May it be river water or water lying underground, everything is polluted nowadays due to various reasons. The increasing level of factory wastes being deposited into rivers, human wastes, e- wastes and medical wastes combined with agricultural wastes with multiple pesticides have been polluting the soil and water for a long period of time. This, in turn, has made it essential for us to purify water before drinking.
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What is borewell water?
Borewell water is a form of water that has been stored underground for a large period of time. They are mostly rainwater that is collected underground. Like the river water that flows from one direction to another, these underground water will also move from one direction to another. Due to water shortage, These underground water is extracted through special motor pumps and stored in a borewell. Borewell water is most commonly used for drinking, household purposes and also for agricultural purposes. If the water flow under the ground is deeper then, they are much purer when compared to the water flow that is shallow. Shallow underground water is more susceptible to pollution and other forms of contamination.
Why is it necessary to purify borewell water?
One might think that underground water that has been stored away for a long period of time is pure and they can be consumed Directly just after a single boiling. But if you are one of them, then you are terribly wrong. The pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture along with the other factory waste that is being deposited into the ground, seep through the soil and mix with the water stored underground. The well water also has the problem of becoming arsenic. So it is necessary to purify the groundwater before consuming it. It is necessary and essential to test the borewell water in a lab before using it for both agricultural and household purposes.
Purification for agricultural purpose
The water in the borewell has been stored for a long period of time and they have various salts and minerals that might be harmful to the plants. The ph level of the water may also not be suitable for plants.
Purification for household purpose
When the water from the bore well is used for household purposes and drinking it is essential to test them before consuming it because it may cause several damages to the liver due to high levels of chemicals like Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Arsene. Consuming these water might also cause staining of teeth and other skin related disorders. If the bore well is located near an agricultural land then it has more possibilities of getting polluted with Chemicals and pesticides. So testing these waters is a must before consumption
How to test borewell water?
The best way to test the purification level of borewell waters is by submitting the water samples in a laboratory. It is essential to meet the standards of the IS 10500 before using the borewell water for drinking or for packaging it. While testing it is necessary to take into account the pH level, TDS level and detecting the presence of heavy metals like Magnesium, Fluorides, Mercury, Arsene, and other metals depending upon the location of the borewell and the sources near the borewells like industries and agriculture lands.
Testing the pH level
pH is level is measuring the acidic and basic level of the water. The pH range may vary from 0-14 and 7 is considered as a neutral level. If the pH level is less than 7 the water is classified as acidic and if the pH level is greater than 7 then it is classified as Base. The battery acid and hydrochloric acid have a pH level of 0 while the drain cleaners and bleaches have a pH level of 14. The pH level of our blood is 7. The drinking water should have a pH level of 6.5 to 8.5 for healthy consumption. Normally the borewell water has a pH level of 6 – 8.5. So, it is necessary to test it before consuming it.
Testing the TDS level in the water
Water is a solvent that has many minerals and chemicals dissolved in it. TDS is nothing but measuring the “ Total Dissolved Solids” in the water. When water is exposed to certain solvable materials they dissolve and mix with the water. The TDS of borewell water may include, salts, fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metal from industrial wastes, etc… The TDS of water can be easily measured using a TDS meter. The TDS value of the drinking water should be 500 ppm. Any solvent that has a TDS measure of 1000 ppm or more is considered to be unsafe. There are water purifiers in the market that can purify waters that has a TDS level upto 2000 ppm. Also, it is essential to make sure that the TDS level is not less than 250 ppm as they might indicate the loss of some important minerals. The TDS level of borewell water is normally 200 – 1500 ppm.
Testing Heavy metals
Normally heavy metals in water are Heavy metals are the chemicals that are present in the water that has heavy toxic properties. Some of these heavy metals even when present in low concentration can cause severe damage to the liver and kidney of the person consuming them. borewell water present near industries and agricultural land are exposed to industrial waste and agricultural waste that are rich in heavy metals. Some of the common heavy metals include Arsene, Cadmium, Thallium, Mercury, Chromium, and Lead. Depending upon the surroundings the presence of heavy metal may vary for each and every borewell water. Let us see these metals in detail.
Arsene is used for making special glasses, and to convert electric current into laser light. Arsene is present naturally in low amounts and it can mix with air, water, and soil through wind and running. More arsenic is released through volcano eruption and more by humans. Exposure to this metal can cause cancer, food poisoning and DNA alteration.
Cadmium has properties similar to zinc and it is highly toxic. It has the capability to reside within our body for a longer period of time after entering. When exposed at a greater level it results in lung obstruction, cancer and other bone defects like osteomalacia. They are mostly found in the outer coatings of submarines and other ships.
Thallium is found naturally in the environment and when contacted with the normal skin they result in skin diseases along with damage to the liver, kidney, and lungs. When the skin is exposed to thallium while melting, it should be ventilated properly for safety.
Mercury is a common toxic that has no place in the human body. Exposure to mercury may cause food poisoning, Gingivitis, brain damage of the fetus, congenital malformation and tremors. They are formed as a result of volcano emission, degassing of earth and natural water body evaporation.
Chromium because of its ability to protect the metal from corrosion, it is commonly used as dyes and paints. It is also used to create synthetic rubies. When humans are exposed to Chromium it results in skin rashes, kidney failure, lung cancer, and death.
Lead is a common form of toxic metal that can occur in water, air, dust, and soil. They are extracted while mining along with other metals like zinc. Excess consumption of lead may result in anemia, damage to the kidneys, low fertility, high level of blood pressure and brain damage. Lead is mostly found in pipelines and other plumbing activities.
Testing these heavy metals can be done in labs effectively. Each metal has a separate detecting technique but it is essential to test the water, especially if it is used for agricultural and domestic purposes. When the water containing these heavy metals are used for agriculture, there is a higher chance of these metal re-occurring in the food grown in that particular land. Also in the case of drinking water, these metals can enter the human body directly and result in various diseases. Some metal may stay in the body for a longer period of time and result in death. So it is essential to test this water and determine the method of purification along with the filter to make it suitable for drinking.
Along with these metals, there are also other metals like magnesium, potassium, etc, that can be present in one particular region due to the local activities like industries, locations nearby dumpsite, nature of the soil. While testing these factors will also be included by the lab officials for testing. Normal purified drinking water should have a correct level of TDS, pH, low presence of these heavy metals. Select the purifier based upon these levels and then start using them. Also, make sure your purifier does not lower these levels as they may result in nutritional deficiency. Maintaining the correct level of these minerals is the key to perfect drinking water.
What type of purifier to select?
There are a multiple numbers of purifiers present in the market. It is essential to select a purifier that suits the type of water you have in your borewell. After testing the water in the lab analyze the contents present in your water and then select the purifier that will make it normal water suitable for drinking.
Basic candle filters
These candle filters are filters that are simple and commonly found in most of the households. It is made up of a single or two candles. These candles have the ability to filter the impurities and other dirt that are visible to normal human eyes. These filters do not have the capacity to filter microbes or pathogens as they cannot filter substances that are smaller than the pores of the candles. So, it is essential to boil the water after filtering it from unwanted dirt.
Gravity based water purifiers
In this purification technique, the water moves from the top filter to the lower filter under the effect of gravity. They do not use electricity, and hence they are also called non-electrical purifier. Some filters also use activated carbon or ultrafilters that is used to absorb unwanted dirt from the water and microbes. The carbon granules and the UF act as absorbing agents that attract the impurities and removes unwanted wastes. But they cannot be used for removing heavy metals. Hence these filters can be used for water types that have low metal contents and normal TDS values.
Reverse osmosis water purifiers
To remove heavy metals we need filters that have the properties of ‘Reverse Osmosis’. In this technique, the water is passed through a semi-permeable membrane in the opposite direction that removes impurities along with heavy metals like fluorides, nitrates and other salts that are dissolved in the water. They are mainly used in home-based purification. They are also used for treating water with a higher level of TDS. The borewell water can be purified using this technology easily despite their metal content, TDS and pH levels.
Ultraviolet water purifiers
These water purifiers use UltraViolet light or radiation to remove the microbes present in the water. They are used for destroying microbes in the water that causes some diseases like Cholera, Typhoid and Dysentry. But these filters do not remove the heavy metals or unwanted salts in the water.
Ultrafiltration water purifiers
Ultrafiltration or UF is a type of filter used for purifying the water using the technique similar to reverse osmosis. But here it uses filters with larger pores. It does not require any electricity. Thee water purifiers can remove harmful microbes and viruses using the filters. They can also remove cysts. But these water purifiers cannot be used to remove toxins and heavy metals. They also cannot remove the TDS from the water.
Multistage water purifiers
All the above purifiers have a set of advantages and disadvantages. Each purifier is beneficial in some way and also has certain issues that have proved to be inefficient. So to make it completely efficient it is essential to combine all the above purifiers into a single one. This will increase the advantages and remove the disadvantages at the same time. The current purifier used by most of the people nowadays is this type. This purifier is a combination of all RO+UV+UF filters. They are costly to maintain and run on electricity. These water purifiers can remove all the dirt, kill microbes, removes excess salts and toxins like heavy metals. They can also maintain the TDS and pH levels of the water. There are also water purifiers that have two out of thee three filters depending upon the requirement of the users.
RO + UV: Using this combination of water purifiers you can obtain the most upgraded purest form of water. The RO filter removes the dissolved salts while the UV radiation will destroy the germs present in the water. This filter is used by most of the households.
RO + UV + UF: Along with the RO and UV, this filter also contains the advantage of UF filters. These filters can be used along with RO to reduce the TDS level of the water.
Using carbon filters: Along with these activated carbon filters are used to remove the chemicals like Arsene and types of pesticides. They also remove the smell of the water and improve the taste along with it. The water will taste better and healthier.
The current modern filters use 6 stages of water purification. These water purifiers have pre-activated carbon filters, RO filter, UV, UF, and post-activated carbon filters. This type of purification provides the best quality of water that can be used for drinking and cooking.
What should not be done while using water purifiers?
Even though water purifiers are extremely useful for purifying water suitable for drinking, there are some precautions that need to be done before installing the purifier. While installing the purifier make sure the purifier is set to normalize the TDS and pH level of the water you are drinking. Because sometimes setting a purifier to reduce the TDS level of water, which already has a low level of TDS or normal TDS result is much lower level of TDS. So, verify the level of water before installing the purifier.
So, before purchasing a purifier test your water for the toxins and TDS level. After testing, purchase a purifier that best suits your water type. Drink plenty of water and stay healthy!
The type of water purifiers that are best suited for borewell water is,