Biological Filtration: Future of Drinking Water Treatment


Water is essential for all human life on the planet, but the fresh water supply is limited and is susceptible to being contaminated by all manner of toxins like arsenic, calcium, and mercury. There are many techniques to remove contaminants, including popular methods that add chemicals to balance others out, but one that not many people understand is biological water system filtration. Biological filtration uses “good bacteria” to digest waste and balance water. The same principles are used in aquariums, septic tanks, and many other applications. Afterwards, the water is sent through several other systems to completely purify it and make it exceptionally safe for drinking. Here are the details about how these biological and other systems work together to create clean water.

Understanding Bacteria

There are many different types of bacteria. Some are antagonistic in a person’s system and result in colds or other kinds of illnesses. Other bacteria live symbiotically inside people their entire lives and provide them with good health and balanced body systems. Many individuals regularly consume yogurt, cheese, and fermented foods to promote intestinal flora.

Bacteria are also extremely important in the natural processes that create balanced aqueous environments. Along with fish, crustaceans, and millions of other types of organisms found in bodies of water, bacteria play an integral role in creating balanced ecological systems.

drinking water stock imageBiological Filtration in Nature

Biological filtration is a natural process that takes place in rivers, streams, and oceans. Bacteria eat certain compounds, like ammonia, which is broken down into byproducts that are not toxic. Because ammonia is toxic to fish in large quantities, but fish’s bodies and the natural decomposition of plant matter result in the chemical, fish rely on bacteria’s digestion of this and other compounds to live.

In septic systems and other filtration systems, biofilters or colonies of bacteria are used to make water clean. However, up until recently, people found the idea of a biofilter for drinking water a little strange. However, with advances in biofiltration and many positive examples of such systems working better than other filtration methods, the system is beginning to catch on and will only continue to grow in popularity.

Biofilters for Water Filtration

When it comes to biological filtration and drinking water, microbial colonies on a filter are the first level of fighters that remove organic matter. Plants are an example of organic matter. If, say, a decomposing leaf went through a water treatment system, the colony on the biofilter would quickly digest the leaf, leaving harmless byproducts like CO2, water, biomass, and simpler organic molecules. In many filters, another series of filters, including carbon-active or a sand layer, catch any remaining particles. Other biological filtration water treatment use membranes to polish water and remove other minerals.

Contemporary Biological Filtration Systems

Some places have such bad water, including indigenous lands in Canada, that biological filtration systems are the only ones that are capable of processing the minerals and chemicals. These systems have biological water treatment components integrated into a system with other filters and strict measures of temperature and pH to ensure that all contaminants are removed from water. Because these systems have been so effective, water treatment specialists anticipate they will be more popular and refined far into the future.


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