Friday, November 3, 2017

Is the glass of water really safe?

''Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.''

Those famous lines from ''The Rime of the Ancient Mariner '' by Samuel Taylor can in today's times not only relate to a sailor stuck in the middle of sea but also drinking water in general.. Basic elements for existence of life is air and water. And both are under serious threat. The water that hails from rivers, lakes and other sweet water bodies are now becoming increasingly polluted to the level that purification by ordinary means is next to impossible.
The largest source of water pollution in India is untreated sewage. Other sources of pollution include agricultural waste and unregulated industry waste and by-products.
Some of the major Types of water Contaminants are listed below:
  • Microbes- Fecal Coliform, Giardia and E coli are bacteria whose presence indicate that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects like diarrhoea, cramps, nausea and headaches.
  • Radionuclides- Certain minerals are radioactive and may emit  radiations known as alpha or beta radiations. Radioactive particles can spread easily through underground water systems and thus affects all water ways and ecosystems.
  • Inorganic Contaminants-There are several heavy metals and inorganic contaminants out of which Arsenic, Fluoride, Chromium and Lead are the most damaging.
    • Arsenic: Arsenic causes lung, bladder, skin, liver and kidney disorders. It can also damage heart, central / peripheral nervous systems, can instigate reproductive system problems and birth defects. However the extent of exposure determines the damage.
    • Fluoride: It being the staple ingredient in so many toothpastes, Fluoride is highly toxic. In the right quantities it may prevent tooth decay. However in larger quantities it can cause dental fluorosis, poisoning and even death. Fluoride is also a suspected carcinogen.
    • Chromium: Prolonged exposure to chromium 6 causes a list of ailments like stomach cancer, kidney failure, renal ,liver failure, premature dementia and allergic contact dermatitis. Chromates are often used to make leather goods, mortar and paints. They leach from these industrial processes into groundwater and soil and finally land up in our taps.
    • Lead: The heavy metal is super toxic to children since it interferes with the development of the nervous system and can cause Anemia, seizures and even death. Lead gets into water via water pipes. Sometimes even copper pipes may be soldered with lead from which it enters drinking water.
  • Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs):There are currently 23 compounds regulated as VOCs in drinking water. Of these, eight are described as  possible carcinogens. The potential for VOCs to be a health concern depends on the toxicity of the actual contaminant, the concentration of the contaminant, the exposure conditions and the duration or exposure.
  • Disinfectants: Many water suppliers add a disinfectant to drinking water to kill germs such as giardia and e coli. Especially after heavy rainstorms, water authority may add more disinfectant like chlorine to guarantee that these germs are killed.  Some people using drinking water containing chlorine in excess could experience irritation in their eyes and nose as well as stomach discomfort. Chloramines which are even worse to our health, are most commonly formed when chlorine and ammonia are added together to treat drinking water.

Having knowing all the information about water pollutants what can we do? With such grave health hazards around us, it becomes even more important for us to be aware of different purification systems and best available water purifier to ensure pure and sterilized healthy drinking water.  Both in terms of efficiency and economy, a good quality water filter will improve the taste and odour of water while removing many harmful contaminants. Now the question arises how do we purify the water and make it safe for drinking?

Following are the methods of water purification:

  1. Distillation :Distillation is probably the oldest method of water purification. Water is first heated to boiling temperature. Then the water vapour rises to a condenser where cooling water lowers the temperature so the vapour is condensed, collected and stored. Most contaminants stay behind in the liquid phase vessel. Organics such as herbicides and pesticides, with boiling points lower than 100°C, cannot be removed efficiently and can actually become concentrated in the product water. Another disadvantage of distillation is cost. Distillation requires large amounts of energy and water and is very slow to produce clean water. Distillation also destroys the important nutrients in water.
  2. Microporous Basic Filtration: There are three types of microporous filtration: depth, screen and surface. Surface filters are made of several layers, and the first layer will be to retain all the particles that are bigger than the pores of the layer. On the other hand, screen filters are made up of uniform structures which retain particles that are larger than their pores while depth filters are made of fibres that absorb the particles in a random manner. It must be noted that the three layers all serve in different capacities. Depth filters are usually used as prefilters because they are an economical way to remove 98% of suspended solids and protect elements downstream from fouling or clogging. Surface filters remove 99.99% of suspended solids and may be used as either prefilters or clarifying filters. Microporous membrane (screen) filters are placed at the last possible point in a system to remove the last remaining traces of resin fragments, carbon fines, colloidal particles and microorganisms.
  3. Carbon Adsorption: Activated carbon is porous, inexpensive and readily available for use as an adsorbent. It has more useful surface area per gram than any other material available for physical adsorption. This method is effective in removing certain organics (such as unwanted taste and odours, micro pollutants), chlorine, fluorine or radon from drinking water or wastewater. However, it is not effective for microbial contaminants, metals, nitrates and other inorganic contaminants. The adsorption efficiency depends on the nature of activated carbon used, the water composition and operating parameters. Activated carbon filters are relatively easy to install but require energy and skilled labour and can have high costs due to regular replacement of the filter material. However, generally it will not affect total dissolved solids, hardness, or heavy metals. Only a few carbon filter systems have been certified for the removal of lead, asbestos, cysts, and coliform. There are two types of carbon filter systems, each with advantages and disadvantages: granular activated carbon, and solid block carbon. These two methods can also work along with a reverse osmosis system.
  4. Ion Exchange:  Ion exchange is a water treatment method where one or more undesirable contaminants are removed from water by exchange with another non-objectionable, or less objectionable substance. Both the contaminant and the exchanged substance must be dissolved and have the same type of electrical charge. Ion exchange process percolates water through bead-like spherical resin materials. The two most common ion-exchange methods are softening and deionization. Softening is used primarily as a pre-treatment method to reduce water hardness prior to reverse osmosis (RO) processing. The softeners contain beads that exchange two sodium ions for every calcium or magnesium ion removed from the "softened" water. When the capacity of the resin is exhausted, it is necessary to regenerate the resin using a saturated solution to restore the capacity of the resin and return the resin to its initial condition. Deionization is an important component of a total water purification system when used in combination with other methods such as RO filtration and carbon adsorption. DI systems effectively remove ions, but they do not effectively remove most organics or microorganisms. Microorganisms can infact attach to the resins, providing a culture media for rapid bacterial growth.
  5. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: Ultraviolet radiation has widely been used as a germicidal treatment for water. UV Water Purification systems use special lamps that emit UV light of a particular wavelength that have the ability, based on their length, to disrupt the DNA of micro-organisms. Mercury low pressure lamps generating 254 nm UV light are an effective means of sanitizing water. The adsorption of UV light by the DNA and proteins in the microbial cell results in the inactivation of the microorganism.
  6. Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles from drinking water. In RO process, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic pressure- a colligative property, that is driven by chemical potential differences of the solvent, a thermodynamic parameter. It is the most economical method of removing 90% to 99% of all contaminants. RO membranes are capable of rejecting practically all particles, bacteria and organics >300 daltons molecular weight (including pyrogens). In fact, reverse osmosis technology is used by most leading water bottling plants.
    A reverse osmosis filter reduces chemical quantities of even heavy metals like lead, fluoride, chromium, and arsenic. In addition, a reverse osmosis filter can also remove nuclear radiation like plutonium as well as microbial contaminants such as bacteria and viruses. When combined with activated carbon filtration, a reverse osmosis system is the best technology available for keeping you and your family safe from toxic drinking water contamination.

Because each purification technology removes a specific type of contaminant, none can be relied upon to remove all contaminants. A well-designed water purification system uses a combination of purification technologies to achieve final water quality.
Each of the purification technologies must be used in an appropriate sequence to optimize their particular removal capabilities.
In India, everyday new brands are sprawling up and claiming to be provide the 
best water purifier. Awareness about the local water supply or rather the water that is supplied to our tap water is very important. To a layman, it is difficult to test the water. However, we are fortunate that there are organizations that do offer help in this regard and that too free of cost. One such company is Livpure. A free water testing can be booked by filling in your details at the below website:

The type of water purifier suitable for you may not be the same for your friend whom you trust but lives blocks away from your house! So, its our responsibility to figure out which water purifier India works best for us. There are lots of options even for finding water purifiers online. Studying the contaminant in water that threatens the most in our area, we need to determine the best water purifier for home.
Coming to brands of water purifiers in India, one brand that comes in my mind is ''Livpure''.
Livpure Pvt. Ltd. started under the SAR Group. It has been formed with SAR Group’s passion towards environment and building a safer World for the future generations with the core focus being water treatment, water purification & complete water management solutions for households and Corporates.
Wholeheartedly supporting the respected Prime Minister’s initiative of Make in India, Livpure has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility spread across 1, 25,000 sq. ft. in Manesar, Haryana along with a 10,000 sq. ft. R&D facility in Gurgaon, Haryana. The efforts of the R&D team are supplemented by an Innovation lab set up in association with an Ivy League institution in USA. Each lot of material that arrives at the plant undergoes a sample test to ensure conformity to specifications and quality standards.
Livpure is an ISO 9001:2008 Company and has a well-defined quality assurance system in place. Livpure has a pan India presence with more than 10000 Retail Partners & 300 Distributors.
For awards and accolades, please visit this page:

All variants of water purifiers are available with Livpure ( A choice should be made based on your need at your location.

So lets hold the glass of water the next time we drink and think about it in a different angle . A little awareness and a little effort is  all that is required for a better life... Lets gift ourselves and our family the promise of good health!





  1. Very interesting post. My town is currently planning on converting waste water to tap water. I know they say it's safe to drink, but I will be moving out of the state before this becomes a reality. I just can't stomach the thought!

    1. Thanks for going through the long post. Its better we stop depending on tap water and adopt in house purification filters.


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