Water Treatment Glossary
Activated carbon (activated or active charcoal) – A layer of porous carbon fibers used for the adsorption of chemicals.
Acidity – The amount of acid present in water.
Adsorption – The trapping of chemicals, gases and other dissolved substances in a water solution.
Aeration – The mixture of air and water to release any dissolved gases in the water supply.
Alkalinity – The ability for water to neutralize acids in a buffer solution without affecting the pH.
Bacteria – Biological micro-organisms including microbes, parasites and germs often found in groundwater.
Brine – A sodium chloride and/or potassium chloride solution used in the ion exchange process to soften hard water.
Brine Tank – A collection tank where the ion exchange process occurs to separate calcium, magnesium and other minerals from the water.
Chlorination – A chemical process used by most municipal water systems that adds chlorine as a means of disinfecting the water to kill any live bacteria that may be present.
Deionization – The removal of minerals and salts in the water through a chemical exchange of equivalent positively and negatively charged ions.
Filtration – The process of passing water through a porous material (filter) in a tank or cartridge to remove iron, sand, debris and other sediment that may be present in the water.
Flow rate – The rate at which water flows from the water supply into the filtration tank usually measured in gallons or cubic foot per minute.
Groundwater – Water that is extracted from underground soil, bedrock or limestone.
Hard water – Water that contains a high mineral content, usually limestone, calcium and magnesium.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) – Is a naturally occurring corrosive gas often present in groundwater. It is usually noticeable by its noxious “rotten egg” odor. While particularly unpleasant, low levels are safe to drink.
Ion Exchange – The chemical process of exchanging calcium and magnesium ions with sodium and potassium ions to reduce water hardness.
pH (potential of hydrogen) – The measure of acidity and alkalinity in water on a logarithmic scale ranging from 1 to 14. The lower the number, the more acidic the water.
Reverse Osmosis – A water purification method for removing chemicals and other impurities from the water by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane under pressure.
Water conditioning – The filtration and treatment of water that remove ions, contaminants and other impurities to improve the quality of drinking water.
Water softening – The use of positively and negatively charged ions to remove calcium, magnesium, limestone and sediment to improve water quality.
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