Free course

What chemical compounds might be present in drinking water?

Free statement of participation on completion
What chemical compounds might be present in drinking water? Copyright free Icon

Do you want to know what’s in the water that you drink? This free course, What chemical compounds might be present in drinking water?, examines the chemical compounds that occur in drinking water. A high level of certain anions in water can cause environmental pollution and health problems. Cations are also important. For example, calcium salts contribute to the hardness of water and water treatment uses aluminium compounds. Additionally oxidising agents, such as ozone or chlorine, are vital in the disinfection of water. This OpenLearn course focuses on the chemistry of the p-block elements in Groups 13 to 18 of the Periodic Table.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand that in drinking water anions have a beneficial range of concentration above which they may have an adverse effect on either human health or the environment. Toxic elements and compounds often block essential biological processes
  • explain how excess anions or cations in aqueous solution can be removed by ion-exchange chromatography or an ion-exchange membrane
  • explain how cations such as aluminium can be amphoteric, that is they can neutralise both acidic and alkaline solutions. Also recognise how this enables aluminium(III) ions to be used in water treatment.

First Published: 23/03/2015

Updated: 04/10/2019

Skip Rate and Review

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371