Water treatment has its own vocabulary. The following words and terms will help you better communicate with your water treatment expert and get the water filtration system for your home or business that best fits your needs.
Activated carbon water filters clean water by flushing it through block, granulated or powdered carbon material (usually coal, wood or coconut shells) to filter out and absorb contaminants such as chlorine, organic chemicals, radon and other organic materials from drinking water.
Also known as: activated carbon water filters
Aggressive water is the term for water that contains acid or oxygen that corrodes or rusts metals.
Also known as: acid water, oxygenated water, acidic water
Alkalis such as potassium, magnesium, soluble hydroxide, carbonate, bicarbonate salt of calcium or sodium may be present in water. This can cause dry skin, bitter tasting or slippery feeling water.
Also known as: alkalis, alkaline water, alkalinity
Bacteria in water are single-celled microorganisms that are sometimes found in drinking water. Most city water is treated with chlorine, which kills bacteria. But some types of bacteria, such as giardia, cryposporidium and others can have a degree of immunity to chlorine and may need to be removed by filtration.
Also known as: water bacteria, bacteria in water
Calcium can be found dissolved in drinking water and causes scale, soap scum and other hard water effects. Calcium is safe to drink, but many people want to filter it out of their water for better taste and cleaner surfaces.
Also known as: lime, calcium water, hard water
Chlorine is a disinfectant used by many municipal water systems. Chlorine may make water safer to drink, but it may leave behind an aftertaste.
Also known as: chlorine water, chlorinated water, water disinfected with chlorine, chlorine-added water
The process of removing alkalinity (or lime) from water.
Also known as: lime removal, alkaline water removal
Removing chlorine from water using activated carbon or catalytic filters.
Also known as: chlorine water removal, chlorine removal, activated carbon water filtration
The act of removing salt from water to make it drinkable. Water desalination is usually accomplished through reverse osmosis, distillation, or electrodialysis.
Also known as: removing salt from water, water desalination
A device that removes contaminants, taste, odor and color from drinking water. Filters may be whole house water filtration devices, water filter pitchers, sink filters or cartridge water filters.
Also known as: water filtration devices, water filters
The process of running water through some type of porous filtration device or filter to remove solids and other contaminants that cause water to be unsafe, taste or smell badly or have a color that makes it unsatisfactory to drink.
Also known as: water filtration, clean water filtration
The rate at which a liquid (usually water) flows through a filter. Flow rate for water filters is usually rated in gallons per minute per cubic foot of filter. The flow rate must be what is suggested for that specific filter or the water will not be as pure as promised.
Also known as: water filter flow rate, flow rate for water filters
Giardia is a common protozoan found in contaminated drinking water. Giardia comes from animal waste and leaches into water. Giardia is contagious and can cause vomiting and diarrhea in individuals who ingest infected water. It is not removed or killed by UV light, iodine or cholorine, and can only be removed by water filters that have a four micron or less rating.
Also known as: Giardia
grains per gallon
‘Grains per gallon’ is the way solid materials in water are measured, and is often used to express the hardness of water, since hard water has a higher prevalence of solids than does soft water. A grain is considered 1/7000 of a pound, or 0.0648 grams. One grain per gallon equals 17.1 parts per million.
Also known as: GPG
All water found in the ground, including subsurface water, well water, aquifer water and deep ground water is known as groundwater.
Also known as: ground water, well water
Hard water is water that has an abundance of dissolved calcium and magnesium. Hard water causes scale formation in pipes and water heaters, and forms a curd-like substance when it reacts with soap and some detergents. Water hardness is often expressed in grains per gallon, parts per million, milligrams per liter, and calcium carbonate equivalent. Water that has a total hardness of one grain per gallon or more is considered hard water.
Also known as: calcium water, magnesium water
Inorganic matter is defined as materials not derived from living organisms. Because it was never living, inorganic matter contains no organically produced carbon. Inorganic matter found in water may include rocks, minerals and metals.
Also known as: inorganic contaminants
Iron is a common element dissolved in ground water, and, therefore, drinking water from municipal water supplies and well water. Iron is a problem in drinking water because it tastes badly, can smell bad, may be discolored and can stain fabrics and other materials.
Also known as: ferrous iron, ferric iron, heme iron, ferric hydroxide, iron fouling
Nanofiltration is a membrane water filtration process that treats water between reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration the filtration and separation spectrum. Nanofiltration can remove particles between 300 and 1,000 molecular weight.
Also known as: superfiltration, extra-fine filtration
Organic matter in water is materials and derivatives coming from plant and animal matter. Inorganic matter derived from rocks, minerals and other non-living sources. Organic matter can be identified by its carbon-hydrogen structure.
Also known as: organic material
Osmosis is the process of filtering water through a semi-permeable membrane that allows water to run through while capturing most dissolved substances in the water.
Also known as: water filtration by osmosis, osmosis water filters
pH rates the acidity of solutions, including water. Liquids with a pH of 1 are very acidic, those with a pH of 7 are neutral, and a pH of 14 is basic. The pH7 neutral represents a liquid with equal concentrations of free hydrogens and free hydroxide ions.
Also known as: potential of Hydrogen
Potable water is all water that is deemed safe for human consumption, cooking and household purposes.
Also known as: drinking water, safe drinking water
Water from wells and other locations before it is treated or processed.
Reverse osmosis dissolves ions in water by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane. This allows water to pass through, but separates out most other suspended and dissolved materials. Reverse osmosis is so named because mechanical pressure is used to force the water to flow in the direction that is the reverse of natural osmosis.
Also known as: reverse osmosis water filtration, RO
A water filtration system that removes small and large contaminants from drinking water. Ultrafiltration is especially useful for water that contains grease, oil or a large amount of suspended solids. This may be done before running water through a reverse osmosis or nanofiltration systems.
Also known as: ultra-filtration, UF, U/F
The treatment of water that improves its quality by removing contaminants and solids, neutralizing acidity and pH, and making it potable and safe.
Also known as: water treatment, water filtration, potable water conditioning
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