Hygiene and Environmental Health Module: 14. Treatment of Drinking Water at Household and Community Level

Study Session 14  Treatment of Drinking Water at Household and Community Level

Introduction

Water has always played a prominent role in human civilisation. Water was, and continues to be, needed for drinking, preparing food, bathing, cleaning, irrigating crops and a variety of other tasks. Having ready access to water, therefore, has always been important. However, the water sources used for supplying water were not always clean. Treating drinking water to improve smell and taste and to remove disease-causing organisms has been necessary throughout human history.

Water must look and taste clean, i.e. have eye appeal and taste appeal, if we are going to want to drink it, and it must also be safe to drink. Water is the breeding ground for an unbelievably large variety of organisms that get into water through a variety of routes. Microbial contamination is the most common and widespread health risk associated with drinking water; therefore treatment of water to eliminate pathogenic microbes is of vital importance. In this study session, you will learn about the public health significance of water treatment, the characteristics of raw (untreated) water that determine the treatment methods, types of household/community–based water treatment and a selection of treatment processes.

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Learning Outcomes for Study Session 14