Water And Oceanography

Water Purification for India



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While our planet is two-thirds water and one-third dry land it is estimated that nearly 90% of that water is polluted in one way or another. Bacteriologic pollution and chemical pollution both create hazards for any creature using, or living in the water. American technology is quite advanced in water purification, partly because American industries have had greater resources for research and development of both filtration and purification methods. Combined with a greater demand for ways to have clean water in the home, this demand has resulted in many different ways for Americans to have clean water. From water systems for entire communities to whole house systems, right down to small filter units on faucets and in pour through pitcher filters.

Donating that technology to India could help them greatly. However, they would also need training to accompany that technology. Bringing their people to America for training makes sense in many ways because they could train in American facilities. However, once the training is completed they still have to build the facilities in their own country, and likely will need help with construction of the reservoirs, treatment plants and installation of sanitary pipelines to carry the water to the people. Assistance on that massive scale could prove daunting for some.

Bacteriological pollution describes water filled with a myriad of microorganisms, many of which can cause everything from minor digestive discomfort on one end of the spectrum, to deadly diseases on the other end. Maladies created by these organisms, ranging from germs to viruses to parasites, are unpleasant at best. The worst cases are diseases like cholera. Boiling, filtering, and chemical treatments can kill these nasty little bugs, rendering the water safe to drink. Americans have developed technologies that go beyond boiling to purify water. Boiling will kill the organisms in the water, as well as most viruses.

Chemical treatments, like iodine or chlorine, will kill microorganisms and viruses in the water. However, there are people that are allergic to one or the other of these treatments, necessitating the need for deep filtration as well. The two main types of filters are membrane and depth filters. Membrane filters will remove organisms down to a given size, but they do get clogged after a while and must be replaced. Depth filters use heavier porous carbon or ceramic material to trap and filter out organisms on a broader scale and some will even remove some toxins and heavy metals as well. Handled properly these filters do a great job and need replacement less often than membrane filters. However, rough handling can crack the filter material, making them useless as a coffee filter for cleaning water.

Chemical, or toxic, pollutants come from pesticide runoffs, and mine tailings, to name a couple. These problems cannot be remedied by treatment or boiling. Severe filtration can remove most toxins but there are steps that must be taken in order to ensure the water is truly safe. That includes carefully testing the water, both before and after filtration.

American technology in water purification can help other countries, like India; to clean their water for drinking but the systems must be monitored by people trained to perform the tasks. There are no halfway measures in the process of water purification. Water treatment facilities in America still have their problems as well if a part of the system breaks down, but those problems are generally caught in short order and resolved.

India could use the models of American water treatment facilities to give their people clean drinking water. The effort would have to include reservoirs, treatment facilities and sanitary pipelines throughout their cities. Maintenance crews would be required to keep the entire system functioning smoothly and that would require training on all aspects of the systems.

There is no question that the people of India are capable of learning and utilizing the technology to purify water for their populace. However, there are the other problems of getting the pipelines installed in some areas and keeping wildlife from destroying facilities. Many people still would have to make use of a central pump or faucet, just as they now make use of the village well.

Are Americans willing to donate the technology and help India with this type of massive project? Probably, since India is friendly to America and American generosity is well known. Would India accept the assistance? That question is for India to answer.

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More about this author: Heather Foster

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