What is the best drinking water treatment technology available today? It depends upon what is needed to get the job done. There are many options for purification, from boiling your own water to using reverse osmosis. Some systems use bacteria to kill micro-organisms, others use chemicals. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the most popular systems use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in drinking water, but UV light is extremely inefficient. Ultraviolet radiation does not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, so it is not effective against airborne micro-organisms. Many of these minerals are contaminated or impaired by excess amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen, which are found in most rivers and ground water.
Groundwater diversions are used to reduce nutrient pollution, but they do not always reduce nutrient contamination to drinking safe levels. Sometimes, when a diversion is installed upstream of the source of the nutrient pollution, a nutrient bloom occurs. A dead zone in a river or a dead zone in the earth's aquifer can contain harmful algal blooms and other contaminants, causing pollution not only to aquatic ecosystems but to wildlife and humans as well.
Chemical agents like chlorine, bromine and chlorination are commonly used to kill micro-organisms in the water. But they are toxic chemicals, capable of causing immediate health hazards and of causing chronic and serious problems over extended periods of time. Chemical compounds in drinking water may cause gastrointestinal irritation, allergic reactions, headaches, asthma, cancer and digestive disorders. The cumulative effect of exposure to even small concentrations of many common chemical compounds over time can be very severe. Chlorination is one of the causes of chronic and trace toxic diseases in the world's population.
Disinfection through the use of strong disinfectants is necessary to protect public health and the environment from toxic chemicals. However, disinfection by means of hazardous drugs is banned in most countries and wastewater treatment technologies are inadequate to eliminate chemical risks from public and private sources. There is a huge need for a ban on the use of antibiotics in public and private resources, and it should be added that wastewater contains potentially fatal microscopic pathogens. Almost all the drugs that are currently being tested have some sort of adverse environmental effects. There is a great danger of introducing these hazardous drugs into our groundwater if we do not address the problem of chemical contamination in the wastewater.
Power plants also add to this problem by releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, depleting the freshwater supplies and polluting the soil in which plants grow. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than one billion people around the world suffer from water pollution diseases. In fact, there is an emerging global environmental crisis based on the amount of chemicals that are being dumped into the environment. Combating this problem could help prevent water pollution and its negative environmental effects.