Is Water Treatment Still Necessary (for Public Water or Well Water)?

April 17, 2023

Clean water is essential to our everyday lives—it is vital for consumption, hygiene, cooking, and many other activities. As we all strive to achieve a healthier lifestyle and protect the environment, it has become increasingly important to treat water whenever possible. By doing this, you can ensure that the quality of your drinking water meets safety standards while also helping safeguard against potential threats from pollutants in the air or waste runoff.

Whether you drink public water straight from the tap, source your home’s water from a well, or prefer filtered water from the store, you might be wondering whether you need to take the step of treating your water before use.

What Does It Mean To Treat Water? 

Treating water means taking steps to remove contaminants and impurities from the water to make it safe and suitable for a particular use. Water treatment can involve physical, chemical, and biological processes to improve the quality of the water.

The specific processes used for water treatment can vary depending on the source of the water and the contaminants present. Some common water treatment processes include:

  • Coagulation and flocculation The process of adding chemicals to the water to help particles stick together, making it easier to remove them through filtration.
  • Sedimentation: Allowing the water to sit still so the heavier particles settle to the bottom of a tank.
  • Filtration: Passing the water through a filter or series of filters to remove particles, bacteria, and other contaminants.
  • Disinfection: Using chemicals or other methods to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that may be present in the water.
  • Softening: The process of removing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can cause hard water and replacing them with sodium ions.

By treating water, we can remove harmful contaminants and impurities, making it suitable for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other purposes.

Is Water Treatment Still Necessary For Public Water?

Yes, water treatment is still necessary for public water systems. While the United States has some of the safest drinking water in the world, there are still potential contaminants that can be present in public water supplies, such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.

Water treatment plants use a variety of processes to remove these contaminants and make the water safe for consumption. These processes may include filtration, disinfection, and adding chemicals to control the pH and other water quality parameters.

Even if your local water supply is from a natural source, such as a river or lake, it is still important to treat the water before it is distributed to the public. Natural water sources can contain pollutants from agricultural and industrial runoff, as well as from sewage discharge and other human activities.

Is Water Treatment Necessary For Well Water?

Water treatment may be necessary for well water, depending on the quality of the water and the intended use. Well water can be contaminated by a variety of factors, including naturally occurring minerals, bacteria, and pollutants from agricultural or industrial activities.

If you have a private well, it is important to have your water tested regularly to determine if treatment is necessary. The type of treatment needed will depend on the specific contaminants present in the water. Common well water treatments include filtration systems, water softeners, and disinfection methods such as chlorination or ultraviolet (UV) light.

It's also important to note that untreated well water may not only pose a health risk to those who consume it, but it can also cause damage to plumbing systems and appliances over time. For example, high levels of minerals such as iron or manganese can cause discoloration of fixtures and staining of clothing, while high levels of calcium and magnesium can lead to hard water buildup.

Therefore, it's recommended that you have your well water tested by a qualified laboratory and consult with a water treatment professional to determine the best course of action for ensuring the safety and quality of your well water.

If You Don’t Treat Your Water…

If you don't treat your water, there are several risks that can pose a threat to your health and well-being. Some of the potential risks associated with untreated water include:

  • Bacterial and viral infections: Water can be a source of harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and even serious infections, such as E. coli, cholera, and hepatitis A.
  • Chemical contamination: Untreated water can also contain harmful chemicals, such as lead, arsenic, and pesticides, which can cause a range of health problems over time, including cancer, organ damage, and neurological issues.
  • Parasitic infections: Water can be a source of parasitic infections, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Heavy metals: High levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury can cause a range of health problems, including developmental issues in children, organ damage, and neurological problems.
  • Physical impurities: Water can also contain physical impurities, such as sand, sediment, and rust, which can damage plumbing fixtures and appliances over time.

Therefore, it is crucial to treat your water to remove these contaminants and impurities, ensuring that it is safe for consumption and other uses. If you have any concerns about the quality of your water, it's important to have it tested by a qualified laboratory and to consult with a water treatment professional to determine the best course of action.

This month Donovan Waterwork is offering a Water Treatment 101 Class on Saturday, April 29th at 9:00 am. Bring your water to get it tested at no charge. During this class, you will learn the different types of water treatment and what each does, and how to service your own water treatment. You can now sign up for this class at:

If you have questions about the quality of your water, our team at Donovan Waterworks is here to assist you. Reach out to us today by calling 410-240-5299.

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