Municipal Water Treatment Explained

One of the major problems facing the U.S. right now involves the quality of municipal tap water. For sure, there are studies that have returned all sorts of alarming statistics involving things like the arsenic content of certain water sources or the danger of contamination from the lead used in many existing plumbing systems. But far more obvious is the fact that the American public are just dissatisfied with the quality of municipal water all round.

This accounts for the massive popularity of new alternative water products such as filtered water, purified water, and hydrogen water, and it also accounts for the increased use of home water filtration systems. The public have voted with their wallets, and it is a resounding vote of no confidence in the quality of American municipal water.

Synergy Science, a water products company, report that the dissatisfaction which drives popularity in their products stems from the very municipal water treatment process itself. There are just too many inadequacies, too many places where filtration doesn’t filter out everything it should be. So, as well as turning to alternative water sources and filtration systems, another wise move for the health-conscious water consumer is to learn about how municipal water is treated.

What is Municipal Water and Why Do We Need It?

It is typically local governments that are involved in supplying water to the public. They are also responsible for its quality. Municipal water is defined as the water which is distributed to the residents within any given urban authority. However, when that water has been used and exposed of, it is fed back into the system. Throughout the system, water is treated and contaminants removed so that it can be redistributed again. This involves sewage treatment processes – chemical and mechanical – that clean up the water for reuse.

An important thing to keep in mind is that we need municipal water. For one thing, a large amount of it is transported to industries and business. When water is being used in this way (i.e., not being drank) then the finer points about decontamination and general cleanliness do not apply quite as much. So we need municipal water – but many are rightly wary about drinking it.

The Water Treatment Process

Here follows the main stages of the city water treatment process:


The water comes from a source like a reservoir or stream. It needs to be collected from here via a system of pumps and pipes. This water can either be surface water or groundwater, and this will determine much of its nutritional and contaminant profile.


After the water has been collected, it needs tobe screened for the dissolved and suspended particles. These are other substances contained in the water but not those substances at the microscopic or molecular level (i.e., microbes orchemical elements). This is the filtration for the largest particles in the water.

Chemical Treatment and Flocculation

Normally, this involves chemical coagulation where coagulantsare added to the water in order to make the finer contaminants clump together for greater ease of filtration. Flocculation is when these clumps are allowed to settle and bind together, after which they can be easily filtered out.

There are numerous other disinfection and finer filtration process thatoccur after this, but the thing to remember is that not everything can be removed (and nor would you want them to be) and that the water must pass through a vast network of pipes all the way to the tap. This is a route along which there is ample opportunity for further contamination.

It is no wonder, really, that alternative water products are so popular.