.
Water treatment at MINERAL WATER PLANT ensures water is free from contaminants and is safe for drinking.
Broadly the water quality can be separated into three points.
- Microbial contamination – Presence of microbes (pathogens) proliferates when water sources come in contact with faecal material. Most common examples are Salmonella Typhi and Vibrio cholera, which causes typhoid fever and cholera.
- Chemical contamination– Presence of metals, organic compounds and other hazardous chemicals that poses health risks. Water can be chemically contaminated both, in natural ways and by human activity like mixing of industrial, agricultural waste in the water. Chemicals like sodium and chlorine don’t have a health risk. However, consumption of some chemical contaminated water for a long time can severely affect human health, especially children.
- Physical contamination– Presence of colour, odour, cloudiness and temperature refers to physical contamination in water. Most of these does not pose health threats. However, their presence in the water can make it unpleasant to drink.
Following are the method to test the quality of water-
- Test strip
Test strips are a single-use strip that changes its colours according to the concentration of specific chemicals present in water. These strips are small in size, less costly, and are readily available in the market.
In this process, the user activates the paper or plastic strip just by dipping the strip into a sample of water and swishing it around. After taking out the strip from the working fluid and waiting for a short duration, the user can see the change in colours of the strip according to the chemical concentration present in the liquid. The user can see the colour chart to read the concentration of the chemical. These kits are simple to use.
- Colour disk kits
Colour disk test kit provides several chemical tests over a simple test strip method. In this type of analysis, the user adds a few drops of liquid chemical reagent or powder packet to the sample of water in a reusable plastic tube. After that, the sample tube is placed in a small plastic view box. This view box has a plastic disk with colour gradient prints on its surface. The user then rotates the disk to compare the colour of the disk with the working fluid and finds the best match and finds the concentration of chemical by reading the disk. The colour disk test takes multistep and requires more time. They are comparatively costly and bit complicated compared to a test strip but provides more accurate results.
- Handheld digital instrument
Digital meters, colorimeters and photometers are light and portable to conduct testing. They provide accurate results. These instruments require better and calibration and are slightly costlier than previous testing methods.
How to test water quality
- Temperature testing – This testing is conducted to determine the rate of biochemical reaction on the water in an aquatic environment. If the temperature is too high, it limits the water to hold oxygen level and decreases the organism’s capacity to resist pollutants.
- pH testing– This type of testing measures the acidic level of water. Generally, 6.5 -8.5 pH level is considered best for drinking water.
- Salinity testing– This is to check how much salt is dissolved in the water. Gauging groundwater salinity shows how salty the water and soil are. Salinity is usually conducted by indirectly testing the electrical conductivity of the water.
- Chloride testing- Chlorine is usually present in fresh and saltwater. There are many easy ways to test the residual chlorine, including strip test, colour disks and through kits. The levels of chlorine in the water is also increased due to minerals dissolving and industrial pollution.
- Dissolved Oxygen testing- It is best measured directly in water using a calibrated dissolved oxygen sensor. Water at a lower temperature should have a higher level of oxygen, whereas polluted water will have lower DO. Healthy water generally has dissolved oxygen concentration above 6.5-8mg/L and between 80-120%.
- Turbidity testing- It measures the number of suspended particles present in water or how clear the water is. If there is a high level of turbidity present, then a potent water treatment is required to make it safe.
- Nitrate testing– High level of nitrates is associated with the pollution by fertilizer used in agriculture industry and animal waste. Moreover, latrines, landfills, and industrial waste are related to the contribution of nitrogen in the water. Hence continuous monitoring of nitrogen to check water quality is an important aspect. High nitrate levels can cause taste and odour problems in drinking water.
- Metal testing-This testing indicates the presence of metals which are not naturally occurring in water. Metals like aluminium, arsenic, copper lead, mercury, tin, nickel can find ways into the water through natural sources or human activities like mining. Consuming heavy metals contaminated water can harm the kidneys, liver and nervous system.
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