The Process of Water Filtration

March 12th, 2014

Rocks are part of the earth’s natural water filtration process.

spring rapidsImage via David Spinks (Flickr)

The Process of Water Filtration

There is nothing better than a cold, refreshing drink of naturally filtered spring water. If you’ve ever been hiking and filled your canteen with mountain spring water, you know what I’m talking about! Americans spent $11.8 billion dollars on bottled water in 2012 in an effort to enjoy “natural spring water.” The problem is that most of that bottled water was just municipal water poured into a bottle and marketed cleverly. How can you get fresh filtered water at home without breaking the bank (and being fooled)? Let’s look at the process of water filtration for the answer.

Natural Water Filtration

I’m going to begin by explaining how natural spring water is filtered and why it tastes so darn good! You might be thinking that the water out of that mountain spring is brand new, but it’s been around for a while. You see, the earth’s water supply is several million years old. It is just recirculated through the process of absorption, evaporation, and rainfall. You’ve been using the same water your ancestors used, and your great-great-great-grandchildren will be using the same water you use.

The earth is our water’s natural filter. As water falls to the ground or runs in a stream, it flows through layers of dirt, gravel, and sand. It is these layers of the earth’s natural sediments that filter the spring water you scoop up into your hand to quench your thirst while backpacking. This natural water filtration only works in natural areas, however, such as the earth’s desserts, forests, and wetlands. When rainwater falls in the city, something different happens.

Civilized areas are paved with transportation routes, and rainwater cannot soak into the ground to be filtered by the earth. Rather, this water runs off into gutters, which feed into local waterways. Alongside any city pollution the rainwater has absorbed during its evaporation cycle, the water running off also collects ground pollutants such as detergents, fertilizers, motor oil, paint, pesticides, human and pet waste, and harmful sediments like rust. Eww… I’m not grabbing a handful of that water to drink!

Water Filtration in the Home

So how do you get that fresh spring water taste – and safety – without spending a ton of money on bottled water every year? You filter your water yourself using a home water filtration process designed to mimic nature’s water filtration process. In this case, you want the water flowing out of your tap to run through several layers of virtual “dirt, gravel, and sand” to properly remove all pollutants, bacteria, protozoa, and viral agents lurking in your tap water.

Berkey designs home water filtration systems based on the earth’s natural water filtration process. First, your tap water travels through a micro-porous filter designed to trap all bacteria, parasites, sediment, and sedimentary minerals. These pollutants collect in the water filter, unable to flow through with the water to the next stage in the water filtration process, which is ionic barrier adsorption, designed to catch any additional pollutants small enough to flow through the porous filter.

An ion exchange filtration process is the last step in a Berkey water filtration system and is employed to remove the heavy metals found in your municipal water by attracting them out of the water and into the filter. Your tap water flows through the Berkey water filtration system just like it would the earth’s natural filtration system. All that is left is clean, refreshing water, much like you would find in that beautiful mountain spring you love to hike to! Who says you can’t have spring water at home?


Written By: Lynn Taylor

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