The Methods Of Water Purification

Water purification is essential to the quality of life. Water can easily become contaminated as pollution, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful materials circulate through the air and ground. Contaminated water is a breeding ground for disease that can cause illness on a widespread level, resulting in outbreaks that have the potential to eradicate life. Water purification consists of proven methods that destroy harmful germs and bacteria, thereby preventing outbreaks of illness caused by toxins.

Multiple methods exist for water purification. Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Distillation
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Boiling water
  • Adding chemicals such as chlorine, bromine, or iodine
  • Filtration through media, such as sand, diatomaceous
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Oxidation methods, such as aeration and oxygen generation
Distillation involves separating contaminants in the water through the use of light or heat or with the force of gravity.
Boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, an individual may kill up to 99.9% of all organisms. This is why when a public drinking water supply becomes contaminated, "boil water" advisories are issued for water used for drinking, cooking, or brushing teeth. Sometimes, a "do not use" advisory may be issued.
Other times, users will be advised to add chlorine bleach to water in order to kill harmful germs and purify it. Packets of chlorine or bleach in powdered form are a popular addition to emergency kits used by rescue teams, hikers, or anyone who fears they may find themselves in a situation where they need to purify water quickly.


You may learn more about water purification and its methods in the links below.

  • Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these tips for those who need to purify water quickly and effectively and include sections on using heat to purify water.

  • Emergency Water Purification: Learn the steps to take to clean and disinfect drinking water through the use of heat in this document from Louisiana State University.

  • Water on Tap: What You Need to Know: The Environmental Protection Agency provides resources that explain the steps of water purification, including filtration, and helps consumers understand safety issues regarding their own drinking water in this PDF.

  • Methods of Water Purification: Osmonics discusses the process of water purification and filtration in this excerpt from the "Pure Water Handbook."

  • The Pollution and Purification of Water: These lecture notes from Bridgewater State University examine the process of water purification using aeration and oxidation in PDF format.

  • Treating the Public Water Supply: What is in your water, and how is it made safe to drink? This report from the Washington University in St. Louis takes a close look at the various methods, such as oxidation, used in water purification.

  • Pure Water Handbook: Learn about the methods used in water purification such as reverse osmosis.

    Berkey Water Filter System